Office workers are taking leave to prepare for the oncoming Vu Lan Festival which falls on August 21 this year, leaving a deserted office and a boss in a dilemma.
Votive offerings on sale for Vu Lan Festival
Tran Ngoc Chien, director of a company in Ba Dinh District, said his employees are taking turns to ask him for a day off. "I understand that women are busy on these days because my family is preparing for the festival too. However, the company is in a mess because too many people want to take leave."
Some departments are left short of personnel and have to seek help from other departments. Bosses have to do everything on those days.
Meanwhile, employees in other companies are creating a work shift schedule between themselves. Female workers of traditional families, especially those who are married to eldest sons, can choose the day they want to be off. They can buy offerings after working hours but they need to stay home to prepare for the celebration.
"Our boss must know what's going on when people are taking leaves in shifts but he probably won't say anything as long as work is not interrupted." Huyen Tran, worker of a company in Thanh Xuan District said.
A tray of offerings to wandering souls
The Vu Lan and the Amnesty of Unquiet Spirits are celebrated on the 15th night of the seventh lunar month, the month devoted to the spirits of the dead. The Vu Lan is more popular in the southern region and is traditionally considered an important event in praise of motherly love.
In several southern areas, a red flower will be worn on the chest of those who still have mothers, and white for those whose mothers have passed away.
However, in the northern region, the 15th night of the seventh lunar month is the day when wandering souls with no relatives in the human will ask for pardon and are offered a path to heaven. On this day, people will pay homage to their ancestors to express their filial piety and burn votive offerings to hungry, wandering souls.