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The ancestral invitation ritual plays the role of inviting the ancestors for a gathering with descendants on occasions such as ancestral anniversary, holidays, and festivals. The invitation must be complete and formal to show the respect of the descendants.

Ancestral offering ritual according to the standard

Do you know all the proper ancestral invitation rituals for each occasion? If you still have doubts, follow the article below from Sàn Gốm, where you will find the most complete and proper ancestral invitation rituals.

What are the types of ancestral invitation rituals?

Many people think that all ancestral invitation rituals are the same and can be used for all ancestral worship days, but that is not true. Each worship day has its own specific ancestral invitation ritual.

Worshiping ancestors is a long-standing tradition of the Vietnamese people

For example, on the ancestral anniversary, there are the first anniversary, annual anniversary, as well as the regular ancestral worship, clan worship, not to mention the invitation ritual on full moon day, the first day of the month, and so on. Each occasion requires a separate ancestral invitation ritual.

Ancestral worship expresses filial piety and the sincere condolences of the living to the deceased.

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Ancestral worship is a custom of the Vietnamese people

On the ancestral anniversary, wealthy families organize elaborate ancestral worship ceremonies and invite relatives and friends to attend, while poor families offer a bowl of rice, boiled eggs, a plate of salt, and a bowl of soup, along with three incense sticks and an oil lamp, to worship the deceased.

However, regardless of the circumstances, ancestral worship must come from the heart. As long as there is sincere respect, the ancestors will bear witness and acknowledge it.

In the ancestral worship tradition, the worship of deceased individuals such as grandparents, parents, fathers, mothers, spouses is the most important.

Ancestral invitation rituals in front of the grave

Ancestral invitation ritual in front of the grave

This is a ritual to inform the guardian deities of the ancestors’ homeland about the anniversary of the ancestors, asking them to open the realm and guide the relatives back to participate in the worship with their descendants. This ritual is usually performed in front of the grave of the deceased.


First anniversary ancestral invitation ritual

The first anniversary is the memorial anniversary that marks one year after the passing of parents. It is a time when people still deeply remember the deceased and use commemorative items during the worship.

This occasion is usually the most solemn and all descendants should make an effort to attend the worship and pay tribute to the deceased.

First anniversary ancestral invitation ritual

Annual ancestral invitation ritual

After the first anniversary, the annual ancestral worship ceremonies also require a proper ancestral invitation ritual. The ancestral altar must be complete and abundant to honor and show respect to the deceased.

Annual ancestral invitation ritual

Everyday ancestral invitation for family peace

Our ancestors always say, “Our ancestors protect us.” With the belief that the deceased will always watch over their descendants from another realm and bring luck and convenience to future generations.

Therefore, the ancestral invitation ritual for family peace is cherished by many people, so that whenever necessary, they can light incense and invite their ancestors.

Ancestral invitation ritual for family peace

How to conduct ancestral worship

Notes on how to recite ancestral invitation rituals
  • If the father has passed away, the invitation should be addressed as: Hiển khảo
  • If the mother has passed away, the invitation should be addressed as: Hiển tỷ
  • If the paternal grandfather has passed away, the invitation should be addressed as: Tổ khảo
  • If the paternal grandmother has passed away, the invitation should be addressed as: Tổ tỷ
  • If the maternal grandfather has passed away, the invitation should be addressed as: Tằng Tổ Khảo If the maternal grandmother has passed away, the invitation should be addressed as: Tằng Tổ Tỷ
  • If the brother or sister has passed away, the invitation should be addressed as: Thệ huynh, Thệ đệ If the brother or sister has passed away, the invitation should be addressed as: Thể tỵ, Thể muội
  • If the uncle or aunt has passed away, the invitation should be addressed as: Bá thúc Cô Di, Tỷ Muội
  • Or a general invitation would be: Cao Tằng Tổ Khảo, Cao Tằng Tổ Tỷ nội ngoại Gia Tiên.

Important things to note in ancestral worship

For the anniversary of the father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, husband, or wife (known as the important ancestral worship), the day before the anniversary should include worshiping the ancestral tablet. The day before the anniversary is also called the preliminary worship day.

Ancestral offering tray inviting the deceased to the worship

Worshiping the ancestral tablet is to notify the deceased about the upcoming worship day and to inform the deities and the Earth God residing in the ancestral grave that the spirit of the deceased is allowed to come and receive the worship. Worshiping the ancestral tablet includes worshiping at home and worshiping at the grave.

In the worshiping of the ancestral tablet, the Earth God must be worshiped first, followed by the ancestors. In addition to inviting the spirits of the ancestors to participate in the worship the next day, it is also necessary to invite the ancestral spirits of the family to attend. On the occasion of worshiping at the grave, the grave should be repaired.

In the proper ancestral worship, the invitation should be extended to the individual being honored on the day of their passing, followed by inviting the paternal and maternal ancestors from the highest generation down, and finally inviting the household deities to attend the worship.

Recommended offerings for ancestral worship

The choice of offerings depends on the conditions and preferences of each family. However, on occasions such as the first anniversary and annual ancestral worship, it is best to offer the items that the deceased person liked when they were alive.

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Offering gifts to ancestors with utmost care and sincere respect

In addition, there are other essential offerings such as:

  • Boiled chicken
  • Sticky rice with beans, red sticky rice
  • Fresh flowers, fruits
  • Betel leaves and areca nuts
  • Tea, water
  • White wine
  • Gold
  • Paper clothes or paper houses, etc.

With the ancestral invitation rituals and the guidelines for offering gifts shared by Sàn Gốm, you can now conduct the ancestral worship for each occasion. The most important thing is to be sincere, have harmonious family atmosphere, and happy descendants, so that the ancestral spirits will be pleased to attend.

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