Remembrance, Commemoration, and Revolutionary Apparitions : Ritualizing Connections with the Past and the Future in Vietnam

Book chapter

Salemink, Oscar. (2022). Remembrance, Commemoration, and Revolutionary Apparitions : Ritualizing Connections with the Past and the Future in Vietnam. In In London, Jonathan (Ed.). Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Vietnam pp. 556 Routledge.
AuthorsSalemink, Oscar
EditorsLondon, Jonathan

This chapter takes as point of departure the ritualized commemoration practices on the island of Côn Đảo [Poulo Condore] which was a penitentiary site under the French and South-Vietnamese regimes, infamous for its “tiger cage” cells. The formal commemoration of revolutionary martyrs at the war cemeteries is juxtaposed with the ritualized worship of female martyr Võ Thị Sáu, who in 1952 was executed by the French before she could establish her own family and who resurfaces every night around midnight from her grave at the prison cemetery as a revolutionary apparition. Focusing on the distinctions and connections between commemoration, remembrance and forgetting, I discuss the phenomenon of war martyrs, sacrifice and commemoration in Vietnam before moving to the distinctions and connections between personal memories and official commemoration. After analyzing the meritorious and efficacious dead in the guise of ancestors, spirits, ghosts and gods, paying particular attention to the spirit of Hồ Chí Minh, I argue in the conclusion that ritualization of remembrance and commemoration in Vietnam integrates overlapping cosmological worlds and times.

KeywordsVietnam; Côn Đảo; Võ Thị Sáu; Hồ Chí Minh; ritual; commemoration; collective memory; Vietnam War
Page range556
Year01 Jan 2022
Book titleRoutledge Handbook of Contemporary Vietnam
Place of publicationUnited States
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Web address (URL)
Research or scholarlyResearch
Publisher's version
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Publication dates
Online29 Jul 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited07 May 2024
Additional information

© 2023 selection and editorial matter, Jonathan D. London; individual chapters, the contributors

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing
from the publishers.

Permalink -

Restricted files

Publisher's version

  • 4
    total views
  • 0
    total downloads
  • 4
    views this month
  • 0
    downloads this month
These values are for the period from 19th October 2020, when this repository was created.

Export as