Neither did I, until I started chatting with a sweet couple at a nail salon I visit with my girlfriends every other Friday.
The Trans kindly invited us to visit the Chua Bat Nha Temple on Ulambana — aka Parents’ Day, which is a daylong event honoring mothers and fathers.
So last Sunday, Hubs and I loaded up the kids and headed to Bauxite. (For those of you who aren’t in Arkansas, Bauxite is a wee town 30 minutes away from Little Rock.) Most of those who attend services at this temple are Vietnamese.
Upon arriving, we immediately bumped into the Trans, whose son took Tootie and the E-man on a tour of the grounds. Mr. Tran, along with many, many other people that afternoon, urged us to partake in the potluck.
Problem is, I’m a southern girl who believes that it’s rude to eat if you didn’t contribute to the dinner. So I reluctantly declined. And then I spent the remainder of the day fretting that I may have seemed rude by refusing!
We learned that the white flowers pinned to clothing signified that the wearers’ parents had died. Red represented parents still living. Pink and white flowers indicated that one parent was still living while the other had passed away.
Hubs and I observed some of the chanting and also visited with people as they came and and went. For celebrations such as this one, monks and worshipers come from all over in a show of support for the temples scattered across the U.S. We saw license plates from California, Texas and Louisiana, just to name a few.
My kids were enthralled by the statues and decor, to the point where I had to remind them not to touch about a thousand times. Tootie made a few sneaky attempts to snag some incense, but I managed to head her off each time.
During an afternoon lull, we hung out in the temple, where Tootie and the E-man shyly introduced themselves to the children playing there.
It was a fascinating afternoon, and I thank the Trans for giving us a chance to teach our children about other cultures and faiths.
Here are a few photos: