The Colors of Cao Dai

Cao Dai Service

A colorful configuration during a Cao Dai service in southern Vietnam. (photo by Lara Dalinsky)

The Holy See Temple in Tây Ninh, Vietnam is the main center of the Caodaist church and is located about 60 miles outside of Ho Chi Minh City. The religion was established in the 1920’s as a spiritualist movement that embraced the fundamental doctrines of Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, Confucianism, and Islam. Visitors are welcome to visit the temple and observe the Cao Dai ceremonies that take place several times throughout the day. We admired one from the upper gallery of the temple where I was mesmerized by the interplay of pattern, color, and geometry formed by the clergymen and architecture. Our guide explained that worshipers wear simple white robes while the priests don colorful garb that reflect their spiritual allegiance: yellow symbolizes Buddhism and virtue, blue signifies Taoism and pacifism, and red represents Confucianism and authority.

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Lara Dalinsky
Lara Dalinsky

Lara was instilled with the travel bug at an early age and has visited over 25 countries. Her mother’s job as a flight attendant enabled a childhood of seeing the world. In addition to being the founding editor of En Route Traveler, Lara also works as the Art Director for the branding firm, Belmont Inc., in Alexandria, VA. In her spare time, she instructs high-energy Zumba dance classes, contributes as a Local Expert to AFAR, enjoys vegetarian cuisine, dabbles in photography and, of course, travels as much as possible.

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