Religion in Vietnam has historically been largely defined by the East Asian mix of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. They are the so-called Tam Giáo, or "triple religion." Beyond Tam Giáo, Catholicism is also practiced in modern Vietnam. Vietnamese Buddhism has typically been the most popular. This fits perfectly with the "triple religion" concept, making it difficult for many Vietnamese to identify exactly which religion they practice.
Besides the "triple religion", Vietnamese life was also profoundly influenced by the practice of ancestor worship, as well as native animism. Most Vietnamese, regardless of religious denomination, practice ancestor worship and have an ancestor altar at their home or business, a testament to the emphasis Vietnamese culture places on filial duty.
Along with obligations to clan and family, education has always played a vital role in Vietnamese culture. In the old days, scholars were placed at the top of society. Men not born of noble blood could only elevate their status by studying for the rigorous Imperial examination. Similar to Mandarin officials, passing the examination could potentially open doors to a government position, granting them power and prestige.
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