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Muslim Cham summon ancestors for Ramadan in central Vietnam
By Thanh Nien News -
Thousands of Cham Bani, or Muslim Cham people, in south central Vietnam visited family tombs in late June to purify their ancestors and themselves for the month of Ramuwan, their biggest traditional festival of the year.

Muslim Cham women in Ninh Thuan Province touch stones marking tombs to commemorate dead family members as they celebrate this year's Ramuwan between June 26 and 28. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre

Cham Bani in traditional costume gather at a communal ritual house, known as thang magik, to lay out offerings to the dead.agik

A Cham woman in Ninh Thuan Province carries boxes of offerings on her head past colorful balloons of a vendor to visit tombs during the Ramuwan festival in June 2014.

Cham Bani people in Ninh Thuan Province kneel and bow as priests lay out offerings at a cemetery during the Ramuwan festival in June 2014.

Old Cham women in Ninh Thuan Province arrange offerings for the dead in round bamboo boxes at a cemetery during the Ramuwan festival in June 2014.

Cham Bani priests in Ninh Thuan Province go through a cleansing ritual before holding religious ceremonies at a communal house during the Ramuwan festival in June 2014

A Cham family visits their family tombs during the Ramuwan festival in Ninh Thuan Province in June 2014

                             
Ramuwan, or Ramadan, is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which started June 26 this year.
People in the Cham Bani community in Van Lam Village in Ninh Thuan Province celebrated the festival for three days until June 28, but acar (priests) then stayed at a communal house for rituals and fasting in one month, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.
On the first day, people visited the cemetery to invite their ancestors and dead family members come back and join the celebration.
Priests led the visit in Arabic prayers and performed rituals like watering the tombs as a symbol of cleansing the dead and laying out offerings for them.
People prepared more offerings at home later.
The community of Cham people in Vietnam, who remain from the Kingdom of Champa (7th to 18th centuries), is comprised of Cham Bani and Cham Balamon who follow Hinduism. Most of them live in Ninh Thuan and the neighboring Binh Thuan Province.