Thousands attend whale's funeral
Published 24/02/2010 | 05:14
Thousands of Vietnamese fishermen have given a royal send-off to a 15-ton dead whale, gathering at a southern Vietnamese village to pay homage to the creature they called "Your Excellency".
Nearly 10,000 people converged in Bac Lieu province to bid farewell to the 52-foot whale, said coast guard official Do Tien Ha.
They burned incense in his honour and are planning to build a temple at the site of his burial.
Whales are considered sacred among Vietnamese fishers. They are referred to by the title "ngai," the same honorific used for kings, emperors and other esteemed leaders.
"Whenever whales arrive, dead or alive, local fishermen believe they bring luck and safety," Mr Ha said by phone from Bac Lieu.
The dead whale was spotted 26 miles off the coast on Sunday. Several dozen fishermen on 10 boats spent a day hauling it ashore.