1Ho Chi Minh City Open University 2Vietnam National University
The Ramayana is a very popular epic in Southeast Asia. It is the story of King Rama who must save his kidnapped wife, Sita. After Sita was abducted by the Demon King Ravana (Tosakanth) and taken to Lanka, Rama and his brother rescued her with the help of the monkey warriors, especially with the help of the Monkey King Hanuman. Along the way, the epic teaches Hindu life lessons. Today The Ramayana is told and retold through literature, theatre, orally, in movies, and is referenced in many other forms of popular culture. Nowadays, in Thailand, Ravana and Hanuman deconstruct the role of divine and become folk deities that also find their places in calendar art, advertising and stamps, etc. And in Vietnam, Ravana and Hanuman have become the two figures that can’t be absent from Southern Vietnam Khmer ceremonies. In this article, our aim is to show how Ravana and Hanuman became symbols of popular culture (case studies in Thailand and Vietnam). The data provided in this article is drawn from field surveys with reliable reference resources.