Top 10 Traditional Festivals In Vietnam: Time-Honored Spectacles

Top 10 Traditional Festivals In Vietnam - Student Exchange

Vietnam is a nation rich in history and legacy, and one of the finest ways to experience its lively traditions is through its annual festivals. The vibrant and exuberant festivities highlight the deeply ingrained traditions and values of the Vietnamese people. In this article, we’ll take you on a tour of some of the most alluring traditional festivals in Vietnam so you can fully appreciate the diversity of the nation’s culture.

Lunar New Year 

When it takes place: January 1 in Lunar Calendar

Lunar New Year - Top 10 Traditional Festivals In Vietnam - Student Exchange

According to the Vietnamese calendar, the Lunar New Year marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year and is undoubtedly one of the most revered holidays in the country. Rooted in traditional values of family bonding and worshiping the gods, the holiday is an opportunity for the whole family to come together and enjoy rituals such as setting off firecrackers, visiting temples, and laying flowers. This is a great time to visit Vietnam, as you can feel the spirit of the day echoing through the atmosphere.

Best Places To Experience Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year - Student Exchange

While it’s a nationally celebrated holiday, smaller cities tend to be closed during this time. Perhaps the capital, Hanoi, is the best place to celebrate this festival with the locals. Quan Su Pagoda, or Ngoc Son Temple, is the centerpiece of solemn prayer ceremonies, while the Hanoi Opera House hosts lavish parties and spectacular fireworks displays.

Traditional Lim Festival In Vietnam

When it takes place: Mid-February

Lim Festival - Student Exchange

Immerse yourself in Vietnamese folklore during Lam Festival, another important festival celebrated early this year. The Quan ho, a UNESCO-recognized tribe, perform their delicate dances and some games during this festival. Traditional costumes and dragon boats are a popular image. Some exciting games during this holiday will be Danh du (bamboo swing), tug of war, wrestling, cockfighting, chess, and blindfolded goat hunting.

Best Place To Experience Lim Festival In Vietnam

Lim Festival - Student Exchange

The Lim Festival is one of the traditional festivals in Vietnam. It is widely held in Lim Village, Tien Du District, Bac Ninh Province. This event, which is only 18 kilometers from Hanoi, is readily accessible by bus or car rental, making it a handy location for both locals and tourists.

Perfume Festival In Vietnam

When it takes place: January 6 in Lunar Calendar

Perfume Festival - Student Exchange

One of the most famous traditional festivals in Vietnam is the Perfume Festival. Every year, this festival usually takes place from the 6th day of the first lunar month to the end of the third lunar month at Huong Pagoda. Many tourists come here to visit and the pilgrimage begins with a dragon dance performance at Den Trinh pagoda.

Then, the pilgrims proceed on a boat up to the foot of Huong Mountain along the Yen River. From there, stone stairs take you to the Huong Tich Cave, where food offerings, god sculptures, and burning incense create the ideal atmosphere for quiet reflection.

The Best Places To Experience The Perfume Festival

Visitors must travel down the Yen River to reach the Perfume Pagoda. Boats float softly across the calm waters, surrounded by rich flora and high limestone cliffs, creating a peaceful and mystical ambiance.

Perfume Festival - Top 10 Traditional Festivals In Vietnam - Student Exchange

In addition, visitors ascend the mountain after arriving, along a trail adorned with vivid prayer flags and aromatic incense. Many tourists choose to travel by climbing mountains or taking the cable car when coming to pilgrimage at Perfume Pagoda.

Phu Giay Festival

When it takes place: From 3rd to 8th March in Lunar Calendar

Phu Giay Festival - Student Exchange

This festival is dedicated to the goddess Lieu Hanh of Phu Giay Pagoda who is said to bring luck to people. Pilgrims dressed in traditional Vietnamese costumes carry beautifully decorated bamboo artifacts to the temple of the goddess. In addition, as part of the ceremony, we can watch some interesting folk games during this holiday such as flag catching, lion dancing, and wrestling. Colorful folk dances, classical songs, satirical musicals, and chamber music performances are also part of the festival.

The Best Place To Host The Phu Giay Festival

Phu Giay Festival - Student Exchange

Villages in the Kim Thai commune organize this festival and the best place to organize it is at Phu Giay temple.

Hung King Temple Traditional Festival

When it takes place: March 10 in Lunar Calendar

Hung King Temple Festival - Top 10 Traditional Festivals In Vietnam - Student Exchange

The Hung Temple Festival was held in honor of Kinh Duong Vuong, the first king of Vietnam, in 2879 BC. In particular, the sacrificial ceremony will be held at Hong Pagoda with hundreds of lanterns to commemorate the mighty king’s victory.

The next morning, the lantern-releasing ceremony will take place at Thuong Temple. This is the place where the ancient royal family worshiped the gods. The ceremony concluded with a procession starting at the foot of Mount Ee Ling, accompanied by a captivating performance of Xoan classical songs and Ca Tru classical tuong.

The Best Places To Experience Hung King Festival

Hung King Temple Festival - Student Exchange

Hung Temple Festival is also one of the most famous traditional festivals in Vietnam and is held at Hung Temple in Nghe Linh Mountain, Phong Chau District, Phu Tho Province.

Hue Traditional Festivals In Vietnam

When it takes place: April/May/June, Biennale

Hue Festivals - Top 10 Traditional Festivals In Vietnam - Student Exchange

As a tribute to the rich and colorful heritage of the Nguyen Dynasty, the Hue Festival, held in the city of Hue, has been recognized by UNESCO. With games, performances, and theatrical performances, this celebration is a wonderful event.

The official celebration of the festival began in 2000 as part of an effort to preserve indigenous Vietnamese traditions and customs. Drum dialogue, Hue Poetry Festival, Ao Dai fashion show, kite flying, flag race, as well as street performances, film screenings, and art exhibitions, let you enjoy the road city.

Best Place To Experience Hue Festivals In Vietnam

Hue Festivals - Student Exchange

Hue is one of the hosts that organizes traditional festivals in Vietnam. In particular, the Hue Festival is only held in Hue City, the capital of Thua Thien Hue Province in central Vietnam.

Buddha’s Birthday In Vietnam

When it takes place: April 15 in Lunar Calendar

Buddha’s Birthday - Top 10 Traditional Festivals In Vietnam - Student Exchange

Buddha’s Birthday is one of the traditional festivals in Vietnam that many people attend. Since ancient times, Vietnamese people have always appreciated Buddhism and often held festivals on the birthday of this god. Monks and Buddhists will decorate the temple solemnly and splendidly to celebrate the anniversary on the 8th day of the 4th lunar month. Believers offer flowers, fruits, and traditional Vietnamese dishes to God and ask for his blessing. With massive street processions and vigils, entire communities pay homage to Almighty God.

Best Place To Celebrate Buddha’s Birthday

Buddha’s Birthday - Student Exchange

Pap Bhao in Hoi An celebrates the day with great enthusiasm and fun. In the early morning, monks procession along the streets of the old town. Next, a large number of people lined up to visit the temple. Here, they will listen to Buddhist scriptures and admire special Buddhist rituals.

In the evening, a lively parade takes place in the main streets of the Old Town. The monks will perform some interesting activities such as releasing animals and releasing lanterns on the river.

Day Of The Wandering Soul

When it takes place: August 30

Wandering Soul -Top 10 Traditional Festivals In Vietnam - Student Exchange

This is an important day in the Vietnamese calendar to commemorate the souls of the dead. Also known as Trung Nguyen Tet, this is how Vietnam celebrates the Hungry Ghost Festival. Every year, on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month, Vietnamese people, especially Hue people, often burn incense to worship their ancestors in the hope that they will bless them.

Besides, on the eve of leaving the temple, people pay homage to their loved ones who have bid farewell to heaven and hold a blessing ceremony in the temple. In addition, people will prepare flowers, sticky rice cakes, sugarcane, and fruits to prepare for the offering table along with votive offerings.

Best Places To Celebrate Wandering Souls Day

Wandering Soul - Student Exchange

Hue is one of the best destinations to experience the somber sophistication of the Day of the Wandering Soul. Many temples and shrines here hold solemn prayers to honor the dead. This day is also known as Han Thuc New Year (Han Thuc New Year) because people eat cold dishes such as banh drift (rice cake) and vegetarian cake (glutinous rice with mung bean paste).

Traditional Festivals In Vietnam: Mid-Autumn

When it takes place: August 15 in Lunar Calendar

Mid-Autumn Festival - Top 10 Traditional Festivals In Vietnam - Student Exchange

A spirit of happiness and prosperity pervades the atmosphere on September 29, the Mid-Autumn Festival, which celebrates a year’s bountiful harvest. This festival is usually held on the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the lunar calendar, each era has its own celebrations.

Also, children carry paper lanterns around the city; colorful lion dances adorn the streets, and stalls selling glutinous rice, moon cakes, fruits, and various sweets line the roadsides. At night, each family sets up altars and offers various offerings for the full moon.

The Best Places To Celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival - Student Exchange

Hoi An will host a beautiful celebratory parade at the festival site that you cannot miss. Children have dance time on this day and can participate in activities such as writing, drawing, and coloring competitions. Mesmerizing sights of floating paper lanterns along the Thu Bon River and Japanese-covered bridges dot the town.

Hoi An Lantern Traditional Festivals In Vietnam

When it takes place: February 5, 2023

Hoi An Lantern Festival Top 10 Traditional Festivals In Vietnam - Student Exchange

This festival is a perfect combination of tradition and creativity, showcasing the myriad colors of Vietnam’s light and life. Every month on the 14th day of the lunar calendar, all shops, and houses in the old town have decorative lanterns.

Best Place To Celebrate Hoi An Lantern Festivals Vietnam

Hoi An Lantern Festival - Student Exchange

Hoi An Ancient Town is the best place to experience the true spirit of this festival. Traditional instrument playing, chess, poetry readings, and lantern-making lessons dominate the day and these are certainly some very cool things to learn.

Traditional festivals in Vietnam provide a wonderful opportunity to experience the nation’s rich cultural history fully. Each festival offers a distinctive window into Vietnamese customs, from the grandeur of Tet Nguyen Dan to the creative display of the Hue Festival.

Please plan your trip to coincide with one of these festivals to fully experience the exuberant hues and mesmerizing performances.