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.
1. Lunar New Year
When it takes place: January 1 in Lunar calendar
According to the Vietnamese calendar, 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
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 Hanoi Opera House hosts lavish parties and spectacular fireworks displays.
2. Lim Festival
When it takes place: Mid-February
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. Danh du (bamboo swing), tug of war, wrestling, cockfighting, chess and blindfolded goat hunting are some of the games played during this time and are a fun way to interact with the locals.
Best place to experience Lim Festival
The Lim Festival 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.
3. Perfume Festival
When it takes place: January 6 in Lunar calendar
The Vietnamese Perfume Festival, which takes place from the sixth day of the first lunar month through the end of the third lunar month, is centered on the Perfume Pagoda in Hanoi. This temple is visited by pilgrims from all around the nation, and the pilgrimage starts with a dragon dance at Den Trinh Pagoda. The pilgrims then proceed on a boat up to the foot of the 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.
Visitors ascend the mountain after arriving, along a trail adorned with vivid prayer flags and aromatic incense. The trip to the Perfume Pagoda is considered a spiritual pilgrimage, and many visitors choose to climb, while others take a cable car for a more comfortable ascent.
4. Phu Giay Festival
When it takes place: from 3rd to 8th March in Lunar calendar
Dedicated to the goddess Lieu Hanh of the Phu Giay Pagoda, the festival is a lively celebration that is said to bring good luck to the people. Pilgrims dressed in traditional Vietnamese costumes carry beautifully decorated bamboo artifacts to the temple of the goddess. As part of the ceremony, various games such as catching the flag, chess, lion dance and wrestling are held to celebrate the day. 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
Villages in the Kim Thai commune organize this festival and the best place to organize it is at Phu Giay temple.
5. Hung King Temple Festival
When it takes place: March 10 in Lunar calendar
The Hung Temple Festival is held in honor of Kinh Duong Vuong, the first king of Vietnam in 2879 BC. Hundreds of lanterns illuminate the night sky to commemorate the mighty king’s exploits, while an elaborate sacrificial ceremony is held at the Hong Temple. The next morning, the lantern ceremony is held at Thuong Temple or 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 Temple Festival is held at Hung Temple in Nghe Linh Mountain, Phong Chau District, Phu Tho Province.
6. Hue Festival
When it takes place: April/May/June, Biennale
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, art exhibitions, let you enjoy the road city.
Best place to experience Hue Festival
The Hue Festival is only held in Hue City, the capital of Thua Thien Hue Province in central Vietnam.
7. Buddha’s Birthday
When it takes place: April 15 in Lunar calendar
Buddhism is one of the most widely practiced religions in Vietnam, and of course, the deity’s birthday is a day of celebration. This auspicious day falls on the eighth day of the fourth lunar month, and temples are beautifully decorated to mark the celebration. Believers offer flowers, fruits and traditional Vietnamese dishes to God and ask for his blessing. Massive street processions and vigils, entire communities pay homage to Almighty God.
Best place to celebrate Buddha’s birthday
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. It was followed by throngs of locals queuing up to visit temples where they held religious ceremonies and listened to Buddhist scriptures. In the evening, a lively parade takes place in the main streets of the Old Town. Animals are released, wreaths are hung around their necks, and lanterns hang from the quaint waterfront.
8. Day of the Wandering Soul
When it takes place: August 30
This is an important date in the Vietnamese calendar as it is dedicated to the souls of the dead. Also known as Trung Nguyen Tet, this is how Vietnam celebrates Hungry Ghost Festival. This day falls on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month, and it is believed that on this day, the spirits of ancestors will visit their children and grandchildren to bless their lives. 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. Flowers, glutinous rice cakes, sugar cane and fruit are offered to them, and items such as banknotes and clothes are burned as part of the ceremony.
Best Places to Celebrate Wandering Souls Day
Hue is one of the best destinations to experience the sombre sophistication of 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).
9. Mid-Autumn Festival
When it takes place: August 15 in Lunar calendar
A spirit of happiness and prosperity pervades the atmosphere on September 29 , the Mid-Autumn Festival, which celebrates a year’s bountiful harvest. This day is celebrated on the fourteenth and fifteenth day of the lunar calendar, and each era has unique celebrations. 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 day.
The Best Places to Celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival
Hoi An hosts a beautiful celebratory parade at the festival site that is not to be missed. 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.
10. Hoi An Lantern Festival
When it takes place: February 5, 2023
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, houses, and commercial establishments in the old town turn off their lights and light a dimly lit candle, just right for decorative public lanterns. phu. The whole city is illuminated by thousands of paper lanterns and mine! It was an otherworldly sight. The soft amber color of the inner fire against the backdrop of the evening kohl transforms the town into a magical place. Admission to all temples is free during this time, and you can watch monks and locals perform candlelight ceremonies.
Best place to celebrate Hoi An Lantern Festival
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 fully experience the nation’s rich cultural history. Each festival offers a distinctive window into Vietnamese customs, from the grandeur of Tet Nguyen Dan to the creative display of the Hue Festival, from the joyful celebrations of the Mid-Autumn Festival to the spiritual journey of the Perfume Pagoda Festival. Plan your trip to coincide with one of these festivals to fully experience the exuberant hues, mesmerizing performances, and welcoming people that make these celebrations so memorable.