One of the best ways to make sure that your trip to Vietnam is an unforgettable one is to plan it around the time of the festivals celebrated in the country. Inspired by the Chinese Lunar calendar, most of the cultural events and festivals in Vietnam are celebrated during specific times of the year.
Festival in Vietnam is varied due to the 54 ethnics laying on all over the countries from the North to the South. These festivals will not only let you witness and absorb the culture of the country but also give you a soul-touching experience. So, the next time you visit Vietnam keep these festivals in mind to turn your holiday into extraordinary!
More or less, Vietnam festivals will affect your trip here in some ways. They could be an opportunity to see more, experience more of Vietnam's culture and emerge yourself into the festive atmosphere with the locals. At the same time, they could cause some traffic jams, rising hotel prices or overbooking of hotels.
So, what is the bottom line? Knowing more about Vietnam festivals will surely enriching your experience in Vietnam and avoiding the negative side that festivals and holidays bring.
Festival in Vietnam is a cultural event organized with community spirit, an unique cultural character of the farmers, fishmans. Each cultural event compose 2 sections:
- “Ceremony: the acts and gestures to express the divine human, the dreams of people performing to the Serenity in expecting a good health, a prosperous life, a luckyness & happiness for all member in the family.
- “Society” is the unique characteristics about the culture, religion, the arts community and the demand of people in the daily life.
Imbued with tradition and rituals, festivals provide an authentic way to see the “real” Vietnam. The calendar is peppered with events, but here are 10 of the best.
Let’s start at the top. Tet (New Year) is the largest, most celebrated festival in Vietnam; think Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year all rolled into one and you’re getting close. Like many of Vietnam’s festivals, during Tet, bustling big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are less crowded as many people travel back to their hometowns to celebrate with family.It is an occasion when everyone sends each other best wishes for a new year, stops thinking about unhappy things and says good things about each other.
Tet festival in Vietnam - Source: Google.com
On the 23rd day of the twelfth month according to the lunar calendar, there is a rite to see Tao Quan (Kitchen God) off. The rite to say goodbye to the old year is held on the 30th or 29th day (if that month has only 29 days) of the twelfth month by lunar calendar. The rite to welcome the New Year is held at midnight that day. The rite to see off ancestral souls to return to the other world is often held on the 3rd day of the first month by lunar calendar when the Tet holidays finish and everybody goes back to work.
During the day it’s common to see gentle rituals such as the handing out of flowers and lighting candles at the temple. But in the evening celebrations become livelier with fireworks, colourful performances and lots of street food stalls.
If you plan to travel during Tet Holidays in Vietnam, make sure you plan out ahead in details where you will go and what you will need. During this Vietnam holiday, all administrations, many shops and stores are closed in the first three days. So if you need any supplies for your travel in the country, make sure to get it beforehand.
The Tet Festival takes place on the first day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar.
- 2. Tết Trung Thu (Mid-Autumn Festival)
This Vietnam event takes place around mid-August between the fourteenth and fifteenth day of Lunar Calendar. The Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam was originally conceived as an opportunity for parents to spend time with their children following the harvest season. As a celebration of children, the streets are normally filled with kids singing and taking part in lantern parades.
The Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam - Source: Google.com
The Mid-Autumn Festival is a favorite with children, as the occasion calls for more toys, candies, fruit, and entertainment than any other time of the year. Mid-Autumn parties serve cakes including the banh deo and banh nuong, which are shaped like fish and the moon.
This festival does not affect travelers plan or tours. On the other hand, it add more color to traveler’s experience of beautiful Vietnam, especially in Hoi An. Hoi An is considered to be the best place to mark the Mid-Autumn Festival, where tourists can see colorful paper lanterns lining Thu Bon Riverside. A lot of street performances, lantern processions and art exhibitions will take place during Mid-Autumn Festival.
The Mid-Autumn Festival takes place on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar.
During Tet Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival, Vietnamese people often give some small gifts to express their love and kindness to others. It becomes to a culture in Vietnam, to find out Gift-giving custom in Vietnam, visit here: The beauty of gift giving customs in Vietnam
- 3. Hung King Temple Festival
This festival celebrates the legendary birth of Vietnam’s first kings: the Hung Vuong. Details of their origin remain sketchy, but the story has become rather embellished over the years. Born from the union of a mountain princess and a sea dragon, the Hung Vuong came from a hundred sons hatched from a hundred eggs laid by said princess. Half the sons went back to the sea with their father, while the rest stayed behind with their mother and learned to rule.
This Vietnam festival is held in thousands of Hung King temple all across the country but the major ceremony is held at Hung Temple, Phong Chau district, Phu Tho province. There are two main parts of the event which are the ceremony and the festival. On the eve of the event, one hundred lanterns are launched into the sky. Travelers can witness many interesting cultural activities during the festival like xoan classical song performances and ca tru classical operas, etc.
Hung Kings' Temple Festival in Vietnam
Hung Temple Festival not only attracts visitors from all over the country because of its special traditional cultural activities, but it is also a sacred trip back in time to the origins of the Vietnamese nation. People usually show their love and pride of their homeland and ancestral land. This religious belief deeply imbedded in the minds of every Vietnamese citizen, regardless of where they originate.
Since this is also a holiday, many people have this day off so travelers should have their services booked in advance.
This festival is held annually from 8th to 11th day of the third Lunar month.
Reunification Day is a national public holiday of Vietnam, which is celebrated widely in the whole country.
As in any country, Liberation Day is an important historical, political or cultural event and it is the same for Vietnam. This is the Vietnam holiday to celebrate the liberation of Southern Vietnam from American troops as well as when the North and the South of Vietnam reunited under one government.
On this day, Vietnamese locals and families often travel to take advantage of the double-day off with Labor Day on May 1st. Different each year, the major cities of Vietnam will have special events to celebrate this day and service the community (Da Nang’s display of fireworks of international teams, Sapa’s Ethnic group performance and exhibition, Hue City’s film screening and hot air balloon, Ha Noi’s parade and street decoration…).
Vietnam celebrates the Reunification Day - Source: Google.com
Many travel destinations and sightseeing will be crowded with domestic tourists. Hotels and restaurants are often overbooked on this day. It is not recommended for foreign tourists to travel in Vietnam during these day. However, if you do want to rejoice with the local as well as people watching, make sure you talk to your local tour operator to make bookings ahead of time.
The holiday takes place on April 30th annually.
The same with Reunification Day, Independence Day is a national public holiday of Vietnam, which is celebrated widely in the whole country.
In history, this is the day that president Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence of Vietnam. Nowadays, this is not only the day to remember the proud moment of the nation, it is also a Vietnam national holiday where workers get a day break from work to rest and spend time with their families.
This festival in Vietnam is the time not recommended for foreign travelers to travel to or travel around in Vietnam unless you already have reservations and bookings. The locals take this day to travel resulting to crowded travel destinations and overbooked hotels and restaurants.
The holiday takes place on September 2nd annually.
- 6. Hoi An Lantern Festival
If you want to witness a spectacular display, you should not miss the Hoi An Lantern Festival. It is a lantern festival in Vietnam 2019 that takes place every month, transforming the quaint UNESCO World Heritage Site into an awe-inspiring display of paper lanterns of all shapes, sizes, and colors.
The Hoi An Lantern Festival in Vietnam - Source: Google.com
Every 14th day of the lunar month, Hoi An’s old town bans all motorized traffic and transforms itself into a massive performance venue for Vietnamese arts contemporary to the old trading town’s heyday in the 18th to 19th century—Chinese opera, Chinese chess, and of course, the region’s famous food.
This charming town is a firm favourite amongst visitors anyway, but when the lights go out, and those twinkly lanterns are sent down the river it’s particularly special. Shops put up brightly-colored lanterns, turning the narrow old streets (even the old Japanese bridge) into a radiant, festively illuminated light spectacle, augmented by the haunting strains of traditional music audible from just about everywhere in the old town.
Just for the night, you won’t be required to buy or show a ticket to enter Hoi An’s old attractions. The temples are at their busiest during the Full Moon Festival, as the locals honor their ancestors during this auspicious time of the month.
This day will not affect transport or hotel in Hoi An. It is really a night to enjoy the charming old town and a piece of Vietnamese culture. If you want to worship in any temple on this day, there will be no charge for entrance fees. The best place to attend the festival is within Ancient Town area where tourists can enjoy traditional music, play Chinese chess, read poetry or learn how to make lanterns.
As a country with a developed Buddhism, this Buddhist celebration is built on the belief that a person’s soul is sent to heaven or hell when they die. On Wandering Souls Day, those sinful souls who find themselves in the latter may return to their mortal homes for absolution.
According to local myth, on this day, the gate of hell will be opened so that souls will be free to wander on the land. On the evening of this day, each household prepares a big feast including flowers, sticky rice cakes, fruits, fake money and paper clothes to offer to the spirits. The locals avoid many activities on this day or month such as wedding, begin of construction, shopping, traveling, etc.
The day before the celebration, families travel to the temples to make offerings of flowers and food for those souls without relatives, and alters are set up in each home with food offerings to guide ancestral spirits home.
This festival in Vietnam has no negative effect on travelers. It can be enjoyed at most in Hue city where locals and monks perform ceremonies and prayers at numerous Buddhist shrines and pagodas.
Wandering Soul Day occurs on 15th day of 7th lunar month. This day often fall into August or September of Gregorian calendar.
“Quan Họ” is a special folk song of Kinh Bac Province, now called Bac Ninh Province. The festival takes place on Lim Hill where the Lim Pagoda is located. This pagoda is where Mr. Hieu Trung Hau, the man who invented Quan Ho, is worshipped.
Lim Festival in Vietnam - Source: Google.com
Lim Festival was widely recognized and accepted as a traditional Vietnam festival among Northern Provinces of Vietnam in 18th century. It’s the festival of Quan Ho singing, which has become one of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2009.
On the 13th day of the first lunar month, visitors come to Lim Hill in Bac Ninh province to watch performances of Quan Ho, which are traditional songs performed by both men and women from boats and from the Lim Pagoda. The songs cover numerous topics, such as greetings, exchanging love sentiments, and even trivial objects including village gates.
This Vietnam festival, even though is well-known across the country, is celebrated in Tien Du, Bac Ninh only. Bac Ninh is only 20 minutes' drive from Hanoi and worth a side trip after exploring the capital's must-see sights.
The Lim Festival in Vietnam takes place on the 13th day of the first lunar month of the Chinese lunar calendar.
This Vietnam festival is viewed as a journey to the Buddhist land. According to the myth, this pagoda is the place where one of the Buddhas spent time and was enlightened. The Perfume Pagoda Festival is Vietnam's most famous Buddhist pilgrimage site, welcoming hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who arrive at the sacred cave to pray for a happy and prosperous year ahead.
When it comes to festival in Vietnam 2019, the Hương Pagoda Festival is another extremely important one. The Perfume Pagoda is the most famous pilgrimage site in the country that welcomes thousands of pilgrims who make their way to the sacred caves to pray for a happy, and a prosperous year ahead.
Every year, thousands of Buddhist pilgrims travel by boat across the Yen Vi River to the caves of the Huong Tich Mountain. Take on the hundreds of stone steps to the top to see colourful parades, traditional performances, long-practiced rituals and to try local food – fortunately there are plenty of shrines to rest your feet at on the way up.
This event will take place at Perfume Pagoda located in Huong Son Commune, My Duc district, Hanoi on the 15th day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar.
- 10. Dalat Flower Festival
Being considered as The Little Paris of Vietnam, Dalat is by far one of the most attractive city listed in every tours visiting Vietnam. People choose Dalat their stopping destination mainly to relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere together with some romantic and charming places.
Dalat Flower Festival in Vietnam - Source: Google.com
What’s more, Dalat is home to thousands of species of flowers. That’s why it is quite obvious to notice that Dalat Flower Festival is one of the traditional events having branded for the homeland of many hidden charms.
There’s no limit if the Dalat Flower Festival is anything to go by. In previous years, highlights have included a horse and cart, Egyptian sphinx, a giant peacock, and even a temple! Don’t miss the opening ceremony; an array of colorful costumes, fireworks, and spectacular performances.
Dating back to the first held Dalat Flower Festival on 10 – 18 December 2005, it was such an impressively successful event ever with lots of performances of more than 160 kinds of dazzling flower floats, lavish performing art programs and splendid fireworks display.
Generally held in December and lasted for 5 days, the festival will present different themes each year. The festival not only attracts numerous tourists but it is also a meaningful activity honoring values of flowers and flower industry to promote and attract investment.
Top 10 Biggest Festival In Vietnam You Must Know