Vietnam is a leading destination for festival lovers! We take a peek at a few of the country’s main ones, in addition to some small-scale – but not any less important – village parties.
On the Lookout for the best festivals in Vietnam? This nation is really a must-visit for festival fans! Colourful festivities, most with a strong Chinese cultural influence, occur during the year; although the most interesting ones occur in autumn and spring. Nearly all match with the lunar calendar from Insightguides.
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The first seven days of the Lunar New Year mark the most important holiday in Vietnam (Tet Nguyen Dan), but just the first four days would be a national holiday.
Mar/Apr, Thanh Minh
This is a time when folks see the graves of their ancestors to produce special offerings.
May/June, Buddha’s Birthday
Much better known as Vesak, this can be a significant day in temples complete with religious processions and ceremonies.
May/June, Tiet Doan Ngo
Summer Solstice Day is observed by making offerings to spirits to ward off summer epidemics. It is frequently celebrated with dragon-boat races.
Aug, Trang Nguyen
Wandering Souls Day is the second-largest celebration after Tet.
Sept/Oct, Trung Thu
The Mid-Autumn Festival is a time for ingestion”moon cakes” full of nuts, seeds and egg yolk. Kids are awarded lanterns in the shape of dragons, carps and stars to play with.
The very best time to see village festivals is just after Tet, a word which itself signifies”festival” Throughout the initial two lunar months (February and March), many cities organise a fête of some type. Families will visit the village pagoda and light incense to local deities along with their ancestors. Youngsters play games, swinging on giant bamboo swings or playing “human chess” with individuals or metre-high variations moving involving squares marked onto a courtyard.
Villages near the Red River (Song Hong) in northern Vietnam send boats to collect ceremonial water to offer to the water god, Ha Ba. The most striking of these customs is when young men put on the fancy costumes of the dance lion and dance energetically one of the revellers into the sound of beating drums. One of the most popular of those events is the quan ho festival at Lim village, near Hanoi. Here, young couples sing love songs to each other at a fertility rite to welcome the spring, a time-honoured heritage that goes back to early times.