The Best Festivals in Vietnam

Polina
Polina
Updated: 29 August 2020
Time to read: 16 minutes
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Vietnam is an exotic country with Asian flair and hospitality. It is located on the coast of the South China Sea. Here, tourists will find beautiful beaches in secluded bays, learn about original traditions and taste delicious national cuisine. Vietnamese people like to have fun and enjoy celebrating various holidays. We will talk about the most famous festivals in Vietnam, which are popular with both: tourists and the local population.

Festivals

Winter Holiday in Vietnam

Among tourists, national holidays and festivals associated with national traditions are popular. Although such holidays are not official, they do not become less colorful and vibrant. Vietnamese like to celebrate them at any time of the year.

Winter holidays

Christmas

The tradition of celebrating Christmas appeared in the country due to the French colonists. Although Catholic Christmas is not an official holiday, it is celebrated in all regions of the country. On this day, all streets, cafes, restaurants, and shops are decorated with luxurious illuminations, Santa Claus figurines, and decorated Christmas trees. Near the churches, people place installations that depict scenes from the Bible.

During the holiday, the Vietnamese, adherents of the Catholic faith, attend the solemn service in the church. The hotels prepare gala dinners and entertainment programs for tourists.

International New Year

The Vietnamese celebrate New Year twice: together with the whole world on January 1 and their national New Year, which we will discuss later.

The international New Year is celebrated, as in other countries, with fireworks, holiday shows, evening and night walk on the streets. In big cities, it is customary to celebrate the New Year, gathering in the central squares. In Hanoi, this is in front of the Opera House and Tong Nat Park, and in Ho Chi Minh City – the Backpacker district, where the fun continues at numerous nightclubs and bars.

Tet Holiday

Vietnamese Lady in Winter Holiday

Lunar New Year is one of the most popular holidays in Vietnam. It is celebrated on the day of the first month of the lunar calendar, from late January to early February. There is a tradition in the country to celebrate this holiday at home, together with relatives, so all the Vietnamese are in a hurry to come to their hometown.

During the festival, it is customary to decorate houses and streets, arrange fireworks and festivities on the illuminated streets.

Perfume Pagoda Festival

This is the name of another holiday, which is celebrated in January or February. It is dedicated to the worship of the place of pilgrimage – The Perfume Pagoda. This is a complex of Buddhist temples located among the mountains on the banks of the river, near the city of Hanoi.

The holiday begins after the New Year. Visitors believe you can achieve prosperity and longevity having arrived and prayed at the Buddhist shrines.

Lim Festival

The festival falls on the 12-13th day of the first lunar month, its date changes every year. The celebration takes place in Tien Du, Bac Ninh province, near Hanoi. Among the celebrations – the festival of folk songs, cockfights, masquerade shows in national costumes. Participation in the “Quan Ho” festival is a great way to learn about Vietnamese culture and customs.

Spring holidays

Tet Nguyen Tieu

People Prepearing for Tet Festival

The holiday falls on the first night of the full moon, in February or March. It is widely celebrated in households, temples, and monasteries. The tradition of celebrating the first lunar day came from China but quickly gained popularity among the local population.

This day is considered a symbol of the victory of good over evil. During the holiday, it is customary to spend time in prayers for the health and wellbeing of your loved ones.

Phu Giay Festival

The festival is celebrated on the 30th day of the second lunar month. The festival takes place in Phu Giay Temple in Nam Dinh province, 55 miles from Hanoi. A large number of pilgrims come to the temple in order to honor the Mother Saint Lieu Hanh and pray for health and prosperity.

The festival lasts for six days. All this time, you can see processions in national costumes, holding various religious rituals, and folk games.

Temple Hung King Festival

The festival is held from the 8th to 11th days of the lunar month and belongs to the most popular official holidays in Vietnam. On this day, the thousands of churches in the country honor the memory of the kings of the Hung dynasty. According to legend, they belonged to the first Vietnamese rulers.

The main celebrations take place in the Hung Temple in the Phong Chau District, Phu Tho province. The official ceremony is accompanied by festivities, the launch of lanterns, and costume performances.

Hue Festival

The tradition to hold this festival appeared relatively recently, in 1992. In 2000, the holiday received its official name and is held on even years in April or May in the city of Hue.

During the week, exciting events await festival guests: concerts, fashion shows, art performances, a poetry festival, and many others. Celebrations are held only in the city of Hue.

Reunion Day

Vietnam’s national public holiday is held annually on April 30th. On this day, the Vietnamese celebrate an important event in their history – the liberation of South Vietnam and the unification of the country. The holiday has been celebrated since 1975, starting from the date of this event.

Solemn celebrations dedicated to the memorial date take place throughout the country. After official celebrations, festivities and various entertainment events take place.

International Labor Day

Celebrating International Labor Day in Vietnam

As elsewhere in the world, this holiday is celebrated on May 1. It is included in the list of official holidays in Vietnam, which is celebrated at the state level. This is the day for all working people who work for the good of their country.

Wesak

This is an international Buddhist festival celebrated on the full moon day in May. Its goal is to honor the birth of the Buddha, his enlightenment, and departure from this world. On this day, in all Buddhist monasteries, solemn prayers are held, and temples are decorated with garlands of flowers. In the evening, the sky is lit up by millions of lights from colorful lanterns, which symbolize enlightenment coming into this world.

In large cities, solemn processions of monks are held. It is customary to give gifts for the poor, the homeless, and the needy people.

Summer holidays

Wandering day

On the 15th day of the seventh lunar month, the Vietnamese remember the lost souls. According to local beliefs, on this day, the gates of hell open so that souls can freely walk on the earth. In order to appease the souls of the dead, housewives in all houses prepare special treats, flowers, and paper clothes for gifts.

On this day, it is not customary to hold weddings, begin construction of a new house, or go on a trip.

Mid-Autumn Festival

The holiday is celebrated between the 14th and 15th day of the lunar calendar, usually, this day falls in mid-August. This festival is a kind of harvest festival when Vietnamese families thank nature for its generous gifts.

On the day of the festival, it is customary to enjoy a variety of fruits, nuts, cakes, jelly, cookies, and other sweets.

Lantern Festival in Hoi An

The festival takes place in an ancient city Hoi An, located in central Vietnam. During the festival, all cafes, hotels, and restaurants turn off the electricity and are lit by lanterns. The celebration includes participation in solemn processions and games. Many Vietnamese spend their holidays in temples, offering prayers.

Autumn holidays

Independence Day

The official national holiday is celebrated on September 2. This is the day of the liberation of the country from colonial dependence and the formation of an independent state. All houses and institutions are decorated with national flags. Various cultural events, fireworks, and mass celebrations are held.

Halloween

Vietnam Market Before Haloween

This is one of the holidays that gained popularity not so long ago. Celebrating the festival began due to numerous tourists. Today, this special day is celebrated in the same traditions as in other countries, primarily in the popular Vietnamese resorts.

On the streets, you can meet witches, ghosts, vampires, and other evil spirits. Many hotels and cafes display pumpkins with lanterns and other attributes of All Saints Eve.

When is the best time to come to Vietnam?

The choice of a vacation spot in Vietnam depends on the time of year. The popular resorts of Nha Trang, Danang, Hue are best to go from February to April. At this time, warm sunny weather remains in the central part of the country.

It is better to go to the resorts of the southern part of Vietnam (Phu Quoc Island), as well as to Ho Chi Minh City in December-March. Visiting the northern regions is recommended in April-June or October-November.

Which of the festivals must be visited in Vietnam?

Vietnam is rich in festival programs at any time of the year. But the most popular among tourists are the Tet Holiday, Lim Festival, Temple Hung King Festival. On the days of these holidays, you can not only have fun but also learn the cultural and national characteristics of the local population more deeply. These holidays are very bright, colorful and will remain in the memory of everyone who took part in them for a long time.

New Year and Christmas are also popular among tourists. Celebrating these winter holidays in an unusual setting, among tropical beauty, away from snow and frost is the dream of many tourists arriving from the northern countries.

For admirers of Buddhism, the most interesting holiday will be Wesak. This is a day of pilgrimage for everyone to the main temples and monasteries of the country.

Polina
Author
Polina
Since 2013, we live with a spouse in different countries, including China, the Philippines, the United States, and Vietnam. I dance, teach pole dance and write about our travel.
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