Top 11 Most Colourful Festivals in Vietnam

While many travellers appreciate going to new places, setting off to another nation for a specific celebration or a special festival is also captivating for some savvy explorers. There is no better time to be in an outside land than in the midst of the celebrations. This is because that when a country comes out to celebrate, you get to understand deeply its soul and lifestyles.

TÂY NINH 1961 - Photo by Wilbur E. Garrett by manhhai

How many festivals are there in Vietnam?

Vietnamese culture may be as yet obscure to a considerable number of individuals outside the country. Festivals in Vietnam are the time when people show respect to heroes and divine beings, incredible people, national legends and wish for a better life.

There are around 8000 celebrations from every one of the regions, ethnics, and religions. Some of these fiestas find their origin in fanciful legends, some are really new, yet all are mind incredible that the entire world plans to be a part of them, in any occasion once in life. We have chosen the top 11 most astonishing festivals in Vietnam here. Please bear in mind that many Vietnamese celebrations are dated in view of lunar schedule, which the right date will change fairly consistently.

1. Tet, or Lunar New Year (January/February)

Tet Festival happens on the first day of the first month of the Vietnamese lunar calendar. It is the most important event celebrated in Vietnam. Tet is, for the most part, clarified as Christmas, Thanksgiving and your birthday, these three are celebrated at once. An ideal method to experience Tet atmosphere is to visit local markets where a wide assortment of sustenance, natural product, blooms, treats, and adornments used to beautify houses are shown. Tet can be separated into three periods including penultimate New Year's Eve, New Year's Eve and New Year.

There are traditions, exercises, and sustenance related to these periods.

  • Penultimate New Year's Eve is praised one week before Tet. A supper is all around served, in which members review happy events.
  • New Year Eve is a consecrated convention to say farewell to the earlier year and welcome New Year. Firecrackers are shown in the majority of the urban communities. The outside service is made to thank divine beings. The offering regularly incorporates a boiled chicken or a pig head, sticky rice, blossoms, natural product, drink, incense and joss paper.
  • New Year: goes on for 3 days. Customarily yet not entirely, the initial two days of Tet are saved for the atomic family. Kids wear new or conventional garments, known as Ao Dai, and give their older folks the traditional welcome before accepting lucky money. The third day held is for teachers who are exceedingly regarded in Vietnam.

Streets are loaded with people endeavouring to make lots of noise using fireworks, drums, chimes, and gongs to hold off insidiousness spirits, alongside artists covered up under the vivid pretences to perform Lion Dancing and Dragon Dancing. Heading off to the pagoda to petition God for bliss, thriving, wellbeing, sheltered and sound is likewise a common activity during Tet.

Traditionally, Tet is a period for each family to meet up and enjoy traditional foods, for example, Banh Chung (squared sticky rice), Banh Tec (long-like round and hollow shape glutinous), Gio (pork sausage) and Dua Hanh (pickled onion).

2. Huong, or Perfume Pagoda Festival (January – March)

Situated around 70 kilometres south of Hanoi, with a riverside striking complex of Buddhist pagodas and sanctuaries incorporated with the karst bluffs of the mountain, Perfume Pagoda Festival is the longest lasting festival in Vietnam, formally held every year from 15th – 20th of the second lunar month. This celebration attracts a large number of travellers from throughout Vietnam.

The standard greeting from one explorer to each other is "A Di Da Phat" which is transliterated to "Namo Amitabha Buddha" in the dialect of Hinduism. The point of this religious journey is to petition God for the family. Members regularly gather under a specific stalactite to get water drops with expectations of being well and blessed. For the adult, the festival is considered as a decent chance to discover partner and start dating. Albeit recreational activities are not the principal part of the celebration, visitors still have an opportunity to encounter engaging activities, for example, a watching boat ride on charming streams, exploring holy caves and climbing to the top of the mountain too. It is said that journey to Huong Pagoda in the spring will bring satisfaction, wellbeing, thriving and good fortunes year round. Regardless of whether you believe, there is no arguing that Perfume pagoda offers a wonderful opportunity to see better both nature and Vietnamese tradition.

3. Hung Kings Commemoration Day (April)

This is an exciting public celebration when Vietnamese learn more about their root and to express respect to their predecessors. The event takes place from 8th - 11th day of the 3rd of the third lunar month at the Hung Temple, situated in Phu Tho Province. Historical record demonstrated that Hung Kings were the creators of Vietnam. Subsequently, thankfulness, predecessor love, and patriotism are the primary themes of the celebratory day and activities include:

  • The Procession: Vietnamese men carry sedans of offerings starting from the ground to the High Temple at the summit of the mountain. Participants wear splendidly colored costumes, light incense and make offerings.
  • Live music exhibitions: performances are arranged around customary styles of singing and dancing to reconnect with their traditions and culture origins.
  • Games: participants enjoy playing chest, creating handicrafts work and watching rooster fighting.

4. Elephant Racing Festival (April/May)

Think of elephant, presumably you consider Thailand or Laos, however, Vietnam is likely the main nation having elephant racing beside to India in Asia. Being held every year in the 3rd lunar month in Dak Lak by M'nong ethnic individuals, the celebration shows the bond between human and elephant which plays a specific role in Vietnam's legend.

The racing track is around 1-2kn long and 400-500m wide which enables 30 elephants to stand next to each other. There are two elephant riders wearing customary clothes on every elephant. The triumphant elephant gets a shrub wreath as an indication of victory and fed with sugar sticks and bananas from celebration goers. After this race, the elephants are moved to a stream for a swimming rivalry. They additionally take part in amusements like football and tug of war. Festival winds up with a big feast, stem wine drinking, and cheerful dancing in the enthusiastic sound of gongs and drums.

5. Buddha's Birthday (May)

The Buddhist religion is common in Asia, and Vietnam is the same. With over half population of the country being Buddhist devotees, Buddha's Birthday is commended on 15th of the 4th lunar month to remember the birth, edification, and passing of Buddha. Petitions and offers are made all over the country. Pagodas and sanctuaries are designed extremely with the local natural product, flower wreaths, and different vegetarian dishes.

The atmosphere of the celebration gets significantly more exciting with parades around evening time. The air is loaded with the smell incense and it adds to the celebrations' spiritual nature. Monks give sermons and pray God for the country's prosperity and peace. Coloured floating lanterns are put on the river to wish the wandering souls have a place to settle.

6. Hue Festival (Late April/Early May)

Are you looking forward to experiencing a festival that can't discover anyplace else? Hue festival won't disappoint you. The celebration is a semi-annual social event that celebrates the culture and history of the previous capital city which is currently perceived as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The celebration attracts travellers from all over the world to experience unique heritage in Hue and additionally Vietnam's national identity.

The entire city is revamped with numerous indoor and outdoor community-based events to restore the customary values of Hue. Every festival season has a distinctive theme, which never fails to draw attention and expectation from millions of domestic and international visitors. Thousands of artists gather in Hue festival to show talents and deliver exhibition more than 40 locations in the city.

At the beginning of Hue festival, visitors can enjoy a vivid opening ceremony with unique performances of several art groups from Vietnam and other countries. Over the course of a week, a wide variety of activities happen including traditional fashion grand show, delightful calligraphy and huge workmanship presentation, exciting firecrackers show, verse presentations, fashioned kites fly, fascinating human chest playing, road parades, boat racing, food and many more. Hue festival is looking forward to welcoming you.

7. Vu Lan or Trung Nguyen Festival, aka Wandering Souls Day (Early September)

Vu Lan celebration is a yearly ceremony celebrated on the 15th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar, which local people believe the day on when lost souls search for mercy and come back to their previous homes. Although this isn't a major gathering for a party, it is a fascinating festival to watch. You can inundate yourself in another culture and watch how much local people care the wandering souls. People carry lanterns which are an image of petitions for the wandering souls. Long tables are set out with boiled chicken, cooked pork, sugarcane, fruits and other foods to commemorate the festival. Joss paper and garments are burned during this day also.

Besides going to pagodas, people partake in compassionate activities, for example, releasing creatures, mainly fish, and winged creatures back into the wild, and doing philanthropy jobs.

8. Mid-Autumn Festival (Late September/Early October)

Mid-Autumn festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month which denotes the finish of rice harvest season. Offering to the God of Earth, for example, moon cakes, organic product, and snacks are laid on a worshipping platform in the front yard. Moon cakes made of pork, egg, dried organic product, pumpkin seeds and shelled nut are the cakes that are just eaten at this festival. Moon cakes symbolize good fortune, bliss, wellbeing and riches on the Mid-Autumn day. Somewhat not the same as different nations that additionally observe Mid-Autumn, children are the focal point of this celebration. Kids carry delightful lanterns, wear funny masks, perform phenomenal dances, and sing folk songs on open grounds or in the avenues when watching the rising moon.

9. Quest camp music celebration (November)

Whether you hip-hop, folk to modern, swing to jazz, go hard for EDM, or dance all night long. Quest has huge amounts of cool activities to make any music lover feel complete. Quest is a 3-day music celebration, held in Son Tinh camp, Ha Noi which is a beautiful, open, spacious and encompassed by water and mountains. It's more than the music. Quest festival additionally includes workshops, for example, yoga, artworks, and special classes. Clearly, you can hope to tune in to traditional Vietnamese music. Quest festival is a great way to start or end an excursion to Vietnam and experience a portion of the local flavours.

10. Ooc Om Bok Festival (December)

Khmer is the 5th biggest minority group in Vietnam with roughly 1.5% Vietnam population, living primarily in Mekong Delta. OoC Om Bok is one of the liveliest festivals of this minority group. Held annually in the 10th full moon in Vietnamese Lunar date-book, the primary reasons for the celebration are to worship the Moon God and thanksgiving for an abundant reap of rice and fish and to celebrate the finish of the year. For Khmer people, the moon rules climate and products. Thus, at midnight when the moon is at its highest position, a wide assortment of horticultural items including bananas, coconuts, sweet potatoes, and sticky rice are utilized as offerings.

The feature of the festival is the race of Ghe Ngo, a remarkable sort of wooden boat which is in the shape of a Khmer's holy object - Nagar Snake. Different activities organized in the event including Khmer music and dance shows, presentations of artistic works, and workshops on horticultural development, appealing tourists from many places.

11. Da Lat Flower Festival (Late December/Early January)

Taking place every two years, once in a while every year, flower festival is held in the romantic mountain town of Da Lat, Lam Dong province. The fundamental reasons behind the celebration are to display flowers, vegetables, and ornamental plants from the locals and neighbour regions and to lure visitors to come to Dalat.

The flower festival is highlighted with intriguing programs such as awesome number of flower showcases and competition in flower garden; bonsai presentation attracts domestic flower producer as well as foreign organizations; selective specialties including tea, coffee, and wine are displayed; Da Lat Flower Carnival parades, interesting cosplays alongside novel calligraphy, painting and photography exhibitions will keep you entertained.

Tips for visiting during festivals

  • International flights should be reserved ahead of time as airfare regularly increases in December, January, and February. Particularly every bus and train are packed on the week before and after Tet holiday.
  • A number of the restaurants might be close during Tet, however, some remain open; street food is always your best bet during festivals and celebrations.
  • Making lodging booking for Hue celebration is greatly recommended.
  • The most prominent time to visit Floating market in Cai Rang, Can Tho is possibly one or two weeks before Tet. No exchanging on the floating market during and one week after this holiday.
  • Dress conservatively (long garments, skirt sufficiently long to cover knees, long-sleeve shirts) when visiting sacred sites. Take off shoes before entering sanctuaries, temples, and pagoda.
  • Romantic gestures or demonstration of intimacy in the religious destinations isn't encouraged.


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