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Festivals in Vietnam

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festivals in vietnam

Festivals in Vietnam

Discover Vietnam’s rich culture, traditions, and history by experiencing the country’s vibrant festivals firsthand. Below, we’ve outlined the major Vietnamese celebrations and public holidays, with a special focus on Hoi An and Central Vietnam. Please note that dates may vary from year to year, so be sure to plan accordingly if you’re looking to coincide your trip with a specific Vietnamese celebration.

Public Holiday & Festivals in Vietnam

Festivals in Vietnam: Experience the country’s vibrant culture and traditions firsthand by attending one of its many celebrations. Despite having a relatively low number of public holidays compared to the Western calendar, Vietnam’s most significant event is the lunar new year, Tet, which is also the longest holiday. Other observed breaks are typically limited to a single day, offering a unique glimpse into the country’s rich heritage. Below, we’ve outlined the major Vietnamese festivals and public holidays, with a special focus on Hoi An and Central Vietnam.

Little Daisy Hoi An Craft Workshop daily open with many choices: embroidery, sewing, crochet, and bookbinding. Immerse yourself in local culture and create something unique.

 

Tet Holiday (Vietnamese Lunar New Year)

Tet, Vietnam’s most significant festival, is a celebration filled with ceremony, tradition, gift-giving, and special cuisine. This festive occasion honors family, friends, teachers, ancestors, and the arrival of the new year, seeking good fortune. During Tet, streets are adorned with vibrant flowers, creating a picturesque atmosphere. While many places may close during the week-long celebration, most hotels continue to operate as usual.

Hùng Kings’ Festival

Vietnamese legend tells the story of the Hùng Kings, the mythical rulers born to the Dragon Lac and the Fairy Âu Cơ, who founded Vietnam and ruled an ancient kingdom. The descendants of these legendary leaders became the Vietnamese people. The Hùng Kings’ Festival commemorates these legendary figures, paying tribute to Vietnam’s traditional heritage, customs, and values.

International New Year

January 1st is also a significant day in Vietnam, marking the global celebration of the New Year. This tradition began during Vietnam’s French colonial era, when the Western Gregorian calendar was adopted, influencing the country’s celebration of this international holiday.

Reunification Day Holiday

Reunification Day, also known as Liberation or Victory Day, is a public holiday celebrated on April 30th, commemorating the capture of Saigon by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces in 1976. This historic event marked the end of the American War and paved the way for national reunification, ultimately giving rise to the modern-day Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Labor Day

Vietnam’s Labor Day, celebrated on May 1st, directly follows Reunification Day and is often seen as a long-awaited break. Many people use this opportunity to travel, visit loved ones, and return to their hometowns, especially when Labor Day and Reunification Day coincide with a weekend, creating a four-day holiday stretch.

National Day

On September 2nd, Vietnam commemorates its National Day, a festive celebration of national heritage, culture, and history. The day is marked by parades, fireworks, and patriotic speeches in major cities nationwide, honoring Vietnam’s independence from France in 1945.

Marching at Independence Day

Hoi An Festivals

Hoi An’s picturesque riverside location and proximity to the sea make it an ideal backdrop for various festivals in Vietnam, with many of them centered around the water.

Hoi An Lantern Festival

Hoi An’s Lantern Festival, also known as the Full Moon Festival, takes place monthly on full moon nights. During this event, lanterns are set afloat on the river between the Japanese Covered Bridge and Cau An Hoi Bridge, serving as an offering to ancestors and a wish for good fortune, health, and happiness.

Hoi An Boat Racing Festival

Held annually on the 2nd day of the first lunar month, this festive event marks the start of spring and showcases community teamwork and unity. Colorful boats, adorned with dragon heads and tails, compete in a rhythmic paddle-racing contest, driven by the pulsing beat of drums. While competitive in spirit, the races also serve as a ceremonial tribute to the Water God.

The Bong Bridge Festival

The Bong Bridge Festival is a distinct celebration exclusive to Hoi An’s Tra Que Village, held annually on the 7th day of the first lunar month. For 300 years, villagers have cultivated organic crops using traditional methods. This festival honors ancestors and seeks a bountiful harvest, highlighting the community’s deep connection with the land.

International Choir Competition

Since 2011, Hoi An has partnered with INTERKULTUR to host a biannual International Choir Competition in its ancient town. The next event is scheduled for April 2025. This gathering brings together choirs from around the world to compete and showcase their talents. Dates and programs vary each year, with details available at interkultur.com.

Fish Festivals

Coastal fishing villages in Central Vietnam regularly celebrate fish festivals. In Phuoc Trach, a three-day celebration takes place around Cua Dai beach during the second lunar month. The initial two days feature rituals, sacrifices, and offerings to the Fish God, followed by prayers for a bountiful fishing season. The final day hosts traditional games like boat racing, singing, and dancing, fostering community bonding and good wishes for the future.

Other Big Vietnamese Festivals

Find some of the biggest nationwide festivals in Vietnam below.

Mid-Autumn Festival

The Mid-autumn Festival is a beloved Vietnamese celebration, typically held on the eve of the 8th full moon of the Lunar calendar (often in September). With roots dating back 4000 years, the festival initially marked the end of the rice harvest in the Red River Delta. During this time, busy parents would come together with their children to celebrate a successful harvest, honor the moon, and spend quality time as a family.

Hungry Ghost Festival

The Hungry Ghost Festival, also known as Wandering Souls’ Day, is a significant Vietnamese celebration. It takes place on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month and marks the annual wandering of ancestors’ souls. Both Taoists and Buddhists believe that during this month, the gates of Heaven and Hell are open, allowing the deceased to visit the living.

Buddha’s Birthday

The Hungry Ghost Festival, also known as Wandering Souls’ Day, is  one of significant festivals in Vietnam. It takes place on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month and marks the annual wandering of ancestors’ souls. Both Taoists and Buddhists believe that during this month, the gates of Heaven and Hell are open, allowing the deceased to visit the living.

Christmas

In Vietnam, despite being a predominantly Buddhist country, around 10% of the population is Christian. While Christmas is not an official public holiday, it’s still widely celebrated by both Christian observers and many Vietnamese people.

Women’s Day

In Vietnam, two significant celebrations honor women: International Women’s Day on March 8th and National Women’s Day on October 20th. On this day, Vietnamese people show their love and respect for women, marking the establishment of the Vietnam Women’s Union in 1930. The Communist Party declared October 20th as a day to honor and celebrate women across the country.

Regional Vietnamese Festivals

During your travels, don’t miss the vibrant festivals in central Vietnam, where you can experience the rich cultural heritage of Da Nang, Hue, and Hoi An.

Da Nang Fireworks Festival

Since its inception in 2008, the Da Nang International Fireworks Festival has become a highlight of the year. This annual event brings together world-class teams from around the globe, with eight countries competing this year: Vietnam, USA, Poland, Germany, Finland, Italy, France, and China. The festival kicks off on June 8th and runs every Saturday until July 13th, culminating in a spectacular finale.

Hue Festival

The Hue Festival is a week-long celebration of Vietnamese culture and heritage, held every two years in April, May, or June. Since its inception in 2000, this biennial event has become a highlight of the cultural calendar, honoring the rich history and cultural significance of Hue, Vietnam’s former capital city. The festival features a diverse range of activities, including fireworks displays, traditional games, music concerts, artistic performances, and exhibitions showcasing poetry, history, and film.

Hue Hon Chen Temple Festival

The Hue Hon Chen Temple Festival is a series of vibrant rituals honoring revered gods, including a boat procession for Mother Thien Y A Na, a Vietnamese goddess. The Perfume River comes alive with a performance reenacting imperial princesses and princes from the Nguyen Dynasty. The festival takes place twice a year, in the third and seventh lunar months, at Hon Chen Temple, 10km west of Hue.

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