The vibrancy of Vietnam is reflected aptly in its festivals. Vietnam festivals are full of colour and merriment with people of all ages participating in great zeal. From Red River Delta in the north to Mekong Delta in the south, these festivals of Vietnam are held throughout the year. Therefore, irrespective of the time of year you choose for your Vietnam holiday, you can expect to experience the local flavour of some of the festivals.
Tet – Tet, lunar New Year, is perhaps the most famous Vietnamese festival having a universal participation. This event held some time in late January or early February coincides with spring. It is a time for family bonhomie and they try to spend a few days together during this festival. Normally, a three–day affair, Tet involves drinking, eating and rejoicing together with family and friends. Gifts often including cooked food are exchanged during this celebration. Soups and stewed dishes of vegetable, fish and meat are usually enjoyed during Tet. Mai, Quat and Dao implying apricot, kumquat, and peach flower shows respectively are another notable Vietnam attraction of New Year.
Lim Festival – This festival unique to Lim village close to Hanoi coincides with the thirteenth day of the first lunar month as per Vietnam New Year. This is essentially a religious festival involving male and female teams. Teams of men and women exchange dialogues and verses accompanied by music. ‘Quan Ho’ songs are sung throughout the region in boats, pagodas and along hill slopes. Quan Ho is a Vietnam folk song popular in Red River Delta in the north.
Quan the Am – This is a Vietnam cultural festival held on the nineteenth day of the second lunar month. This event held in Ngu Hanh Mountains near Danang was initiated in 1962 with the opening of Avalokeswara Boddhisattwa idol in Hoa Nghiem cave in Vietnam Marble Mountains. The principal festival is preceded by a religious ceremony that involves prayers, offerings, and rituals. The main festival includes rendition of folk songs, lion dancing, floating lamps on rivers, painting and operas. This Vietnam celebration held over three days attracts visitors from all parts of the country.
Nui Ba Festival – Your Vietnam visit is never complete without witnessing Nui Ba festival held in Ba Den Mountains in the centre of Mekong Delta. This festival is held in remembrance of a girl who left her home to become a nun as she was forced by her father to marry an officer’s son against her wishes. She retreated to Nui Ba Mountains and stayed here till her death. She is now worshipped as St. Linh Son and has a black bronze statue erected. This two month long festival held between the last lunar month and the second lunar month involves prayers, offerings and discourses. You could stay in a pagoda and enjoy their delectable vegetarian dishes.
Mid-Autumn festival – This Vietnam ceremony held on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month (September) is looked forward to by every citizen of this fantastic country, especially children. Held at a time when weather is embalming, and farmers are at rest, this festival is complete with entertainment, cakes, candles, and toys. ‘Banh deo’, a rice preparation, is a must for this festival. Colourful items like candles, fruits and cakes are sold in large quantities. Lanterns in innovative shapes are used to decorate homes. Children are offered toys and participate in marches and dances. Vietnam tours for kids are usually conducted during this time.
If you want to experience any of these festivals, plan your Vietnam vacation accordingly.