Festivals and Events
The Vietnamese calendar follows the patterns of the moon and differs to the Western year and during a year a number of festivals and events take place from quiet visits to ancestral altars to vibrant nationwide celebrations. Here's our pick of some of the best festivals and events.
Tet - Vietnamese New Year
The lunar new year in Vietnam is one of the most important festivals with celebrations starting a week before the date. Families gather together to indulge in eating and drinking of specialty foods and welcome in spring with a clean of the house and a new haircut. At midnight on the New Year people hit the streets to make as much noise as possible with firecrackers and drums.
Taking place in the village of Lim 18 km from Hanoi
, the Lim Festival features two of the best female singers from one village and two of the best male singers from a second village singing to one another in lyrical dialogues. Settings for these 'dialogues' include local pagodas, in the surrounding hills and even on floating boats.
Thay Pagoda Festival
This annual event pays homage to the Vietnamese monk, Tu Dao Hanh, who lived at the Thay Pagoda, located 30 km southwest of Hanoi in the shadows of the Sai Son Mountains. The day begins with worship with games and water puppet shows held in front of the temple later in the day.
Also known as Reunification Day, this public holiday marks the day the Vietnam war ended with the liberation of Ho Chi Minh City back in 1975. Events are held throughout the country though Hanoi sees some of the most interesting parades, performances, local festivals and firework displays.
This festival commemorates the national hero Saint Going, one of the four immortals of Vietnam who defeated the An invaders. Held annually in Phu Dong Village outside of Hanoi, a large and colourful procession moves from one temple to another culminating in a feast and opera performances.
Observed on the 3rd September to commemorate the Vietnam Declaration of Independence from France back in 1945, this public holiday often involves firework displays, especially in Hanoi's Ba Dinh Square where people gather to celebrate.
Also known as the Full Moon Festival as it falls on the night of a full moon, this is one of the Vietnam's most entertaining festivals, especially for children who celebrate with toys, cakes and candies including moon cakes made with delicious fillings. During the day dragon dances take place in the streets and in the evening lanterns are lit and released into the night sky.
Oc Om Boc Festival
This religious festival is held by the Kho Me ethnic minority group in Vietnam to worship their moon god in hope of a successful harvest and good health. Dishes of food are presented in shrines and temples, paper lanterns are released into the sky and traditional Ngo boat races take place on the river.