Relish the most fascinating festivals in Vietnam
If you want to have a full experience of the local culture while traveling to a new destination, a particularly effective way is to attend their festival, especially the traditional festivals. They are indeed the representative of the culture and where the traditional culture appears most purely and densely.
Tet is obviously the most valued festival in Vietnam. It is the time for the whole country to take a break and have time with their family and friend, pay respect to their ancestors by carrying out long-standing traditional ceremony. Often occurring in late January or early February, Tet Festival will give you a unique perspective on Vietnamese culture. It is also a wonderful time to explore the Vietnamese cuisine: the most authentic, real Vietnam food will be increasingly served during this holiday.
Even though Hue Festival is not a traditional celebration with a long history – it was held for the first time in 2000 under the operation of the local authority and soon become of the well-celebrated events in the country. Hue Festival aims at preserving the old traditional value and customs of Nguyen Dynasty – the last dynasty of Vietnam. During this festival, you could see many different cultural and traditional activities that could not be easily accessed in the normal daily context.
Some annual highlight activities of the festival are the Hue Poetry Festival, Drums and Percussion, Ao Dai Show, traditional kite flying, boat racing, and human chess. Moreover, it is also the rare chance in which people will recreate the royal ceremonies, for example, the King’s enthronement or doctoral examination.
With such a wide range of activities and vibrant atmosphere, Hue Festival is one of the best occasions to explore the history and traditional culture of Vietnam.
Huong Pagoda Festival
In the spring, after the celebration of Tet Holiday, Huong Festival will be held on the 15th of the first Lunar month at Huong Pagoda. The festival is a place to pay respect to Buddha. Just within several days of the festival, it attracts thousands of people from many parts of the country. It is one of the biggest pilgrimages in Vietnam. Beyond the cultural values, Huong Festival offers the stunning nature and landscape of the northern region, which is the reason why the festival is nationally famous even for non-Buddhists. Travelers will have a wonderful journey through the marvelous landscape of dreamy rivers, limestone caves, and rice fields. To reach the Huong Tich Cave – the final destination of the pilgrimages – you will have to make to through hundred-step path.
Unlike other festivals which are more of a religious or spiritual event, Mid-Autumn is more vibrant, lively and carefree. It explains why the festival is considered as a particular event for children. On the 15th day of the Eighth Lunar month, children will parade along the streets with lanterns in their hands. Hoi An is the best place to celebrate this festival.
Hung King Festival
Hung King Festival is a long-established occasion. On this day, the whole country will have a day off. This event is to pay respect and honor the Hung Vuong King – the founding father of Van Lang – the origin country of Vietnam. The main event is the Hung King Festival held in Hung King Temple, Phu Tho Province. It is one of the biggest festivals of Vietnam which attracts thousands of people to make a pilgrimage to Hung Kinh temple. Besides the sacred ceremony, there are many other activities like traditional music performance, boat race, swimming contests and so on.
Quan Ho is inscribed as one of the World intangible heritage and Lim Festival is the occasion in which you can see and enjoy this traditional art form. Quan Ho will be performed by the local people on dragon boats. Besides enjoying the music, you can also see and engage in many other activities like cockfighting, wrestling, human chess, bamboo swings and so on. Lim Festival is hosted by Lim villages, a small rural village of Bac Ninh Province, which is just about 30 kilometers from Hanoi.
Wandering Souls Day
According to Vietnamese belief, on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month, all spirits are released and go back to our world. Vietnamese believe that on this day, their ancestors and the dead will visit their homes and families. As the homeless spirits who are believed to bring bad lucks are also released, Vietnamese people are so anxious and careful on this day. Not loudly celebrated like other festivals, this festival is more an occasion for family union and honoring their ancestors. Vietnamese will throw a big fest among family members on this occasion.
Buddha Birthday Festival (Lễ Phật Đản)
If you are a Buddhist follower or keener, this particular festival is a great suggestion for you. Even not being celebrated widely across the population, you can still feel the festival spirits when visiting pagodas and temples during this occasion. Temples and pagodas are decorated and Buddhists will gather and contributes fruits, flowers, and dishes.