5 Best Festivals in Vietnam

Festivals in Vietnam provide travelers with the perfect chance to get up close and personal with this proud nation’s myths, traditions, and fun-loving spirit. Despite modernization, Vietnam remains a largely traditional region, with thousands of pagodas and shrines devoted to Buddha and other deities and iconic figures.

Tet Nguyen Dan (Lunar New Year)

January/February

What’s the big deal with it?
The Lunar New Year, known locally as Tet, is the largest celebration of the year, with the whole nation downing equipment for family gatherings. Don’t expect a crazy party since Tet is mostly a religious festival, but it’s still a fascinating time to visit Vietnam, and you’ll undoubtedly see locals lighting fireworks, visiting temples with their relatives, and the curious sight of several flower stalls set up as giving flowers is customary during Tet.

What is the perfect location for a celebration?
Tet is celebrated in Vietnam, but it is better to be in the bigger cities because smaller towns truly close down, making food and transportation impossible to reach. This festival is best enjoyed in Hanoi. In the morning, you can see locals burning incense and praying to their ancestors at Quan Su Pagoda or Ngoc Son Temple, while Hanoi Opera House often hosts colorful parties and fireworks displays.

Hue Festival

April/May/June every two years

What’s the big deal with it?
Hue Festival is a biannual celebration held in UNESCO-listed Hue City, where you can enjoy a week of cultural activities, sports, and performances. The festival was established in 2000 to uphold ancient traditions practiced during the Nguyen Dynasty. Expect special showcases such as the Hue Poetry Festival, Dialogue with Drums and Percussions, and Ao Dai Fashion Shows, as well as recreational activities such as kite flying, yacht racing, and human chess, as well as street concerts, film screenings, and art exhibits, whether you visit Hue in April, May, or June.

What is the perfect location for a celebration?
The Hue Festival is only held in Hue City, the capital of the Thua Thien Hue province in Central Vietnam.

Perfume Festival

Mid-February/March

What’s the big deal with it?
The Perfume Festival brings thousands of local pilgrims from all over Vietnam to Hanoi’s famous Perfume Pagoda to pray for a fruitful year and pay their respects to Buddha. On the 15th day of the 1st Lunar, pilgrims (and even tourists) ride by boat along the Yen River to the base of Huong Mountain, passing by limestone caves and rice fields. The trek begins on foot as you ascend hundreds of stone steps to Huong Tich Cave, which features a colorful display of food offerings, deity statues, lit incense, and praying locals.

Where’s the best place to celebrate?
Perfume Festival takes place at the Perfume Pagoda in Hanoi, from the 15th day of the 1st lunar month.

Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid-September

What’s the big deal with it?
On the 14th and 15th days of the lunar month, the Mid-Autumn Festival includes a variety of events such as children holding paper lanterns, lion dances, and food stalls offering mooncakes, sticky rice, bananas, and other sweets. During the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the harvest festival, households set up an altar on which they display offerings in honor of the full moon.

What is the perfect location for a celebration?
The Mid-Autumn Festival is best experienced in Hoi An, where you can enjoy street performers, lantern processions, and art exhibits throughout the UNESCO-listed Ancient Town. During the Mid-Autumn Festival, children can also compete in the essay, drawing, and coloring competitions, while visitors can take in the spectacular sights of colorful paper lanterns lining the Thu Bon Riverside and Japanese Covered Bridge.

Hung King Temple Festival

Early April

What’s the big deal with it?
The Hung King Temple Festival commemorates Kinh Duong Vuong, Vietnam’s first king in 2879BC. While the main worship event takes place at the Hung Temple, which is situated atop Nghia Linh Mountain in Phu Tho Province, on the eve of the festival, 100 lanterns are released into the sky. A flower ceremony is performed the next morning at Den Thuong (Upper Temple), where the Hung Kings used to worship deities during their reign. Finally, a massive procession begins at the mountain’s base, consisting of pilgrims, xoan classical song plays, and ca tru classical operas at various temples along the way to the main Hung Shrine.

Where’s the best place to celebrate?
Hung King Temple Festival is celebrated at the Hung Temple on Nghia Linh Mountain in Phong Chau District, Phu Tho Province.

 

 

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