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Home >> Vietnam >> Vietnam Festivals

Vietnam Festivals

Main Festivals in Vietnam

There are solar and lunar calendars used in Vietnam. Besides celebrating the statutory holidays including New Year's Day, International Labor Day and National Day, Vietnamese have Tomb-sweeping Day, Dragon Boat Festival, Ghost Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, Double Ninth Festival, Lunar New Year and other traditional festivals as well. Different regions and ethnic groups also have their own festivals and events, the festivals listed below are main ones that take place on a nation scale.


Tet Nguyen Dan (Lunar New Year)

The same as Chinese people, to Vietnamese the Lunar New Year is one of the most important festivals in a year. Lunar New Year marks the coming of spring and may continue for a week or more though officially it is a three-day affair, the scared festival generally comes in late January or early February of solar calendar. Vietnamese New Year shares many of the same customs of the Chinese Spring Festival. Before the festival, people usually do a lot of preparations: buy new clothes, candies and other commodities; sweep rooms and decorate them in red and gold with peach “hoa dao” (in the northern part of Vietnam) or apricot blossoms “hoa mai” blossoms (in the southern Vietnam) and woodcut prints of the New Year’s zodiac animal; traditionally display a 5-6m long bamboo pole which is decorated with greeting cards and symbols for good luck; prepare special holiday foods to welcome the occasion of pilgrims and family reunions and so forth.

On the New Year’s festival, there are various customs practiced such as worshipping Heaven, Earth and ancestors, visiting a person’s house on the first day of the new year (the Vietnamese believe that the first visitor to the home will determine their fortune for the entire year. Usually, a person with wealth or an auspicious name is invited first into the home), sending best wishes to friends, relatives and neighbors for a new year, giving lucky money to children and the old, opening rice paddies, etc. During the days, firecrackers are set off, dragon dances are performed, traditional foods like bánh chưng (a square cake made of sticky rice stuffed with beans and pork), măng (a soup of boiled bamboo shoots and flied pork) and xôi gấc (orange sticky rice) are served by family members together, it is an occasion of amusements and entertainments, a time to stop thinking about unhappy things but wish good things of the new year.


Tet Trung Thu (Mid-Autumn Festival)

Besides the Lunar New Year, the Mid-Autumn Festival is the most impressive event for the Vietnamese. It is held on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, when the moon is full and the weather is cool. People celebrate the festival to worship the Moon Genie, while some families cook outstanding foods to offer their ancestors. Accompanied by gongs and bells, lion dances are performed at daytime by a man followed by a train of children to drive away the evils. Different from that of China, the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam has more fun for children. Parents prepare brightly-colored lanterns and diverse toys for their kids. When the evening falls, children participate in a candlelit lantern procession in the streets with drums and songs. Apart from toys, cakes (banh nuong) and abundant fruits eaten in the bright moonlight also bring a pure and detached joy to children. One might say that there is no other event in a year other than the Mid-Autumn Festival that provides them with as much entertainment.


Ong Tao Festival (Kitchen God Festival)

According to legend, Kitchen God (Ong Tao) will return to heaven on the 23rd day of the twelfth month by lunar calendar by carp and report to the God of Heaven about things happened on earth, thus people in some places sacrifice a carp to Kitchen God as his mount. What’s more, Vietnamese families generally put in a good word for Ong Tao to ensure that he report only good things of the family to the God of Heaven.


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