Imbued with tradition and rituals, festivals provide an authentic way to see the “real” Vietnam. The calendar is peppered with events, but here are 7 Vietnam famous festivals.
1. Tet (New Year)
Festivals in Vietnam, lanterns in Hoi An
Let’s begin at the beginning. Tet (New Year) is Vietnam’s largest and most celebrated festival; imagine Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year all rolled into one. Tet, like so many other Vietnamese festivals, commemorates ancestors, so many people return home to celebrate with their families.
During the day, gentle rituals such as flower distribution and candle lighting are common at the temple. However, in the evening, the celebrations become more lively, with fireworks, colorful performances, and a plethora of street food stalls.
Domestic travel routes become extremely congested, and many shops, restaurants, and places of interest close for the entire week. Book as soon as possible and travel as little as possible.
2. Hue Arts Festival
Hue Arts Festival’s traditional dancers
Hue Arts Festival is a must-see if you consider yourself a culture vulture. As a celebration of Nguyen dynasty customs, it provides an excellent insight into the vibrant art scene and fascinating heritage of this historical town. There are impressive performances ranging from theatre and live music to film screenings and street performances, as well as activities such as boat races, kite flying, and human chess games. It should be noted that the festival occurs every two years.
3. Lantern Festival in Hoi An
At the Hoi An Lantern Festival, people throw lanterns into the river.
The Hoi An Lantern Festival, perhaps Vietnam’s most famous festival, attracts a large number of visitors. This charming town is always a favorite among visitors, but when the lights go out and those twinkly lanterns are sent down the river, it becomes even more magical.
To see the best of it, join the crowds on the banks or board a sampan boat.
4. Wandering Souls Day (Trung Nguyen) Imperial Citadel in Hue
The story of Wandering Souls Day, Vietnam’s second largest festival after Tet, is one of the most fascinating of the country’s festivals. This Buddhist festival is based on the belief that when a person dies, their soul is either sent to heaven or hell.
Those morally reprehensible souls who find themselves in latter may come back to their corporeal homes for absolution on Wandering Souls Day (or Trung Nguyen). Families travel to temples the day before the celebration to make flower and food offerings for souls without family members, and severely impairs are set up in each home with food options to guide ethereal beings home.
5. Flower Festival in Dalat
Vietnam’s Dalat Flower Festival
How many different things can you make out of flowers? If the Dalat Flower Festival is any indication, there are no bounds. Highlights in previous years have included a horse and cart, an Egyptian sphinx, a massive peacock, and even a temple! Don’t miss the opening ceremony, which features a colorful array of outfits, firework displays, and stunning performances.
6. Festival of Perfume Pagodas
Vietnam’s perfume river by boat
Thousands of Buddhist pilgrims travel by boat across the Yen Vi River to the caves of Huong Tich Mountain each year. Take the hundreds of stone steps to the top to see colorful parades, routine basis, long-practiced rituals, and street produce – there are plenty of shrines to rest your feet on the way up.
7. Autumn Festival
Vietnam’s Mid-Autumn Festival
The mid-autumn festival was originally intended to allow parents to spend time with their children after the harvest season. As part of the event of children, the streets are usually filled with children singing and participating in lantern parades. Don’t pass up the opportunity to try a mooncake (an ode to the full moon) during the festival; this sweet dessert (typically containing red bean paste and salted egg yolk) is delicious.