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Top 10 Traditional Festivals in Vietnam with Dates

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Apart from breathtaking natural views, Vietnam’s rich culture is worth in-depth exploration as it has undergone thousands of years. The best way to have a glimpse of Vietnamese traditions and beliefs on a Vietnam tour is through festivals. The unique cultural characteristics are well displayed through various traditional festivals and events. Visitors can enjoy a mesmerizing and unique experience if they are lucky enough to coincide with one of those memorable festivals. Here we list the most important festivals in Vietnam which are celebrated throughout the year, and keep in mind that nearly all the festivals are calculated according to the lunar calendar. We just help to organize the dates of these important festivals in 2022 and 2023 in a chart for you to spot them accurately.

1. Tet Nguyen Dan (Lunar New Year)

Time: 1st day of the 1st lunar month

Recommended Place to Celebrate: Hanoi

Tet Nguyen Dan is the most important festival in Vietnamese culture, also the first festival to start the Lunar New Year in the Vietnamese calendar. Vietnamese people pay high attention to this festival. Influenced by deep traditional values of family reunion, and worship of ancestors and deities, most Vietnamese people choose to return home and stay with family together. Locals will prepare for the grand festival even from the end of December. This is really a good time to experience Vietnamese culture when you can take part in rituals like temple fairs, lighting firework shows, and Buffalo dance shows. Ceremonious celebrations are held throughout the country. 

However, businesses and restaurants tend to close down in small cities. Thus the capital city of Hanoi becomes the top place to celebrate the festival with the locals. Temple fairs are often held in Quan Su Pagoda or Ngoc Son Temple while busy parties and fascinating fireworks can be enjoyed at the Hanoi Opera House.

Tet Nguyen Dan (Lunar New Year)
Tet Nguyen Dan (Lunar New Year)

2. Lim Festival

Time: 12th or 13th day of the 1st lunar month

Recommended Place to Celebrate: Lim Town, Tien Du district, Bac Ninh province

Lim Festival is surely a traditional Vietnamese festival you cannot miss and it can be dated back more than 300 years. As it is held so close to Lunar New Year, a joint celebration can be enjoyed if you visit Vietnam during this period. Only about 1 hour’s drive east from Hanoi, the festival held in Lim town features a remarkable ritual: Quan Ho singing. Men and women in the UNESCO-recognized tribe dress traditionally to perform dances and sing folk songs. Traditional costumes and dragon boats are highlights. 

You can also have fun with the locals by watching and taking part in interesting games like tug-of-war, wrestling, rice cooking, cockfighting, bamboo swings, and human chess.

3. Perfume Pagoda Festival

Time: 6th of the 1st lunar month – the 3rd lunar month

Recommended Place to Celebrate: Perfume Pagoda, My Duc district, Hanoi

Also known as Perfume Festival, this festival lasts about three months in the capital city of Hanoi and attracts people from far and wide. Most of them are pilgrims who come here offering incense and praying to Buddha. However, it is indeed worth your visit for its magnificent pagoda architecture, solemn ritual ceremonies, and beautiful mountainous landscape along the way. During the festival period, the pagoda is gorgeously decorated with beautiful garlands, candles, and gold plating. 

Start the pilgrimage with a dragon dance at Den Trinh Pagoda, and then take a boat along the Yen River while listening to folk songs. Finally, climb to Huong Tich Cave to pray for health, love, wealth, or children. If you feel a little challenged to climb the 120-step stairways of Huong Tich Cave, then taking a cable car is available.

4. Phu Giay Festival

Time: 1st to the 10th day of the 3rd lunar month

Recommended Place to Celebrate: Phu Giay Temple, Nam Dinh province

As one of the largest national festivals in Vietnam, Phu Giay Festival is proposed in the honor of Goddess Lieu Hanh, aka ‘Holy Mother’. About 89 km (55 mi) from Hanoi, the Phu Giay Temple holds a grand celebration dedicated to one of the four immortal gods. The grandeur of the rituals is worth experiencing. Pilgrims wear traditional costumes and carry embellished bamboo relics. Also performances and games like folk singing, lion dancing, wrestling, and cockfighting are essential parts of the festival.

5. Hung King Temple Festival

Time: 8th to 11th day of the 3rd lunar month

Recommended Place to Celebrate: Hung Temple, Phong Chau district, Phu Tho province

Hung King Temple Festival is to commemorate the first king of Vietnam. During the festival, the epic story of this state founder is celebrated every year. Generally, the festival is celebrated in all the Hung King Temples throughout the country. However, the most recommended place is Hung Temple in Phu Tho, where you can experience the most atmospheric festival. Apart from traditional performances, you can witness a large number of lanterns ascending the sky on the eve of the festival. The ceremony also includes a procession that begins at the foot of the Nghia Linh Mountain.

6. Hue Festival & Hue Craft Village Festival

Time: late April to early May, every two years

Recommended Place to Celebrate: Hue City, Central Vietnam

Hue is one of the best places to visit on your Vietnam tour, moreover, Hue Festival greatly adds highlights to the ancient city. What you can expect in the celebration of the illustrious legacy of the Nguyen Dynasty is a combination of interesting games, fun performances, and most meaningful cultural renditions. It is amazing in this traditional festival to see history come to life and the traditions and indigenous customs are well preserved. Another highlight is the Hue Craft Village Festival, which boasts artistic crafts exhibitions and some of which have been made in nearby villages for centuries.

7. Buddha’s Birthday

Time: 8th day of the 4th lunar month

Recommended Place to Celebrate: Pap Bhao Pagoda in Hoi An, Quan Su Pagoda in Hanoi

As Buddhism is widely practiced in Vietnam, the birthday of Buddha is celebrated by devotees from all over the country. On the day of the festival, numerous devotees and ordinary people offer traditional Vietnamese dishes, fresh flowers, and fruits to Buddha. All the Buddhist temples are decorated lavishly and the Buddha statues are surrounded by colorful lanterns. Ritual parades are displayed through the streets in big cities. You can also listen to Buddhist scriptures and watch religious rite performances.

8. Ghost Festival (Wandering Souls Day)

Time: 15th day of the 7th lunar month

Recommended Place to Celebrate: Hue City

The Ghost Festival falling on the 7th lunar month is important to Vietnamese locals as they believe that on this day the ghosts of ancestors return from the nether world to visit their children and families. Generally, people will offer flowers, fruits, and prayers to the departed on the night before Wandering Souls Day. Paper clothes and paper money are also burned at the graves for spirits, which are said to can be used in the afterlife. Moreover, lots of fire will be set to burn votive paper for the lost ghosts who have no families. Temples and pagodas become busier as many people worship on the day and solemn prayer rituals will be performed to honor the dead.

9. Mid-Autumn Festival

Time: 15th day of the 8th lunar month

Recommended Place to Celebrate: Hoi An Ancient Town

The bustling atmosphere and delicious moon cakes make Mid-Autumn Festival become the day that children are longing for. In the Vietnamese language, this festival is also called Tet Trung Thu or Children’s Festival. Different from the Chinese Mid Autumn festival, the Vietnamese edition has its own features, traditions and legends. It boasts spectacular lion dances on streets and lantern processions. Hoi An Ancient Town must be the best place to celebrate the festival as the boats and  colorful lanterns float down the Thu Bon River, offering the most gorgeous night views.

Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam
Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam

10. Hoi An Lantern Festival

Time: 14th day of every lunar month

Recommended Place to Celebrate: Hoi An Ancient Town

If you want to visit Hoi An, remember to choose the 14th day of every lunar month to celebrate the unmissable Vietnam festival. Combining a blend of tradition and creativity, the monthly festival endows Hoi An Ancient Town with unique charm and displays the most vibrant nightlife in Vietnam. You will be amazed at the myriad hues of light and beautiful paper lanterns of various shapes, sizes, and colors. The entire city is lightened up and even the Thu Bon River is included. The soft amber hue of lanterns turns the place into a magical world. On the day, monks in temples and local people also hold candlelit ceremonies. It is free for visitors to enter temples during the time.

Hoi An Lanterns
Hoi An Lantern Festival

Vietnam Festivals Calendar for 2022, 2023, and 2024

Festivals

2022

2023

2024

Tet Nguyen Dan

 

1st February

22nd January

10th February

Lim Festival

 

13th February

3rd February

22nd February

Perfume Pagoda Festival

 

15th February

5th February

24th February

Phu Giay Festival

 

1rd – 10th April

20th – 29th April

9th -18th April

Hung King Temple Festival

 

8th – 11th April

27th – 30th April

16th – 19th April

Hue Festival

 

25th – 30th June

TBA

TBA

Buddha’s Birthday

 

8th May

26th May

15th May

Ghost Festival

 

12th August

30th August

18th August

Mid Autumn Festival

 

10th September

29th September

17th September

Hoi An Lantern Festival

 

14th of every lunar month

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