Cultural Odyssey: 8 Enchanting and Vibrant Festivals in Vietnam

By Saniya Baxi | 18, Sep, 2023
Cultural Odyssey: 8 Enchanting and Vibrant Festivals in Vietnam

Vietnam is not only about the breathtaking landscapes and remarkable history but also the colorful and vibrant festivals that happen all across the country. 

This range of festivals will give you a glimpse into the rich culture of Vietnam and what it has to offer!

Each one of Vietnam’s festivals is an unforgettable experience, and you will get to enjoy different activities, parades, and even amazing halal food. So, make sure to plan your trip during one of these festivals to get the most out of it! 

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Independence Day 

One of Vietnam’s most important festivals is its independence day on 2nd September. The country celebrates its independence from France in Hanoi’s Ba Dinh Square. It’s the National Day of Vietnam and a public holiday throughout the country. 

During this day, they organize parades in the big cities, light fireworks at night, and decorate the streets with flags. This historic day holds a lot of importance for the locals, and they celebrate it with a lot of heart. 


Hue Festivalhue festival

Image Credit: Lưu Ly, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Hue Festival is a major music festival in Vietnam that takes place every 2 years. It’s held in Hue City, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

The locals hold amazing traditional performances around the city and at the Citadel. These performances used to be practiced by the Nguyen Dynasty, which was the last Vietnamese dynasty.

They enjoy various activities, such as kite flying, boat racing, human chess, poetry festival, drums, fashion shows, etc. Moreover, they have puppetry, acrobatics, films, and street performances for locals and visitors to watch. 


Perfume Pagoda Festival

Perfume Pagoda is the most popular pilgrimage spot in Vietnam. Each year, thousands of people come to the sacred caves to pray for good fortune and prosperity in the coming year. This is why it is one of the most important festivals in Vietnam. 

To reach their destination, pilgrims pass through historical shrines, rice paddies, and limestone mountains by boat. It’s such a scenic journey that they never forget about from year to year. 


Lunar New Yearlunar new year

Image Credit: HyggeLab Concept on Unsplash

Lunar New Year, also called Tet Nguyen Dan, is the most important and largest festival in Vietnam. It takes place every year in January or February to thank the gods for the coming spring. 

Family members gather to celebrate and the locals pay respect to their lost ones. In the morning, you can see the locals praying for their ancestors at temples and lighting incense. 

Moreover, they throw super fun parties and light fireworks at night. You can also enjoy the mesmerizing outdoor flower displays. 

During this festival, big cities, such as Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi are less crowded than usual. This is because the locals travel to celebrate with their families in their original hometowns. 


Xen Xo Festival 

Xen Xo Festival takes place every year to pray to the gods for rain. It belongs to the White Thai people, who are a minority group in the region. The celebrations happen in the stunning valley of Mai Chau, and it involves many offerings and a variety of songs. 

In fact, the locals believe that the bigger the festival, the heavier the rain will be. This in return will bless them with more harvest. So, they pour their heart and soul into these celebrations! 


Hung Kings Temple Festivalhung kings temple fest

Image Credit: Hoangvantoanajc, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hung Kings Temple Festival is another yearly festival that takes place to celebrate the legendary King Vuong, the first king of Vietnam. It happens in the 3rd lunar month from the 8th to the 11th day, and it’s a national holiday. 

You should visit any Hung Kings temple because the festival is celebrated there.

On the eve of the festival, you will witness the locals flying hundreds of lanterns into the sky, which is such a magical and unforgettable sight (Tangled, much?). Also, you will see the pilgrims climbing up the mountain on the main day of the festival!


Buddha’s Birthday

Buddha's birthday is another important festival celebrated all across Vietnam. Hoi An, which is considered the best place to enjoy this festival, welcomes thousands of visitors on the 8th of May every year. Buddhists come from everywhere to take part in prayers and street parades. 

The locals bring their offerings, which are usually fruits, flowers, or delicious Vietnamese dishes. They also decorate the temples with stunning decorations. 

Phap Bao Pagoda hosts the main event, with a procession of monks leading the way through the streets of Hoi An


Eid al-Fitr eid al fitr

Image Credit: Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

Eid al-Fitr is a Muslim holiday to celebrate the end of Ramadan, which is an entire month of fasting. Muslims start their day early with Eid Prayer and then visit their family and friends. 

It’s a tradition to give Eidi (money) or toys to the kids of the family to make them happy. They also make sweet desserts on that day. Moreover, they participate in charitable activities like giving out money and food to the poor. 

Muslims in Vietnam are a minority, so Eid is not a major festival throughout the country. However, they celebrate it passionately among themselves at their homes and in the few mosques around Vietnam.


Final Thoughts 

Vietnam is a country of many festivals and each one is unique in its own way. 

From the hundreds of lanterns to the decorated temples, rest assured that you’ll have a wonderful experience!

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