The famous traditional festivals in Vietnam are a unique culture in the daily life of the Vietnamese community, which often takes place in the springs and some happen in the falls when is time with the most beautiful weather in a year. They attract the attendance of thousands home and outside people.
Festivals play an increasingly important role in our spiritual life. Let’s have a look at some major and typical festivals in the year below.
1. The Hung Kings’ Festival
Festival time: is started from 9 to 13 March, the main festival day is 10 March of the lunar calendar.
The Hung Kings’ Festival (Death Anniversary of the Hung Kings) – a great festival of national stature in Vietnam, is held largely in the Nghia Linh Mountain on the odd years in order to commemorate and honor merits of Hung Kings who are the first Kings of the nation.
There is the Banh Chung – Banh Giay procession ceremony at the Hung Temple (Hy Cuong, Phong Chau, Phu Tho). Actually, before the main day, this festival takes place some customs such as playing kettledrum (đâm đuống) of Muong ethnic group, going on a pilgrimage to commemorate the Hung Kings. And it is finished on 10 March of the lunar calendar with 2 parts: the ritual palanquin procession and incensing on the Upper Temple (Den Thuong).
Besides, there are many special folk games including the Hat Xoan (Hat Gheo) signing competitions (folk song of Phu Tho Province), wrestling, tug of war, and swimming competitions,…
2. The Huong Pagoda Festival
Festival time: After the Lunar New Year, from 6 January to March of Lunar Calendar every year.
This is one of the 3 largest festivals with all Buddhists taking place every year in the North of Vietnam, My Duc District, Hanoi. In the Huong Son landscape, this is considered as the land of Buddha’s journey where Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva appeared to lead a religious life.
This festival is really famous in the North as indicated in the overloaded number of Buddhists, home and outside tourists in the pilgrimage.
When joining the Huong Pagoda Festival, tourists are not only prayed for peace of their new year but also sat on the boats to enjoy the peaceful mountain, river here.
3. The Yen Tu Festival
Festival time: takes place from January to the end of March of the Lunar Calendar.
The Yen Tu Festival is held at the Yen Tu Monument and Landscape (Thuong Yen Cong Commune, Uong Bi District, Quang Binh Province).
Each spring, tourists all over the country even the foreign tourists come to Yen Tu in order to devotionally worship the To Thien Truc Lam Place, visit the historical monument – the well-known landscape of the Northeast.
The traditional Spring Festival is celebrated with many activities such as Incense offering to worship Buddha, worshipping To Truc Lam, performances for the reproduction of the historical, cultural, and spiritual myths about honored Tam To Thien phai Truc Lam (Tam Tổ Thiền phái Trúc Lâm), the opening ceremony of “Dau Thieng Chua Dong” (Dấu Thiêng Chùa Đồng) in the beginning time of the year (very important) as well as other folklore activities such as dragon and unicorn dance, traditional martial arts, folk games… All are jubilant and lively.
The Yen Tu Festival attracts a large number of classes of people, foreign tourists as well as a lot of home and outside Buddhists. Besides, Yen Tu owns the spectacular, mysterious and sacred scenery, the pretty waterfall, stream and vast bamboo forest. The rich vegetation creates a picturesque beauty.
4. The Lim Festival
Festival time: on 13th January of the Lunar Calendar every year.
The Lim Festival is held in the Tien Du District, Bac Ninh Province. It is considered as the unique feature of the cultural region with the rich activities. There are almost enough artistic, cultural and spiritual activities from other festivals in this Bac Ninh land. This is also a good opportunity for girls’ and boys’ interaction, dual love Songs (hat giao duyen) – they can express their very own voice and love duet.
Lim Festival starts by a ritual procession with a large number of people wearing the old colorful costumes (they are extremely sophisticated and beautiful with a kilometer in length). Besides, in this festival, there are several folk games such as fighting, wrestling, playing chess, cooking and so on…
5. Dong Da Festival
Festival time: on the 5th of the Lunar New Year every year.
This festival is held in order to celebrate the Ngoc Hoi – Dong Da victory at Dong Da, Quang Trung Ward, Dong Da District, Hanoi. The Ngoc Hoi – Dong Da victory is a resounding victory of the national hero Quang Trung – Nguyen Hue who are the leader of the Tay Son Insurgent and defeated the Thanh Army in the early Ky Dau spring – 1789.
This festival has a lot of fun and healthy games for showing chivalry especially the ritual procession of fire dragon has become the traditional festival of Hanoians. After the ritual procession of the fire dragon, you will be joined the incense ceremony. The sacrifice ceremony is taken place at the Khuong Thuong village communal house while the requiem happens at the Dong Quang Pagoda.
6. The Bai Dinh Festival in Ninh Binh
Festival time: takes place from the afternoon of 1st of the Lunar New Year opening on the 6th of the Lunar New Year and lasting until the end of March of the lunar calendar.
The ceremony part includes the rite of worshipping Buddha, the tribute to the Nguyen Minh Khong, the sacrifice for Cao Son. The Bai Dinh Festival is started by the ritual procession to carry the ancestral tablet of Than Cao Son, Duc Thanh Nguyen and Ba Chua Thuong Ngan from the old pagoda to the new one.
The festival part includes some folk games, visiting caves, seeing pagodas, enjoying Hat Cheo (Vietnamese popular opera), visiting the citadel land. Cheo Theatre Opera Folksong of Ninh Binh will undertake the stage for reproduction of social rules above ritual of sacrifice Dinh Tien Hoang as well as King Quang Trung’s flag on the mountain before the battle.
7. The Thap Ba Ponagar Festival
Festival time: happens from 20 to 23 March of the lunar calendar every year.
This is a famous traditional festival of the Cham Ethnic Group in Khanh Hoa, Vietnam – the largest folk festival to commemorate Yang Po Inu Nưgar goddess and bring the good things, happiness for everyone.
Apart from the traditional ceremony, this also has rich cultural activities in the festival part such as traditional Cham dance performances, Cham songs, photo galleries related to the Cham Kingdom, Cham brocade weaving performances and traditional pottery of the Cham Ethnic Group.
8. Tran Temple Festival in Nam Dinh
Festival time: from 15 to 20 August of the lunar calendar every year.
The Tran Temple Festival in Nam Dinh is a well-known traditional festival throughout the country which is solemnly celebrated with the ritual procession from communal houses and temple around for incense and sacrifice in the Thuong Temple worshipping 14 Tran King. The festival part has many forms of rich and unique cultural activities such as cockfights, wrestling, lion dances, playing card games, elegiac song and so on…
9. The Hoa Ban (Orchid Tree) Festival
Festival time: in February of lunar calendar every year.
This is a well-known festival of Thai ethnic group in Tay Bac. Other names are Xen Bang or Xen Muong (Xên Bản hay Xên Mường) which is held when the western mountains and forests are covered by a very beautiful color of Orchid Tree.
This is also the festival of love, happy families as well as the festival day of prosperous and comfortable seasons especially singing dual love songs (Hat Giao Duyen) together under the moonlight.
10. Giong Festival
Festival time: Starts on 6th January of Lunar Calendar.
Giong Festival is held in the Phu Linh Commune, Soc Son District (Hanoi) lasting 3 days with the traditional ceremonies such as the opening ceremony, the ritual procession, the ceremony of incense, bring bamboo flower up to the Thuong Temple where worships Thanh Giong. According to the ancient legend, this is the last place of Thanh Giong before flying to heaven.