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Tet 2017


The Most Important Festivals in Vietnam

Vietnam is definitely a country of festivals. Vietnam’s festivals follow the Chinese lunar calendar. Some of these festivals are celebrated nationwide while others are unique to the locals. Below are some of the most popular ones:

1. Lunar new year

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Lunar New Year, locally called Tet, is the biggest festival of the year with the whole country downing tools for family get-togethers. Principally a religious celebration, don’t expect too much of a wild party, but it’s still a fascinating time to visit Vietnam and you’ll certainly find locals lighting fireworks, visiting temples with their families, and the interesting sight of many flower stalls set up as giving flowers is customary during Tet.

2. Mid-Autumn Festival

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Mid-Autumn Festival, held on the 14th and 15th day of the lunar month, features a wide range of activities such as children carrying paper lanterns, lion dances, and food booths selling mooncakes, sticky rice, fruits, and various sweets. Also known as the harvest festival, households set up an altar during the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, on which they display offerings in honour of the full moon.

3. Hung King Temple Festival

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Hung King Temple Festival is held in commemoration of Kinh Duong Vuong, who became Vietnam’s first king in 2879BC. While the main worship event takes place at the Hung Temple, which is perched atop Nghia Linh Mountain in Phu Tho Province, 100 lanterns are released into the sky on the eve of the festival. The next morning, a flower ceremony is held at Den Thuong (Upper Temple), where the Hung Kings used to worship deities during their reign. Lastly, a huge procession starts at the foot of the mountain, consisting of pilgrims, xoan classical song performances, and ca tru classical operas at several temples along the way towards the main Hung Temple.

4. Wandering Souls Day

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The annual Wandering Souls Day takes place on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month, which locals believe is the day when spirits of their ancestors are able to visit their homes. On the eve of the festival, families flock to Buddhist temples and graves of their departed loved ones to offer prayers, flowers, sticky rice cakes, sugarcane, and fruits. Paper money and clothes are also burned during this time of the year.

5. Buddha’s Birthday 

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Temples throughout Vietnam celebrate Buddha’s birthday with colourful street processions on the 15th day of the 4th lunar month each year. Cities are transformed into a feast for the senses, as pagodas are beautifully decorated and flower garlands and illuminated lanterns are floated on waterways.

6. New Year’s Day – January 01st

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However most of the festivals, anniversaries and traditional cultural events of Vietnam are in accordance with its lunar calendar, nowadays, Christian calendar is widely used throughout the country. Annually, joining in the modern breathes of the world, Vietnam also celebrates the International New Year Day on the first day in Western Calendar - January 1st.

7. Reunification Day – April 30th

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In the history of Vietnam, April 30th, 1975 is the day that marks the fall of Saigon government, ending the Vietnam War and leading to the liberation of Vietnam's southern part. Like a major holiday in any city, there will be some changes to the usually day-to-day operation of Ho Chi Minh city. If you’re in town for the holiday, you’ll notice that every house flies a Vietnamese flag; the patriotism extends into the streets, with lights and flags decorating the entire city. An early morning street parade may close some of the city streets, and at the least expect the streets to be full of people on holiday.

8. National Day – September 02nd

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To any country, Independence Day is an important historical, political or cultural event associated with its current status. In most nations, this holiday originally leads to the birth of the country. In Vietnam, National Day is celebrated on 2 September. If the holiday falls on a weekend, the following Monday may be observed as a public holiday. National Day marks Vietnam's declaration of independence from France. To celebrate Vietnam's national day, there are speeches, parades, fireworks, and other festivities across the country, with a large march in Ba Dinh Square in Hanoi, where the declaration of Independence was made.This is a very patriotic holiday with the national flag of Vietnam displayed everywhere and large posters of Ho Chi Minh ('Uncle Ho') adorning city walls..

9. International Labor Day – May 01st

Together with more than 80 countries all over the world, the International Workers' Day, as known as International Labor Day or May Day in Vietnam, is a public holiday of the nation. It is celebrated on the first day of May, right after the Reunification Day; as a result, the two holidays are normally joined together into one break.

10. Merry Christmast Festival

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Although a predominantly Buddhist country, Christmas in Vietnam is still one of the four main annual religious festivals including the Lunar New Year, the mid-autumn festival, Buddha’s birthday. Christmas in Vietnam is a huge event and Christmas Eve, which is regarded as more important than Christmas Day in Vietnam, is a grand party when the fun-loving and sociable Vietnamese, whether being a Christian or not, celebrate with gusto.
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