Discover the culture ethnic festivals in Vietnam in February

Nga Do
Several Lunar New Year festivals and events held around Vietnam this February you should not miss!
In Vietnam tradition, there are wide range of colorful festivals and events after Tet holiday, first month of Lunar Year, with the aim of as simple as entertaining the community or as meaningful as expressing respect to country's builders and heroes as well as wish good things for new year. The festival and events listed below belong to specific regions. There are two main types of activities conducted in Vietnam's festivals: ceremonial rites and entertainting activities.

The Husband Catching Festival, Lam Dong Province

Currently, The K'ho in Lam Dong is one of the tribes that have still strongly reserved matriarchy. With the K'ho, Cil, Kotu's "husband catching" custom from 1st January until end of March (Lunar Year calendar), a girl has the right "to catch a husband" when growing up and deciding her future. The festival celebrate at the night. When liking somebody, she will tell her parents to ask the matchmakers, along with her uncle (or eldest sister) brought the offering gifts to see the prospective groom. If the groom’s side agrees, the engagement party will be decided.

The Spring Festival in Ba Den Mountain, Tay Ninh province

The Spring Festival of Ba Den Mountain is an annual event which is organized during the first month of a lunar year. Even so, the main ceremonies are carried out on the 18th night and the 19th day of that month. This is a traditional festival of the communities residing in and near the Nui Ba complex. On the days of the festival, the monks of highest ranks in Ba Den Temple carry out the Moc Duc Ceremony at midnight, when the amount of light in the main hall is lowest. As Moc Duc means “To bathe the Godess”, the monks use incense-imbued towels to wash the statue of the Black Virgin. 

The water used in this ceremony is made from lotus, jasmine, cinnamon, etc. The washing procedure is then carried out by young girls. Dressing in the most beautiful costumes like those of a princess, they dance in pair and slowly walk into the hall while the ceremony music is being played in the background. After that, they carefully wash and change the costume of the statue. When everything is done, the monks worship the Goddess, asking for her protection and care before announcing the official beginning of the festival

Huong (Perfume) Pagoda Festival, My Duc, Hanoi

The Huong (Perfume) Pagoda Festival officially opened on February 5 in My Duc district, Ha Noi. Going to Huong Pagoda is aspiritual journey into Buddhist Land – where the Goddess of Mercy leads a religious life.

Sightseeing trips to pagodas, temples and caves are the main attractions at the Huong pagoda festival, in addition to, ceremonies to ask favours from Lord Buddha.

Long Tong (Lồng Tông) festival, Tuyen Quang province.

Long Tong festival is annually held in Vinh Loc (Vĩnh Lộc) town, Chiem Hoa (Chiêm Hóa) district, Tuyen Quang province on the 8th lunar January. This is really a festival of charming cultural traits of Tay (Tày) ethnic group. Traditionally, Long Tong festival has a bamboo three-layer shelf made and located in the middle of a large field. One this shelf, there lay all offerings to Gods like: Thần Nông (God of Agriculture), Thổ Địa (God of Soil) praying for good weather, productive crops, peaceful life, good health, etc.

On this day, at dawn, the shelf with offerings on is processed to the place where the ritual will take place. Leading the procession are 7 mighty men with branches in hands going while swinging their arms with branches. This action is believed to drive away miasmata and risks. Followed is the group of lion dances and next priest (the magician-in-chieft of the ritual). Followed are 9 trays of offerings carried on 9 girls' heads. The offering includes boiled chickens, cakes, rice seeds, corn seeds, peanut seeds, soya seeds, fruits, and white alcohol. These trays are laid on the Tồng shelf. The top layer is called "thượng án" - the place to lay the primary tray of offerings, the second layer is called "Trung án", and the last layer is called "Hạ án", each layer is laid with four trays facing the East where Bach Than (Bách Thần) mountain stands imposingly.

Horse Race Go Thi Thung Festival, Phu Yen Province

Go (mound) Thi Thung traditional horse race is a unique festival, which is held annually in An Xuan commune, Tuy An district, Phu Yen province, on the ninth day of the first lunar month and attracts thousands of people from across the country. The traditional approach of riding without a saddle makes the race more interesting with spectacular performances. Essentially, the man who has the fastest horse is the winner.

Yen Tu Festival, Quang Ninh Province

A popular saying goes: "Even after 100 years of virtuous religious life, if you don't come to Yen Tu you cannot be called a true religious person". Pilgrimage to Yen Tu Festival in respect of Buddha and sightseeing is so meaningful...Yen Tu Festival commences annually on the 10th day of the first lunar month and lasts for three months. Tens of thousands of pilgrims begin their journey to the uppermost shrine after a solemn ritual held at the base of Yen Tu Mountain.

During the festival, the people near and far flock to Yen Tu which was regarded as the Buddhist land to show their belief and aspiration or to get rid of all sorrows and sadness. Other go to Yen Tu to do sightseeing and to enjoy the pure atmosphere of a mountain region. Foreign visitors come to Yen Tu to witness a famous beauty spot, a mysterious tourist attraction. Many cultural and historical values are carefully preserved in Yen Tu, where is also home to a rare ecosystem in Vietnam.

Thai Duong Ha Fish Praying Festival (Cau Ngu Festival), Thua Thien - Hue

This is the festival of Phong Dien District’s people, organized on the 12th of the first month in Lunar calendar to commemorate the village Tutelary Genie Truong Quy Cong, who taught the villagers how o fish anf trade junks. The festival is sumptuously organized every three years with a lot of performances representing sea-fishing activities, one of which is the profoundly religious “Net-casting” performance

Tran Temple Festival, Nam Dinh Province

Tran Temple Festival in the northern province of Nam Dinh has attracted thousands of people since February 4, the 13th day of first lunar month of the New Year.

The five-day festival features solemn rituals and traditional cultural activities, along with sporting contests and activities such as a Chung cake wrapping contest, kite flying contest, cock fighting, martial art performances, wrestling, unicorn dance, sword dance, cheo and van singing, and much more. Local residents and pilgrims from other regions flock to the festival each year to receive food parcels, considered a good luck charm during Lunar New Year.

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