Almost every village in Vietnam from the delta to the highlands, as well as pagoda and temple, has their annual festival that often takes place in spring, between the second and the fourth lunar month.
The traditional festivals and holidays attract people from everywhere. Apart from cultural ceremonies to commemorate the spirits of national or local heroes, there are also traditional games and celebrations that promote social contact. We are pleased to introduce to you some significant festivals:
The Lim Festival is a special cultural activity in the North. The festival celebrates the "Quan Ho" folk song which has become a part of the national culture and a typical folk song that is well loved in the Red River Delta region.
Quan Ho, also called Quan H? B?c Ninh singing, is an antiphonal singing tradition in which men and women take turns singing in a challenge-and-response fashion drawing on a known repertoire of melodies. Usually a pair of women starts, presenting in unison a complete song called câu ra (challenge phrase) lasting three to eight minutes. A pair of men of the opposing team responds with another song called câu d?i (matching phrase), which must match the melody of the women's song in order to be considered correct. Next it will be the men's turn to challenge the women with a song that can be completely different from the previous pair of songs.
In addition to Quan Ho folk song performances, village festivals also involves many other traditional games and entertainments, contests, fairs and cultural activities, such as human chess, water puppetry, lion dances, swinging, wrestling, cock-fighting and more. It is also a traditional opportunity for young men and women to seek life partners. Young men and women who want to find their partners often come up hill to sing.
Phu Dong festival
The Giong Festival can be regarded as the greatest one, held annually in Phu Dong Village, Gia Lam District, Hanoi. This large festival takes place on the 9th day of the 4th month of the lunar calendar celebrating Saint Giong who defeated the invaders. Legend has it that Giong was born very strangely. His mother saw a huge footstep in the field and tried her foot on. Coming back home, she got pregnant and gave birth to the little boy named Giong. For the first three years, he couldn’t say or smile. When the country was in danger of invasion, he asked the king to forge an iron horse, an armour and a cane for him and turned into a giant. He ate up seven and three broad flat drying baskets of rice and egg-plant. Then he rode the horse and fought against the aggressors. Finally, after got rid off the enemy, he galloped to the Soc Mountain, taking off the armour and flying into the sky.
The 9th is the main day of Giong festival. Festival begin with the procession of flag from Mau (mother) to Thuong (upper) temple. Follow that is the performance of locals in traditional costume in the music drum, gong. The 10th is a day for reviewing troops and inspecting armament, also holding an worship for thanking for the Saint Giong. On the 11th there is a worship for washing festival. On the 12th march in a procession of pitching flag to see there are whether any surviving rebels on the battle.
Perfume Pagoda festival
The Perfume Pagoda or Perfume Temple (Vietnamese: Chùa Hương) is a vast complex of Buddhist temples and shrines built into the limestone Huong Tich mountains. It is the site of a religious festival which draws large numbers of pilgrims from across Vietnam. The centre of the Perfume Temple lies in Huong Son Commune, My Duc District, former Ha Tay Province (now Hanoi). The centre of this complex is the Perfume Temple, also known as Chua Trong (Inner Temple), located in Huong Tich Cave.
The main pilgrimage season at Chua Huong is during the Huong Pagoda festival, when hundreds of thousands of pilgrims make their way to Huong Tich cave and the other temples. The longest lasting festival in Vietnam, it officially begins on February 15 on the lunar calendar, but the peak in visitors lasts from the middle of January to the middle of March. The Festival is seen by some as a good opportunity for young people to find romance and begin courtships.
There are many legends about Chua Huong and its various pagodas. Huong Tich cave is an especially sacred place, the legend has it that Bodhisatva (Quan Am) went South and stayed at Huong Tich Pagoda in order to help save human souls. A stone at Phat Tich temple is said to be her preserved footprint.
Unlike many other festivals, the Huong Pagoda Festival does not centre around traditional games, but rather romantic trips to caves, pagodas and temples and participation in ceremonies to beseech favours from Buddha. Cultural activities and sporting contests are also held on the occasion of Huong Pagoda Festival: boat racing, climbing, folk song singing, etc. These festive activities take place throughout the festival.
National holidays are days when workers get the day off work. Below are national holidays in Vietnam:
Solar New Year's Day: January 1. Period of four days: from the last day of the year before to the third day of the following year.
Lunar New Year: Mid-January or early February, the same dates as in China.
Anniversary of the decease of the Emperor Hung the first: the tenth day of the third lunar month.
Anniversary of the liberation of southern Vietnam: April 30
International Labour Day: May 1
National Day of Socialist Republic of Vietnam: September 2
On those occasions an influx of dosmetic people flow in endless stream to attractions, the cost of accomodation and transport might increase. Make sure to book all your services in advance.