Top 10 Most Popular Festivals and Holidays in Vietnam

Festivals in Vietnam offer visitors the best opportunity for discovering interesting facts and events of rich culture. Here is our list of top 10 popular festivals and holidays in our country for tourists from all over the world to join throughout the year.
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Vietnam’s festivals and holidays are colorful experiences, often showcasing national heritage, music and dance performances, and high-energy activities such as dragon boat races and street parades. Take part in the fun and learn about the legends that have shaped Vietnam by joining one of these celebrations during your trip. Here are the top 10 festivals to add to your Vietnam itinerary.

Top 10 Most Popular Festivals and Holidays in Vietnam
Photo: Viet Vision Travel

List of top 10 most popular Vietnam’s festivals

1. Tet Nguyen Dan (Lunar New Year)

2. Hue Festival

3. Perfume Festival

4. Mid-Autumn Festival

5. Hung King Temple Festival

6. Lim Festival

7. Wandering Souls Day

8. Hoi An Lantern Festival

9. Buddha’s Birthday

10. Phu Giay Festival

1. Tet Nguyen Dan (Lunar New Year)

Photo: DOL English
Photo: DOL English

Tet holiday – Vietnamese Lunar New Year or simply Tet Vietnam is the most significant festival in the S-shaped country. As a result of being calculated by the lunar calendar, the Tet festival often occurs at the end of January or the beginning of February, which is later than New Year’s Day. As the longest Vietnam holiday, Tet Vietnam is the most wonderful occasion for all foreign tourists to spend their Vietnam vacation packages enjoying the festive atmosphere and exploring one of the oldest festivals in the world. Tet festival 2022 is on February 1st, 2022 (New Year Eve is the previous day).

Tet Vietnam is celebrated to welcome the Lunar New Year and summarize what they did in the old one. It is considered an important mark for changes, plans, and progress. In addition, Vietnamese people believe that what they do on the first day of the new year will affect their rest. Therefore, they pay great attention to every word they say and everything they do. Furthermore, Tet in Vietnam may be the only occasion for all family members to have happy moments together after a year of hard-working.

2. Hue Festival

Photo: Vietnam Travel Guide
Photo: Vietnam Travel Guide

Hue Festival is a biannual celebration that takes place in UNESCO-listed Hue City, where you can enjoy an array of cultural events, games, and performances held over a week. Founded in 2000, the festival was held to preserve traditional customs that were practised during the Nguyen Dynasty. If you’re visiting Hue in April, May or June, expect unique showcases such as the Hue Poetry Festival, Dialogue of Drums and Percussions, and Ao Dai Fashion Shows, sporting activities like kite flying, boat racing, and human chess, as well as street performances, film screenings and art exhibitions.

Street performances, film screenings, and art exhibitions are held throughout the festival week as well. Offering visitors a look into the city’s rich culture and heritage, Hue Festival is one of the most popular festivals in Vietnam.

3. Perfume Festival

Photo: Vietnam Travel Guide
Photo: Vietnam Travel Guide

Perfume Festival draws throngs of local pilgrims from all over Vietnam to Hanoi’s iconic Perfume Pagoda, where they to pray for a prosperous year and pay their respects to Buddha. The pilgrimage starts with a dragon dance at Den Trinh Pagoda on the 15th day of the 1st Lunar, where pilgrims (and even travellers) travel by boat along the Yen River to the base of Huong Mountain, passing by limestone caves and rice fields. The journey continues on foot by climbing hundreds of stone steps towards Huong Tich Cave, offering a colourful display of food offerings, statues of deities, lit incenses, and praying locals.

Perfume Festival takes place at the Perfume Pagoda in Hanoi, from the 15th day of the 1st lunar month.

4. Mid-Autumn Festival

Photo: i Tour Vietnam
Photo: i Tour Vietnam

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.

Mid-Autumn Festival is best enjoyed in Hoi An, where you’ll get to see plenty of street performances, lantern processions and arts exhibitions throughout UNESCO-listed Ancient Town. Children also get to participate in essays, drawing and colouring contests during Mid-Autumn Festival, while visitors can enjoy breathtaking sights of colourful paper lanterns lining the Thu Bon Riverside and Japanese Covered Bridge.

5. Hung King Temple Festival

Photo: Vietnam Group Tour
Photo: Vietnam Group Tour

Every year, a large number of visitors from all over the country participate in a national festival – Hung King Temple Festival – an incense offering ceremony in honor of Hung Kings, who were instrumental in the founding of the nation.

The Hung King Temple Festival is held annually from the 8th to the 11th day of the third lunar month. The main festival day is on the 10th day of the third lunar March, on which the National Assembly has approved Vietnamese working people to annually have one more national holiday to mark the anniversary of the Hung King’s death.

Every year, on this traditional occasion, Vietnamese people worldwide join their brothers and sisters in spirit to observe Vietnam National Day in commemoration of their ancestors. The main ceremony takes place at the Hung Temple on Nghia Linh Mountain in Phong Chau District, Phu Tho Province, some 85km northwest of Hanoi.

6. Lim Festival

Photo: Vietnam Discovery Travel
Photo: Vietnam Discovery Travel

Lim Festival is where you can enjoy UNESCO-listed quan ho folk singing performances and a wide range of traditional games during your visit. Held on the 12th and 13th day of the first lunar month, several stages are built within the village where you get to see locals performing in traditional costumes. We highly recommend heading over to the lake outside the Lim Communal House to catch quan ho singing performance on a dragon boat. Lim Festival also hosts folk games such as danh du (bamboo swings), cockfighting, tug-of-war, wrestling, human chess, and blind man’s bluff.

Lim Festival is celebrated in Lim Village, which is located within the Tien Du District, Bac Ninh Province. Located 18km from Hanoi, You can easily make your way to this traditional village by bus or rental car.

7. Wandering Souls Day

Photo: Offroad Vietnam
Photo: Offroad Vietnam

Trung Nguyen or Vu Lan or Wandering Souls’ Day is the second largest festival of the year (Tet is first). Though it falls on the 15th day of the seventh month, its celebration may be held at any convenient time during the latter half of the month. The festival is celebrated throughout the country, in Buddhist Pagodas, homes, businesses, factories, government offices, and Armed Forces units. It is not just a Buddhist holiday. In general, it’s celebrated by all Vietnamese who believed in the existence of God, good and also evil.

Many Vietnamese believe that every person has two souls; one is spiritual (Hon), and the other is material (Via). When a person dies, his soul is taken to a tribunal in hell and judged by ten justices. When the judgment is rendered, the soul is sent to heaven or hell, as a reward or punishment for the person’s conduct on earth.

They believe those sinful souls can be absolved of their punishment and delivered from hell through prayers said by the living on the first and 15 of every month. Wandering Souls’ Day, however, is believed to be the best time for priests and relatives to secure general amnesty for all the souls. On this day, the gates of hell are said to be opened at sunset and the souls there fly out, unclothed and hungry. Those who have relatives fly back to their homes and villages and find plenty of food on their family altars.

8. Hoi An Lantern Festival

Photo: Viet Vision Travel
Photo: Viet Vision Travel

Hoi An Lantern Festival is a monthly event that transforms the quaint UNESCO World Heritage Site into a spectacular display of paper lanterns. On the 14th day of each lunar month, every shop, restaurant, bar and businesses in the Ancient Town switches off all electricity and relies on hundreds of candles and lanterns. Meanwhile, entrance to all temples is free of charge, where you can see monks and locals holding candlelit ceremonies.

Hoi An Lantern Festival takes place in UNESCO-listed Hoi An, but the best place to celebrate is along the Ancient Town area. Held until late, the streets are also filled with musicians playing traditional instruments, Chinese chess, poetry readings, and lantern-making classes.

9. Buddha’s Birthday

Photo: VnExpress
Photo: VnExpress

This festival commemorates Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death. The holiday is also known as Phật Đản in Vietnamese.

Buddha’s Birthday is celebrated to acknowledge the birth of Prince Siddhartha Guatama. He is worshipped as the founder of Buddhism, one of the largest religions in the world. The exact date of Buddha’s birthday is based on Asian lunisolar calendars and the year he was born into the royal family of the Sakya people is unclear with estimates ranging from 563 to 480 BC in Nepal. More significant is that at his birth, it was predicted that he would one day become an enlightened teacher.

Buddha’s birthday is celebrated on the 15th day of the 4th lunar month. Typically this falls in April or May in the Gregorian calendar. In 2020, Buddha’s birthday was on April 30th.

10. Phu Giay Festival

Photo: Nam Dinh Vietnam Traditional Festivals
Photo: Nam Dinh Vietnam Traditional Festivals

Phu Giay Festival draws in worshippers of the goddess Lieu Hanh to Phu Giay Pagoda, where they pray for good fortune whilst carrying decorated bamboo relics and wearing traditional costumes. Located 88km east of Hanoi, the temple also hosts various games such as capture-the-flag, human chess, lion dancing, and wrestling, resulting in a vibrant atmosphere throughout the day. Visitors can also enjoy folk dance and classical songs such as trong quan, cheo (satirical musical theatre) and ca tru (chamber music).

Phu Giay Festival is only celebrated by villages within the Kim Thai Commune, with the best place to celebrate being the Phu Giay Temple.

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