Top 10 attractive traditional festivals that tourists should experience

by Lam Pham

Vietnam possesses a distinctive culture that has evolved over thousands of years. This rich heritage manifests itself through various extraordinary Vietnam festivals, which serve as vivid demonstrations of the beliefs and traditions cherished by Vietnamese people.

To ensure an unforgettable journey in Vietnam, one of the best things you should do is attend some of Vietnam’s fascinating festivals. Participating in these festivals not only helps you witness and immerse yourself in the country’s vibrant culture but also brings many unforgettable memories.
Below Karst Plateau will introduce you to 10 traditional Vietnamese festivals to make your vacation an extraordinary adventure!

1. Tet Nguyen Dan

People often visit pagodas and temples during the Lunar New Year, one of the most significant Vietnam festivals

Tet Nguyen Dan is considered the most important festival and holiday in Vietnam. All schools, companies, and factories are temporarily closed. It is the occasion for family unions and gatherings when people return to their families. To prepare for this special day, most Vietnamese people prepare by cleaning and decorating their houses as well as cooking delicious foods. There are a lot of special Vietnamese customs during this time that you could learn. For example, the importance of the first person visiting the house on the new year, wishing greetings of New Year, ancestral worship, and giving lucky money to elderly people and children(aka “Li Xi” in the Vietnamese language). During Tet, Vietnamese people will visit their relatives, and go to pagodas and temples to pray for a better upcoming year.

  • Time: From the 1st to 3rd day of the first lunar month, which is usually either late January or early February

2. Hung King Temple Vietnam Festival

This is one of the most popular festivals in Vietnam

Hung King Temple festival is a national event that is held in Phu Tho. As its name suggests, it takes place annually to commemorate the Hung Kings – the founder of the nation. During the festival, people from all over the country and those living abroad head to the main temple on Nghia Linh, Phu Tho to take part in this meaningful festival. The atmosphere of the festival is always bustling with many different folk games including human chess, bamboo swings, rice cooking competitions, “Nem Con”, wrestling, lion dance, etc. The highlight of the festival is the procession up to Den Thuong (Upper Temple) with the participation of governmental leaders, villagers, and many visitors.

  • Time: The 10th day of the third lunar month

3. Mid-Autumn Festival

Don’t forget to capture some photos of colorful lanterns during the Mid Autumn Festival Vietnam

The Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam is a captivating event filled with cultural festivities. This occasion serves as an opportunity for family members to come together, cherishing the warmth of a heartfelt reunion. Families diligently assemble a tray of offerings, which includes mooncakes, fruits, food, and joss paper.

During this Vietnam festival, as the moon brightly shines, the streets come alive with the luminosity of vibrant paper lanterns. The air resonates with the laughter of children, accompanied by the lively Lion Dances and the rhythmic beats of drums, creating an immensely gratifying evening.

  • Time: On the 15th day of the eighth lunar month

4. Lim Festival

Lim Festival is one of the most interesting traditional festivals in Vietnam

It is a Quan Ho singing event and was designated an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2009. Lim Festival is a distinctive artistic and cultural activity of the ancient northern civilization. Love duet, which contains characteristics of northern lyrical folk music, has become a staple of Vietnamese culture. On the day of the event, hundreds of residents march together for more than a kilometer beginning at 8 am while wearing vibrant traditional costumes. In Noi Due, elders and local leaders would go to the Hong Van Mausoleum to participate in a religious rite. To honor the local deities, men and female singers would line up in front of the tomb’s gate and sing.

  • Time: On the 13th day of the first lunar month

5. Vietnam Independence Day

Vietnam Independence Day

Every year on 2nd September, Vietnam celebrates the euphoric day of its independence in a grand way. On this day the president of Vietnam read the Declaration of Independence of Vietnam and this day is an eminent historical event for the people of the country. This festival is the National Day of the country and a public holiday. Parades are organized and people celebrate them with great zeal and zest.

  • Time: September 2

6. Giong Festival

This is one of the most popular festivals in Vietnam

In springtime annually, local people are excited to attend the Giong Festival. The festival is mainly held in Phu Dong Temple, Soc Son, to commemorate Saint Giong, one of the 4 Vietnamese immortals. It is so meaningful and notable that it was recognized as an intangible cultural heritage of mankind by UNESCO. During the festival, visitors can witness ceremonies including processions, cleaning the statue of Saint Giong, and incense offerings. The stories will let you know information about Saint Giong and the reason why he became one of the 4 immortals in Vietnam.

Besides, you also have a chance to immerse yourself in interesting folk games and enjoy traditional singing. For local people, it is an occasion not only to commemorate the Saint but also to pray for abundant harvest and happy lives. Giong Festival could be held in different places but Soc Temple and Phu Dong Temple are the 2 most well-known ones. Don’t forget to attend this interesting festival in Vietnam.

  • Time: From the 6th to the 8th day of the first lunar month

7: Perfume Pagoda Festival

The spring festival season in Vietnam starts with the Lunar New Year and Perfume Pagoda Festival

Perfume Pagoda festival draws visitors from all over Vietnam to the iconic Perfume Pagoda. As one of the most popular festivals in Hanoi, there are plenty of tour companies that operate day trips to the pagoda during this festival. On the way to Perfume Pagoda, you will pass by many beautiful mountainous landscapes, rice fields, and limestone caves. After that, you can choose to climb 120-step stone stairways or take a cable car to the pagoda. During the 3 months, the temple is always decorated with beautiful garlands, candles, and gold. One of the most important activities in the festival is praying in the Huong Tich Cave. It is believed that if you pray here to get a son or daughter by touching the mountain, your wish will come true. And, if you touch the silver or gold trees in the cave, you can pray for wealth and prosperity.

  • Time: 6th of lunar January until March

8: Hoi An Lantern Festival

Hoi An Lantern Festival

If you want to witness a spectacular display, you should not miss the Hoi An Lantern Festival. It is a lantern festival in Vietnam 2022 that takes place every month, transforming the quaint UNESCO World Heritage Site into an awe-inspiring display of paper lanterns of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Every restaurant, bar, shop, and business in the Ancient Town stops using electricity and lights up their venues with hundreds of lanterns as well as candles. While this festival takes place in Hoi An, the Ancient Town area is the best place to celebrate. This too is considered to be a famous festival in Vietnam and also known as the light festival in Vietnam.

  • Time: 10th October 2022

9: Elephant Racing Festival

Elephant Racing Festival

The Elephant Racing Festival is one of the activities of traditional cultural festivals of ethnic groups in the Buon Don district, Dak Lak province. It is held every two years in March. This is also the season when wild bees collect honey and is also the time to start beekeeping. Buon Don opens the elephant racing festival along with other festivals such as the water praying ceremony, elephant health ceremony, buffalo eating ceremony to celebrate the season (buffalo stabbing ceremony), new rice offering ceremony (season celebrate), gong cultural festivals, gong, etc, to pray for a new bountiful harvest, bringing warmth to the village. The festival aims to honor the martial spirit and elephant-taming skills of the Central Highlands peoples. At the same time, it is an opportunity to thank the gods and pray for a bountiful harvest and prosperity for the villagers.

10: Khau Vai Love Market Festival

Don’t forget to attend Khau Vai Love Market Festival when traveling to Ha Giang

Khau Vai Love Market Festival in Ha Giang Province is an interesting event that showcases the beauty of Vietnam’s ethnic minority groups. This Vietnam festival serves as a gathering for couples who were unable to marry but still hold affection for one another. It also offers an opportunity for unmarried individuals to find potential partners.

Partaking in this event, you can immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, delightful melodies, and engaging traditional games of the ethnic people. Don’t miss out on the chance to witness the beauty of love and traditions in the stunning mountains of Ha Giang.

  • Time: The 26th and 27th day of the third lunar month

Vietnam festivals offer a mesmerizing glimpse into the country’s vibrant cultural heritage. From the enchanting Mid Autumn Festival with lively parades and lantern-lit streets to the cherished traditions of the Tet Holiday, these celebrations showcase the deep-rooted values of family, unity, and gratitude. With the information shared by Karst Plateau, we hope to contribute to making your trip to explore Vietnam more interesting and memorable.


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