There are countless Vietnam holidays, but they use the lunar calendar so dates vary from year to year in a span of a few months. The Tết festival (Vietnamese New Year) and Tết Trung Thu (Mid-Autumn Festival) are the most popular, but all are a cultural celebration not to miss out. Food is a central focus as all feature special dishes reserved only for major celebrations.
The most important and busiest festival in Vietnam, everyone returns home to be with their family. For visitors, it is a colorful time, as streets are decorated with lanterns and lights. The celebratory meal consists of four dishes, giò (Vietnamese sausage), ninh (stew), nem (spring rolls), and mọc (meat balls).
This event takes place every year on the 13th day of the first lunar month in the village of Lim to honor the Quan Ho folk song, which has been part of the culture in the Red River Delta for centuries. This festival features the most skilled singers of the north, but there is also a weaving competition and various other activities.
Hung Temple Festival
Popular with both locals and visitors, this three-day Vietnamese festival runs from the 9th to the 11th of the third lunar month on Nghia Linh Mountain in the northwest. Its focus is to worship the Hung Kings and consists of a feast of fresh fruit, cake, and dumplings, as well as a procession followed by traditional songs and an opera performance.
Visitors must travel to Quang Nam, west of Da Nang, for this festival, which is held to worship the whale. It is one of the country’s biggest water events and is predominately celebrated by fisherman. Houses and boats are decorated, and a procession of ships is led into the sea.
Tết Trung Thu
On the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, many celebrate the harvest by worshipping the Moon genie. It is one of the most impressive festivals in Vietnam and is particularly exiting for children, as they get plenty of toys. Square moon cakes are eaten by all, while children light lanterns and participate in a procession. Lion dancers accompanied by gongs and bells roam the streets.
Oc Om Boc Festival
A religious festival to worship the moon god, he is celebrated for bringing fish to the river and good crops. It takes place in the Mekong Delta on the full moon of the 10th lunar month and starts by offering fresh fruit and rice flakes. Lanterns are released from land and boats, a practice which is meant to rid the area of the humidity and darkness of the rainy season. Thousands of people come to see the boat race.