Festivals in Vietnam

The Vietnamese lunar calendar is jam-packed with colourful festivals and celebrations that illustrate this vibrant country’s past and culture. From humble religious holidays to wild techno-filled festivals along the beach, you’ve got a certified spectrum of parties. But because the festivities are reliant on the lunar calendar, they have a tendency to change dates over the years, so you’re best off consulting the moon for the specifics on Vietnam’s upcoming fetes. Or the internet – that’ll work too.

If you’re looking to anchor your holiday on a traditional Vietnamese celebration, look no further. We’ve got a list of the country’s best and brightest.

Tet - Vietnamese New Year

Tet – known formally as Tet Nguyen Dan – is by and large the biggest celebration of the year in Vietnam.

It’s when people all across the country celebrate the New Year for an entire week. It doesn’t fall on the same week every year – it generally lands somewhere between the last week of January and mid-February. So if you want to head this way for this particular celebration, you’d be wise to check far in advance just when the partying will take place so you can book early. It brings home a lot of Vietnamese natives from near and far.

What makes Tet especially exciting for the locals is that it’s essentially everyone’s birthday celebration. In Vietnam, people don’t always celebrate individual birthdays, but age together at the start of the New Year. Celebrations kick off a week before the new moon, and generally include fireworks displays, special food preparation and smaller festivals that take to the streets, especially those involving flowers. In general, many businesses are closed for this celebration as it’s seen as a special family time.

Epizode

Epizode might only have started recently, but it’s already a buzz-worthy festival. Taking place on Phu Quoc Island, it’s the largest seaside music festival in Southeast Asia. It happens twice a year and lasts for two weeks, bringing in international DJs, live performances, fireworks and art installations. It’s an all-night extravaganza that keeps the party going well into the next afternoon, and with the beach just at your fingertips, you can expect to see many a sunset.

Southern Fruit Festival

Never before has fruit looked quite as artistic as it does in the Southern Fruit Festival, an annual event in Ho Chi Minh City. It kicks off in the summer in Suoi Tien Park and includes a rainbow of native fruit decorating floats and other colourful displays. It’s also an opportunity for you to taste a range of Vietnamese fruit from various stalls, so you’re advised to bring your sweet tooth, too.

Hung King Temple Festival

The Hung King Temple Festival is an annual celebration to honour the Hung Kings, who were the founders of Vietnam and the country’s first emperors. Nailing down when the Hung King Temple Festival actually takes place is a little tricky – it’s held during the third lunar month, with celebrations extending from the 8th to the 11th days of the month. People have the 10th day of the month off from work, with celebrations taking place primarily in the north, though a reconstructed temple is usually produced in Suoi Tien Park in Ho Chi Minh City so the locals can pay their respects with prayer and offerings.

Buddha's Birthday

Buddha’s Birthday is a recognised holiday in Vietnam, celebrated at Buddhist temples on the 8th day of the lunar calendar’s 4th month. Celebrations range from downright quiet to festivities in the street and Buddhist temples are often decorated and visited by locals wishing to give their respect. In some places, floats and lantern parades take to the streets for colourful fetes in Buddha’s honour.

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