Celebrations and ceremonies of Vietnam
Most important events in the life of a Vietnamese
To celebrate the arrival of a baby, a party is organized during the first month: it is the "Offering to the lucine", representing the weaning of the child. Offerings are for the ancestors and gifts are offered to the child.
At the end of the first year, it is "The end of the cradle". The family thanks the ancestors and present to the child several objects (pen, mirror, book ...). The chosen object will thus have a special meaning for its future towards which the family will help it to orient itself.
Nowadays, the Vietnamese celebrate their date of birth in the Western style with the presence of cake, candles, flowers,...They can organize a meal at home or at the restaurant, with the participation of family, friends, colleagues.
The marriage includes various complex rituals that begin before the wedding, and last until the celebration. These rituals are modernized. Today simplified, the family still plays a leading role in this event.
The belief is that the dead leave our world to join another world. The rituals to say goodbye to the deceased and prepare for this trip include a whole ceremonial: the care of the body, the preparation of the offerings, the placing of the deceased in the coffin, the burial, the placement of the portrait on the altar of the house. A few years later, it is time to do a second burial which consists of digging up the remains of the deceased, washing his bones and transferring them to his final coffin.
Anniversary of death
The family remembers relatives who have already died by gathering each year on the day of their death to share a meal together and send offerings on the altar and burning votive papers.
The big traditional festivals
Tet - Lunar New Year
The most important festival in Vietnam, Tet celebrates the transition to the new year according to the lunar calendar and marks the beginning of spring (between the 1st and the 7th day of the new year).
The purchase of food and offerings, cleaning and home decorations begin about half a month before the date. The holiday of Tet has become so familiar and so sacred, that when spring arrives, wherever they are, all Vietnamese are enthusiastic about the arrival of Tet. They are then nostalgic and want to return to their homeland for a family reunion and to taste the special flavors of the Vietnamese festivities.
The Giao Thua (New Year's Eve) is the most sacred moment, the transition from the old to the New Year. After the Giao Thua begins the New Year with its lot of practices and customs, entertainment and games specific to traditional Vietnamese culture.
Tet lived in Vietnam is a "magical" moment! If you have the opportunity to visit Vietnam during Tet to share this moment with locals, you will surely be deeply impressed by this distinct traditional culture, which makes all the richness of the national identity.
The Mid-Autumn Festival or Harvest Festival is very popular in Vietnam. This festival takes place on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month (late September to early October). At this holiday, the full moon is the roundest and brightest of the year, symbolizing the unity of the family. All members get together and enjoy typical cakes together, all in the moonlight! This holiday is the most anticipated of children, an opportunity for them to be offered new toys.
This festival celebrates the three great stages of the Buddha's existence: his birth, his awakening and his death. Traditionally celebrated on the eighth day of the fourth month of the lunar calendar, the festival sees lanterns and flags hung in the pagodas with many processions throughout the evening.
Hungry Ghosts Party
This festival takes place on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month, says ghosts month. Tradition has it that during this period the "orphan spirits and wild ghosts" held in the underworld are released on earth. These spirits are offered comforting meals and ceremonies are held for their deliverance.
Across the country, nearly 8,000 festivals are held each year in all cities and provinces, most in the spring and fall, which are the two most beautiful seasons. Every village, and some great temples and pagodas have their own festivals. A party usually consists of two parts, rituals to worship ancestors or gods and entertainment with concerts and folk games.
A number of local festivals are well known, attracting participants from other regions. They are classified as national cultural heritage.
This festival begins on the 13th day of the first lunar month in the province of Bac Ninh. On the Lim hill, the artists, in pairs or groups, perform Quan ho, an alternate singing specific to this province and which has been recognized as Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Numerous folk games are organized, including rooster fights, swing, traditional wrestling, card games, rice cooking contest...
The festival of the Perfume Pagoda
The Perfume Pagoda, located 70 km from Hanoi, includes many pagodas nestled between river and mountains. A pilgrimage site par excellence, pilgrims come from all over the country in droves. The festival, starting on the 6th day of the first lunar month and until the last week of the 3rd lunar month, is the longest in the north of the country.
Xien Muong festival
Xien Muong is one of the largest Thai minority celebrations in memory of the gods who helped them discover the region and pray for happiness and prosperity. The festival which takes place on February 5 in Nghia Lo includes games, dances and group fishing.
Da Sy's festival
One of the most spectacular village festivals! Celebrated two weeks after the New Year's Day in Da Sy, a small village 10km from Hanoi which is famous for its ancestral craft of knives and scissors. A big dragon of 50m long is walked during the whole party.
In Vietnam, some trades and sectors are honored on a particular day in the year. The most popular holiday is November 20th: it's the teachers' day. That day, schools organize concerts and teachers are offered gifts by their students accompanied by parents.
Valentine's Day: Appreciated by young Vietnamese, this is the opportunity for couples to give each other gifts and go out together.
Christmas: Catholics celebrate the feast at home and at church, but people generally prefer to go out on Christmas Eve, taking pictures in front of the pretty decorations of churches and shopping malls.
Calendar of major holidays
- January 1st: Universal New Year
- February: Tet Festival
- April: Commemoration Day of the Hung Kings
- April 30: Reunification Day
- May 1st: International Labor Day
- September 2nd: National holiday