Top 8 Traditional Festivals in Northern Vietnam

Vietnam has a distinct culture that has grown over millennia. This results in a plethora of particular festivals that vividly demonstrate Vietnamese people's beliefs and traditions. Let’s find out about the top 8 most popular traditional festivals in Vietnam with us!

Vietnam is not only famous for many fascinating landscapes but its unique culture also stands out with traditional festivals. The traditional festivals are very diverse and imbued with the national identity. This is also an occasion to remember and express the local people's gratitude to the saints and national heroes who have contributed to the country. Apart from admiring stunning natural settings, it is also worthwhile to attend some of Vietnam's festivals to gain a deeper knowledge of this peaceful country.
Continue reading to find out about the traditional festivals that you should not ignore when coming to Vietnam.

1. Lim Festival
2. Hung Kings Temple Festival
3. Perfume Pagoda Festival
4. Hoa Lu Festival
5. Giong Festival
6. Co Loa Festival
7. Long Tong Festival
8. Gong Festival

 
1. LIM FESTIVAL
 
The Lim festival lasts around three days (from the 12th to the 14th of the first lunar month each year), with the 13th day being the main festival with many concentrated activities. A procession kicks off the Lim festival. People in the procession are dressed in traditional costumes with bright colors. In addition to the ceremony, the festival includes a variety of folk games such as martial arts, wrestling, chess, fairy swings, weaving contests, rice cookery, and the most unique aspect, festival singing. The old history has left behind a unique, fascinating, and passionate ritual that only Bac Ninh has: Quan ho folk song, an intangible cultural trait that has become a cultural treasure of the Vietnamese people.
The Lim festival is a traditional celebration that all travelers and people who appreciate the beauty of national culture should attend. If you have the chance to hear the Quan Ho melodies sung by Kinh Bac artisans, it will undoubtedly be an experience you will remember for the rest of your life.
 
Bustling scene of the Lim festival
Bustling scene of the Lim festival - Source: collective
 
2. HUNG KING TEMPLE FESTIVAL
 
The Hung King Temple Festival takes place every year from the 8th to the 11th of the third lunar month. The major festival day is the 10th of the third lunar March, a national holiday commemorating the death of the Hung King. Every year on this traditional occasion, Vietnamese people around the world join their brothers and sisters in spirit to commemorate their ancestors.
The primary event takes place at Nghia Linh Mountain's Hung Temple in Phong Chau District, Phu Tho Province, around 85 kilometers northwest of Hanoi. Along with the communal house and temple remains, there are a plethora of folk art activities: fairy stories, folk songs, folk dances, folk theater... The most distinctive and special thing in Phu Tho is Xoan singing.
The Hung King Temple Festival is one of the most important and sacred holidays of the Vietnamese people, profoundly ingrained in the consciousness of all Vietnamese citizens, regardless of origin.
 
 

The solemn ceremony of Hung Kings Festival
The solemn ceremony of Hung Kings Festival - Source: Tu Anh

3. PERFUME PAGODA FESTIVAL
 
The exquisite phrase portrays the magnificent setting of Huong Pagoda (also known as Perfume Pagoda), which has been classified by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage site and gives the impression that one is lost in a realm of fairies. Huong Son draws people not just because of its beautiful scenery, but also because of the feeling of philosophy inherent inside its magnificent caves.
Huong Pagoda Festival, which takes place from the 15th to the 20th day of the second lunar month, consists mostly of tourist tours to pagodas, temples, and caves, as well as attending ceremonies to seek favors from Lord Buddha. The festival is a traditional Vietnamese Buddhist celebration that takes place in three locations at the same time: Huong Tich, Tuyet Son, and Long Van. The event is most crowded from the 15th to the 20th day of the 2nd month of the lunar calendar as this is the main festival. If you go there, you will get the opportunity to experience the loud mood of a spring celebration in the midst of gorgeous scenery.
 
The opening ceremony of the Perfume Pagoda Festiva
The opening ceremony of the Perfume Pagoda Festival - Source: Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism
 
4. HOA LU FESTIVAL
 
The traditional festival of the ancient capital Hoa Lu is held in Ninh Binh province, taking place at the beginning of the third lunar month every year. This festival shows patriotism and spirit toward the roots as well as educates the young generation to be deeply grateful for national heroes who have built the country such as King Dinh Tien Hoang and King Le Dai Hanh.
The festival consists of two parts. The ceremony part includes many rituals, especially the water procession of the Hoang Long river and sacrifices at the two temples of King Dinh and King Le. The festival will take place with the game "Practice Chinese chess" and folk games such as wrestling, chess, human chess, pulling letters...
This is a festival of historical value, started when King Ly Cong Uan moved the capital to Thang Long, with rituals that have existed throughout the nation's history, mixing in a little color of folk legends.

The water procession ritual on the Hoang Long river
 The water procession ritual on the Hoang Long river - Source: Hue Tran
 
5.  GIONG FESTIVAL
 
Giong Festival is a big and unique festival in the Northern Delta. It is organized to commemorate Saint Giong, one of the four immortal saints of Vietnamese folk beliefs.Currently, the Northern Delta has a lot of places to worship Phu Dong Thien Vuong Thanh Giong, but the main assembly is still in Phu Dong village (Gia Lam, Hanoi) where Saint Giong was born and Phu Linh (Soc Son), where Saint Giong was incarnated.
Every year, the main Giong Festival is held on the 8th and 9th of the fourth lunar month at Phu Dong temple and surrounding areas. This unique Giong Festival is preserved by the community, passed down from generation to generation and kept as part of its cultural identity. Because the festival contains creations and expresses aspirations for a peaceful and prosperous life, it has been recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
 
Giong Festival in Soc Son
Giong Festival in Soc Son - Source: baotintuc.vn
 
6.  CO LOA FESTIVAL
 
Co Loa Temple Festival is one of the oldest festivals of Vietnamese culture. Every year, when the traditional New Year is over, on the 6th day of the New Year, people in Dong Anh region eagerly organize the Co Loa temple festival to commemorate the merits of King An Duong Vuong - the person who founded the first state of our country.
 
Preparing for the procession at Co Loa Festival
Preparing for the procession at Co Loa Festival - Source: hanoimoi.com

7.   LONG TONG FESTIVAL
 
The Long Tong festival, which is also known as the festival of the fields, is a festival of the Tay ethnic group. It is a gathering of the most typical cultural nuances of the ethnic groups such as: Nung, Dao, San Chi.. .. Considered as a religious activity to pray for favorable weather, abundant harvest, bountiful crops and a prosperous life, the festival is held in the best and biggest fields. There are still no research documents to confirm this festival has ever existed. But certainly, the origin of the festival must have been born from the society of the Tay people when they lived in a community village.
The time of the festival is determined by each place to suit the terrain. The localities that are close to each other can discuss to choose different dates to facilitate exchanges. Every year in Chiem Hoa (Tuyen Quang), the festival is usually held on January 8.
Long Tong Festival in Tuyen Quang
Long Tong Festival in Tuyen Quang - Source: Nguyen Hai
 
8. GONG FESTIVAL
 
Gong festival is a festival held annually in the form of rotation in the provinces with gong culture, in which Dak Lak is an important and most chosen destination due to its position as the cultural and political center. , the society of the Central Highlands region where there are the most gongs in Vietnam.
The festival is organized to promote the image of the Central Highlands Gong cultural space which has been recognized by UNESCO as an oral and intangible heritage of humanity. It is not only an important event for the people of the Central Highlands but also for the country of Vietnam. At the festival, artisans of the provinces will present and perform the cultural space of their nation and province. Due to its bold tourism color, it is often introduced in tourism programs such as Dak Lak tourism.
 
Gong Festival
Gong Festival - Source: Tuyengiao.vn
   
Thanks to the cultural diversity of ethnic groups, festivals in Vietnam also have certain regional characteristics. If you have the opportunity, go there to immerse yourself in the music, cultural songs and the amazing festive atmosphere.
 
Written by Assistant Manager for Mr Linh’s Adventures


 
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