Festivals & Events
Central Vietnam

 

Whale Festival

The Whale Festival has been, for centuries, the biggest water festival of the fishermen in Quang Nam, Danang province. The worshipping of the whale is not only about paying respect to their God, but also about ensuring prosperity for the villagers. This festival last for two days in the middle of the 3rd lunar month. On this occasion, the whale temple, as well as all the houses and boats, are beautifully decorated. The peace offering is conducted in the first evening at the whale temple by village elders. Offerings, which do not contain seafoods, are given while the oration is read out. The ceremony is held to respect the Whale God and to pray for the safety and prosperity of the village.
At dawn the following day, there will be a procession of boats on the sea in a set formation. This procession displays the sincerity of fishermen to their Whale God. By midnight, the official ceremony is conducted as school children offer incense and the orchestra plays a classical opera. All the fishing boats and villagers, no matter where they are, will return to take part in the Whale Festival.

 

Cau Ngu Festival

This traditional festival of lower Thai Duong Village in Huong Hai Commune of Huong Dien District is organized annually on the 12th day of the 1st lunar month in memory of the village tutelary genie Truong Quy Cong. His alias is Truong Thieu, and he was a native of the North who came to the village to settle, teach the locals how to fish, and trade junks.
On the eve of the festival, the entire village begins making offerings. Both parts of the village, the upper and lower parts,worship to Truong Quy Cong. Late at night, the "fish worshipping ceremony " occurs, where people pray for peace and the future abundance of fish. Every three years, games representing sea fishing activities are organized, such as the "fish catching" game and "net-casting" game. After these games, people tend to go watch the rowing skiffs.
The "net-casting" performance is a form of entertainment that is characterized by rituals to commemorate the merits of the village tutelary genie.

 

Elephant Race Festival

This festival is held in the spring, around the 3rd month of the lunar calendar. It is usually held in Don Village or in forests near the Sevepoi River (Dac Lak). The race track is on even ground where there are only has a few big trees. The width of the track is large enough for 10 elephants to stand in a line at the same time and the length of the track runs 1-2 km.
With the signal of the horn (a wind instrument), the mahouts command their elephants to go to the starting line. When the command to start the race is released, all of the elephants rush ahead, excited by the sound of the drums, gongs, and cheering from the viewers. At the end of the race, the winning elephants lift their trunks above their heads to wave to the viewers. They walk deliberately flapping their ears gently, gazing through half-closed eyes to receive sugarcane from their viewers.
The elephant race is the biggest festival in the middle highland. It bears the martial spirit of the M'nong ethnic group, who are very famous for their bravery and skill in hunting wild elephants.

 

Hon Chen Temple Festival

The Hon Chen Temple Festival is organized twice every year in the 3rd and the 7th lunar months.
The festival takes place at the Hon Chen temple, 10 km west of Hue. It starts with a procession referred to as the God Welcoming ceremony, said to bring all the worshipped Gods from the village temples and shrines to the communal house where various rituals are performed, including the procession in honour of Saint Mother Thien Y A Na. The procession takes place at night on the Perfume River, which shines with a myriad of lights. The procession ivolves a long line of boats bound together into bigger rafts.
The Hon Chen Temple Festival includes a performance filled with imperial characters. Actors dressed in clothes with splendid turbans and tunics look like princes and princesses of the Nguyen dynasty. These shows take place in the natural settings of mountains, hills, and rivers. This Antique Museum of Nature shows flags, fans, hammocks, umbrellas, weapons, and offerings.

 

Kate Festival

The Kate Festival is held annually by the Cham ethnic group who inhabit the An Phuoc District of Ninh Thuan Province.  The Kate Festival ia held on the first ten days of the seventh month of the Cham Calendar (this cooresponds with  September or October). The Kate Festival is an occasion for the Cham people to express their venerability to their god. This god is considered the creator of the universe and is thought of as a national hero. During this festival,  people go on a pilgrimage to the holy land of My Son and visit their friends and family.
On the last ten days of the sixth month of the Cham calendar, the Cham people bring precious gifts to their ancient Cham King. This ritual is held to thank their god beforehand and to ask for help in organizing the Kate Festival.
At night, everyone from the villages gets together to see the ritual performances of the traditional costumes (Poh Akharao). This traditional ance performance is accompanied by the solemn Kapo music rhythms.
In the early morning of the first day of the seventh month of the Cham calendar, the worshipping ceremonies are complete. Everyone then stages a procession for the deity of a nearby temple or tower , such as the Polnu Nagar, Poklong Garai, or An Phuoc. The procession is very crowded and the music of the Raglay people (the ancient Cham people) can be heard everywhere.
In the temples, the worshipping sorcerer commences the ritual of the door opening (Poh Bang), and the vice worshipping sorcerer executes a hymn piece.
The hymn is accompanied by the rhythms of the ancient Kanhi and tells of the the power of the people. Other rituals include the washing and dressing of the Statue of the King with mineral water and the offering of wine in worship.
The rituals lasts throughout the day and into the night, concluding with a performance where people compose and recite poems while playing music. The festival is a very exciting time because people from everywhere can converse, share in the same feast, and walk the same path.

 

Quan The Am Festival
(Marble Mountains)

The Quan The Am Festival was first organized in 1962, for the inauguration of the Avalokiesvara Buddhisattava statue in Hoa Nghiem cave at Thuy Son Mountain in the Marble Mountains, Danang city. The same year, the festival was reorganized in Kim Son cave after the construction of the Quan The Am Pagoda on Kim Son Mountain. Until 1991, this festival was annually organized  on a large scale and celebrations lasted for three entire days.
The Quan The Am Festival consists of two parts: the religious ceremony and the festival itself. The ceremony, similar to Buddhist rituals, consists of flower offerings and prayers. The Dharma-preaching sessions about Avalokiesvara Buddhisattava and his motivation and accomplishments are also very interesting.
Several cultural activities bearing national colors, such as folk songs, chess playing, music, painting, carving, lion dancing, offering lamps on the river, and classical opera also take place.
The Quan The Am Festival is organized on the 19th day of the second lunar month; this festival, as well as many others, is held in an attempt to restore and promote the traditional culture of Vietnam.

 

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