Festivals & Events
North Vietnam

 

Co  Loa Festival

The Co Loa Festival is held annually from the 6th to the 16th of the 1st lunar month. It takes place in the pagoda that honours An Duong Vuong in Co Loa Commune, Dong Anh District, Hanoi City. On the 6th day of Tet, the literature procession is preceded by a flag that symbolizes the five elements (metal, wood, water, fire and earth), a musical company, and a sacrifice.
The Literature Stand set at the Imperial Court's Sedan Chair is shaded by a parasol. In the courtyard, one can see many colorful festival flags and Dai Flags (great ones) fluttering in the wind. On either side of the temple gates are a couple of red horses and white horses with colorful saddles.
Preceded by the literature procession is a sacrificial ceremony that lasts until 12 PM. After this ceremony, there is the god procession of 12 villages. Besides these processions, there are many activities such as swinging, rice cooking, singing Vietnamese popular opera and other events.
On the 16th day of the first lunar month, the festival is closed with a thanksgiving ceremony.

 

Chu Dong Tu Festival

This festival occurs for three days from the 10th - 12th of the third lunar month in Chu Dong Tu Temple in Du Hoa Village, Chau Giang District, Hung Yen province, some 20 km from Hanoi.
Saint Chu Dong Tu was one of the "four immortal heroes" at the centre of Vietnamese society. Chu Dong Tu was a cultural hero and the founder of agriculture because he conquered the marsh and developed agriculture and trade.
After the opening ceremony, there is a procession to remind people of the legend, life, and work of Saint Chu Dong Tu and his two wives .
Travelling ahead of the procession are two splendid golden dragons, controlled by 10 men, dancing gently with the rhythm of the drums. The procession includes a team of musicians, the Saint's chair, and couple of jars. The procession also includes about ten  boats that sail to the center of the river to fill the jars with water before returning back to the temple for a statue washing ceremony.
After the main ceremony, there are different types of activities conducted such as wrestling, fighting with sticks, Chinese chess, lion dances,and other events

 

Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival

The Buffalo Fight in Do Son (Haiphong City) is officially held every year on the 9th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. There are, in fact, two rounds of elimination before the middle of the 5th month and 8th day of the 6th lunar month.
The preparation for this festival is very elaborate. Fighting buffaloes must be carefully selected, well fed, and trained. These buffaloes must be between 4 and 5 years old, with a good appearance, a wide chest, a big groin, a long neck, an acute bottom, and bow shaped horns. The fighting buffaloes are fed in separate cages to keep them from contact with common buffaloes.
The beginning of the worshipping ceremony lasts until lunch time. A typical procession begins with an octet and a big procession chair, carried by six strong young men. The six clean buffaloes that are part of the ceremony are covered  with red cloths and bound with reddish bands on their horns. There are 24 young men who dance and wave flags as two teams of troops start fighting. After this event, a pair of buffaloes are led to opposite sides of the festival grounds and are made to stand near two flags called Ngu Phung. When the right signal is released, the two buffaloes are moved to within 20m of each other. At the next signal, the two leaders release the ropes that are attached to the noses of the buffaloes. The two buffaloes then rush into each other with well practiced movements. The spectators then shout and  urge the fighting along.
At the completion of the fight, the spectacle of "receiving the buffaloes" is very interesting as the leaders must then catch the winning buffalo to grant it its reward.
The Buffalo Fight in Do Son is a traditional festival that is attached to a Water God worshipping ceremony and the "Hien Sinh" custom. The most typical reason for the ceremony is to express the martial spirit of the local people in Do Son, Haiphong.

 

Dong Da Festival

The Dong Da Hill Festival (Dong Da District - Hanoi) is an annual event held on the 5th Lunar day of the Tet Holiday. This festival celebrates the triumphant victory against the invaders of the Vietnamese nation lead by King Quang Trung (Nguyen Hue), a Tay Son farmer who later became a hero.
Two centuries ago (around 1789), Dong Da was a battlefield where more than 200,000 soldiers were killed. Dong Da Hill became a glorious historical site of the Vietnamese nation. In the early morning of the 5th day of the Tet Holiday, a procession for the deity of celebration commences at Khuong Thuong and ends at  Dong Da Hill. The procession includes flags, a processional parasol, palanquins with a variety of colors, and the sounds of gongs and drums.
The procession moves slowly with the characteristic of a triumphant victory. The most special part of the procession is the fire dragon which is decorated with straw, cataphyll, and coarse paper. A group of youth, dressed in martial suits, then goes around and performs a piece that recounts the whole period of the war.The "Thang Long Fire Dragon" has become a symbol of victory for the Vietnamese nation.
When the procession comes to Dong Da Hill, there is a ceremony after which someone reads the story of the victory of Ky Dau that praises the military genius of the national hero, Quang Trung. There are also various games and competitions that challenge the skill and intelligence of the participants on the wide field in front of hill

 

Dong Nhan Temple Festival

Dong Nhan Temple is located in Dong Nhan Precinct, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi. The festival of Dong Nhan Temple is held annually from the 3rd to the 6th day of the second lunar month.
The temple was established in honour of Hai Ba Trung (Two Trung Sisters) who were proclaimed the heroines of Vietnam as they greatly contributed to the defeat of the Dong Han invaders and to the glorious pages of the history of the country.
The main festival occurs on the 5th day when there is a ceremony for bathing the statues, opening the back palace, making sacrifices, and light dancing.
A solemn procession of the statues from the temple to the Hong River is followed by many exciting activities at the completion of the bathing ceremony, including the altar-light dance. This dance is performed by 12 young beautiful girls in colourful dresses holding two lights in their hands.The festival is finished with an incense burning ceremony.

 

Giong Festival

The Giong  Festival is held annually in Phu Dong Village, Gia Lam District, Hanoi.
This large festival is held on the 9th day of the 4th month of the lunar calendar. The date commemorates Saint Giong who defeated the An invaders. In order to show their gratitude to the hero of Giong Village who sacrificed his life to fight invaders, the people proclaimed him Saint Giong.
Preparation for the festival occurs from the 1st day of the 3rd lunar month to the 5th day of the 4th lunar month. The procession starts from the Mother Temple to Thuong Temple with the performance of a religious service. After reaching the temple, a feast for the troops occurs. When night falls, a Cheo play is performed (a classical Vietnamese opera). The festivities ends on the 10th day of the 4th month, as the troops withdraw and a thanksgiving procession takes place.
At the Giong Festival, people can make connections with their the neighbors, with relatives, between the individuals within a community, and with the past and present. This festival blends together the traditions of love for the motherland and the preservation of the cultural heritage.

 

Hung Temple Festival

Hung temple is located on Nghia Linh Mountain, Hy Lang Commune, Phong Chau District, Phu Tho Province. Every year, this national festival is held to worship the Hung Kings, who were instrumental in founding the nation.
The festival lasts for 3 days from the 9th to the 11th of the 3rd lunar month. The worship service is held on the 10th day and commences with a flower ceremony with the participation of state representatives. Held in Thuong Temple, where the Hung Kings used to worship deities with full rituals, the ceremony consists of a lavish five-fruit feast. Cakes and glutinous rice dumpling are also served to remind people of the Lang Lieu Legend (the 18th Hung King who invented these cakes), and the merit of the Hung Kings who taught people to grow rice.
Next to the stage procession for deities, there are several marches in the procession, such as the elephant march followed by the procession chair. These procession marches are conducted in Tien Cuong, Hy Cuong, Phuong Giao, and Co Tich Villages. The procession marches are followed by a Xoan song performance (a classical type of song) in the Thuong Temple, "Ca Tru" (a kind of classical opera) in Ha temple, and other activities.
The Hung Temple Festival not only attracts visitors from all over and allows visitors to participate in special traditional cultural activities, but it is also a sacred trip back in time to the origins of the Vietnamese culture. People usually show their love and pride of their homeland and ancestral land. This religious belief is deeply imbedded in the minds of every Vietnamese citizen, regardless of where they originate

 

Kiep Bac Temple Festival

The Kiep Bac Temple, where people come to worship Tran Quoc Tuan, the main general of the Tran Dynasty, is located in Hung Dao Commune, Chi Linh District, Hai Duong Province. Tran Quoc Tuan was the general who defeated the Chinese Nguyen-Mong invaders three times. Because of his merits to the nation, he was proclaimed a saint.
To get to Kiep Bac Temple from Hanoi City, take the National Highway that leads to the township of Bac Ninh (about 30 km). Then, go along National Highway No.18 that stretches from Bac Ninh to Pha Lai, and which eventually leads to Kiep Bac Temple. The Kiep Bac Temple Festival lasts from the 15th to 20th day of the 8th lunar month.
A pilgrimage to the Kiep Bac Temple Festival has been deemed a centuries old Vietnamese custom honouring Saint Tran. The main day of the festival occurs on the 20th day of the 8th lunar month, but from the previous days onward, the festival attract visitors from all over. The main ceremony is followed by a great ceremony with elaborate worshipping procedures. This ceremony is followed next by a procession where Saint Tran's ancestral tablet is brought on a golden procession chair, passing three walled gates toward the river bank. The procession chair is then placed on a royal barge. The procession march lasts for two hours and then Saint Tran's ancestral tablet is brought back to the main temple for the last religious service.
In the olden times, the religious service in the Kiep Bac Temple Festival was simple and conducting a trance was the main activity. The festival has been improved, but it still bears the special characteristics of the traditional national identity. One of the most interesting activities in the festival is the boat race on the Luc Dau River, in which hundreds of boats participate. The boat race is like flying arrows rushing through the air as the boats are urged along by drumming sounds and the screaming of excited people. Taking part in the Kiep Bac Temple Festival, participants relive the atmosphere of when Tran Quoc Tuan placed his troops into a battle-array. This festival makes the Vietnamese people feel proud of the glorious traditions of their nation

 

Le Mat Village Festival

Le Mat Village belongs to the Viet Hung Commune, Gia Lam District, Hanoi. The Le Mat Village Festival is held annually on the 23rd of the 3rd lunar month. In the early morning on the 23rd day of the 3rd month, representatives of the 13 camps to the west of the Ancient Capital of Thang Long carry 13 trays of food over their heads from the capital to the Le Mat Village.
At the beginning of the festival, water and carp processions are staged and brought to the Thanh Communal House. This ritual reminds the present generation of the heroic accomplishments of exploiting and bringing about agriculture to the village. A snake act is then performed in the yard of the communal house. The snake (made of bamboo taped with cloth) symbolizes the water-monster species that has been bitten by the power and will of youth. The music of this act is an octet and the sound of the drummer's double rhythm is haunting. The Le Mat Village Festival provides an opportunity for children in the village, and those who have reclaimed this ancient wasteland in the city, to meet and retell the history of the establishment of the village. The challenge and difficulty that was encountered in the establishment of the village is expressed in the sincere homage of the ancestors of the village.
In addition to the ceremony, the Le Mat people have a special talent for catching snakes. While attending the Le Mat Village Festival, guests are offered a cup of snake wine made from three or five snakes.

 

Lieu Doi Wrestling Festival

Lieu Doi Village is located in Liem The Commune, Thanh Liem District, Ha Nam province. This village festival occurs annually on the 5th day of the 10th lunar month. The villagers hold this wrestling festival to thank Thanh Ong (a man of the Doan family who fought against Chinese invaders and was also the ancestor of wrestling). Unlike other festivals, wrestling is the main sport among other activities of the festival.
The procession ceremony begins in the solemn atmosphere of the martial spirit. The next phase of the festival is the open fire ceremony. A great flame is set up, and an alderman hands over the sword and a reddish towel to the wrestlers. This ceremony is called  "giving of the sword and the reddish clothes ceremony". The last activity is the Thanh Dong ceremony and after several solemn ceremonies, the wrestling competition begins. First, two boys are elected by the villagers to wrestle for five rounds as a presentation (Five Round Custom). Next, the wrestlers from other localities participate in the round. Apart from the wrestling activity, the Lieu Doi Festival also has activities such as the performance of popular satirical verses, alternating folk songs, and the tasting of special dishes prepared by the local people for competition at the festival.

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Lim  Festival

"Quan Ho" is a special folk song of Kinh Bac Province, now called Bac Ninh Province. Lim is the simple name of Lung Giang Commune of Tien Son District in Bac Ninh Province. The village is located 18 km from Hanoi. The festival takes place on Lim Hill where the Lim Pagoda is located. This pagoda is where Mr. Hieu Trung Hau, the man who invented Quan Ho, is worshipped.
The Lim Festival takes place every year on 13th day of the 1st lunar month. Visitors come to enjoy the festival and see the performances of "lien anh" and "lien chi". These are male and female farmers who sing different types of songs in the pagodas, on the hills, and in the boats. Besides this, visitors can come to the Lim Festival to enjoy the weaving competition of the Noi Due girls. They weave and sing Quan Ho songs at the same time. Like other religious festivals, the Lim Festival goes through all the ritual stages, from the procession to the worshipping ceremony, and includes other activities.
The Lim Festival is a special cultural activity in the North. The festival celebrates the "Quan Ho" folk song which has become a part of the national culture and a typical folk song that is well loved in the Red River Delta region.

 

Perfume Pagoda Festival

The Perfume Pagoda (Huong Pagoda) and the Huong Tich Cave is a famous scenic spot of Vietnam. It is located in Huong Son Commune, My One District, Ha Tay province, 70 km from Hanoi.
The Perfume Pagoda consists of a group of caves and is an impressive architectural ensemble of both human and natural endeavor.
The Perfume Pagoda Festival lasts from the 6th day of the 1st month to the end of the 3rd month of the lunar calendar. Visitors can get tot the Perfume Pagoda either by the inland road that goes the Hanoi - Ha Dong - Van Dinh - Huong Son route, or by water from the township of Phu Ly along the river to Duc Port in Yen Vi. The Vietnamese believe that Huong Son is Buddha's Heaven. Huong Son is considered the place to worship Brodhisattva Kwan Yin. People conduct a dragon dance in the yard of Trinh Pagoda, and sail the royal barge on the 6th day of the 1st month. The festival is held in three places, Huong Tich, Tuyet Son, and Long Van. The festival is most crowded from the 15th - 20th day of the 2nd month of the lunar calendar as this period marks the main festival. The path leading from Ngoai Pagoda to Trong Pagoda is full of visitors coming up and down the mountain.
A pilgrimage to the Perfume Pagoda is not only for religious reasons, but also to see the numerous natural landscapes and the buildings that are valuable artifacts of the nation.

 

Phu Giay Festival

Phu Giay is located in Kim Thai Commune, Vu Ban District, Nam Dinh Province, some 15 km away from the downtown core. It is the place where Queen Lieu Hanh is worshipped and where she was proclaimed Queen Mother. Her legend is sung from one generation to another throughout the nation, from the north to the south, from the deltaic regions to the mountainous ones.  It was believed that Phu Giay was the center of the homeland.
The Phu Giay Festival is held from the 1st to 10th day of the 3rd lunar month, but the main day of the festival occurs on the 3rd day. The annual event of the Phu Giay Festival is a procession from the main mansion of Tien Huong to the Goi Pagoda on the 6th day of the 3rd month to honour the Queen Mother. This procession is nearly 1 km long and has a sombr atmosphere with musicians and an octet band.
A letter forming game is held on the 7th day of the 3rd month.These types of games are a typical feature of the festival. For each game, there can be about 100 participants, holding flags and wearing uniforms with red and white trousers, yellow shirts, blue belts, and red leggings. Each person holds one stick which is about 2m long. The commander of each team is called the flag manager(Tæng Cê). When the game starts, the procession owner asks the Queen Mother for "letters". The owner then commands the flag managers to guide his team to form a letter. The letters formed are decided by the annual organizers.
During the festival, there are other games and competitions such martial sports. At the Phu Giay Festival, one can participate in the anniversary festival of Queen Mother's death, enjoy the beauty of the mansion, and wish for luck and happiness from the Queen Mother.

 

Thay Pagoda Festival

The Thay Pagoda is located at the foot of Sai Son Mountain in Quoc Oai, Ha Tay. The Thay Pagoda Festival is the opportunity to worship sorcerer Tu Dao Hanh; a Buddhist monk who became king and created the Vietnamese water puppet show.
The festival is held every year from the 5th to the 7th of the 3rd lunar month. The main celebration is on the 7th. The festival begins with Buddha worshipping and platform running, a religious performance supported by traditional music in a solemn atmosphere.
During the festival, numerous games are played. The most famous performance is the water puppet show given on water in front of the Thuy Dinh or Temple.
After ceremonies for Buddha, visitors enjoy hiking and admiring all the beauties of the Doai region. Visitors also enjoy hearing the many famous legends that enrich the traditional value of this beautiful region.

 

Trieu Khuc Village Festival

The Trieu Khuc Village ( Thanh Tri, Hanoi ) Festival is held annually from the 10th to the 12th of the 1st lunar month in honour of national hero, Phung Hung (791–802).
The festival starts with the bong dance, a traditional dance to worship the village’s tutelary spirits. Next is the most impressive ceremony of the festival: the dragon dance. It takes place along the village streets and ends in the temple yard. The dragon dance is generally followed by the lion dance, which is simpler than the previous dance. And finally to conclude the festival is the flag dance. This part of the festival is meant to remind the population of the story of Phung Hung who collected talented men for his army.

 

Truong Yen Festival

The Truong Yen Festival takes place on the 1st day of the 3rd lunar month in Hoa Lu, ancient capital of Dai Co Viet which was the first regime of concentrated power in Vietnam. The festival usually lasts for three days and is held in honour of the Dinh and Le Kings.
The Truong Yen Festival starts with the water procession, which leaves from the Dinh King's Temple with colorful flags, the royal chair, and a jar of holy water to go to the Hoang Long River to get some water, and finally returning to the Temple. Worshipping ceremonies are held during the night in both Dinh King and Le King Temples. Then, visitors can burn joss sticks and visit ancient architectural structures. Several games are traditionally played during the festival; for example, Lau flag is a game that consists of performing the same maneuvers young hero Dinh Bo Linh accomplished during his childhood.
Going to Truong Yen gives one an opportunity to visit an ancient dynastic capital and to see traditional architectural structures.

 

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