Festivals & Events
South Vietnam

 

 

Ba Chua Xu Festival

Sam mountain is located 5 kilometers from the town of Chau Doc in An Giang province. This mountain is the centre of a complex of historical sites such as the old Tay An Pagoda, the Ba Chua Xu Shrine, the Hang Pagoda, and the Imperial Tomb of Thoai Ngoc Hau.
The festival of Ba Chua Xu (also called the Via Ba Ceremony) is held annually from the 23rd night to the 27th day of the 4th lunar month. To go to the festival, head along Road No.10 from Long Xuyen to Chau Doc. Sam Mountain is 5 kilometers away from Chau Doc. Also, one can take the waterway from Can Tho to Soc Trang, or from Saigon directly.
On the night of April 23rd, there is a bathing and changing of robes ceremony for the statue of Ba Chua. The bathing water is scented and Ba Chua's old clothes are cut into small pieces to distribute to visitors and pilgrims. The small pieces of clothes are considered lucky, keeping one in good health and driving away evil spirits.
After this ceremony is the Tue Yet Rite, which starts at midnight on the 25th and continues into the early morning of the 26th. This rite petitions Ba Chua's nomination to the heavens with an imposing procession of dragon dances. The Imperial Sedan Chair is taken to Thoai Ngoc Hau Tomb for a chanting ritual before being taken back to the shrine of Ba Chua.
Anyone who is keen on the ritual formalities can serve on the prestigious Ritual Board of Ba Chua's Shrine. This board then performs at the Duc Boi Ceremony, accompanied by a group of singers who sing for good weather and a prosperous country.
The Via Ba Ceremony attracts many people to this traditional festival, where they pray for a good future as well as admire the natural scenery of An Giang province.

 

Dinh Co Festival

Dinh Co is located on Long Hai Beach. According to a legend, a young girl who wanted to live a secluded life accidentally fell into the sea and was buried on Co Son hill by local fishermen. They also built a temple on the beach in her honour.
Every year, Long Hai fishermen organize Dinh Co Festival on the 10th, 11th, and 12th day of the second lunar month. Older fishermen, dressed in traditional trousers, are masters of this religious celebration. They pray for a good fishing year, productive crops, and peaceful life. The boats that are at sea during the celebrations are lighted with bright colours.
Thousands of tourists come and enjoy the great festivities and at the same time pray for a peaceful life.

 

Cow Race Festival
of the Khmer Ethnic Group

The Cow Race Festival is a unique cultural tradition of the Khmer people of Tinh Bien and Tri Ton districts.
The race track is an even ground, 60 m wide and 170 m long, surrounded by elevated land that is used for the spectators. On the ground, there is a line that divides the track into two lanes, each 90 m long and 4 m wide. On the festival day, two cows are each tethered to a harrow. There is a pedal consisting of a flat piece of wood, 30 cm wide and 90 cm long, on the frame of the harrow, under which are the cogs of the harrow. Each cow is controlled by a chief-man (Nai), who stands on the pedal.
Every year, the Cow Race Festival is organized as part of the Don Ta Ceremony (the worshiping ancestral ceremony) on the last day of the tenth lunar month of the Khmer calendar.

 

Oc Om Boc Festival

The Oc Om  Boc Festival is a religious service to worship the moon god of the Kho Me minority group. The festival is usually held on December 15th of the Buddhist Calendar, or in October following the Gregorian Calendar. At this religious festival, people thank the moon god who brings about good crops, provides abundant fish in the rivers, and maintains the health of human beings.
During the night of the full moon, as the moon appears, people prepare a feast in the front yard of the pagoda or in their houses. A plate of green rice flakes, ripe bananas, fresh peeled coconuts, mangoes and other dishes are served to the moon god.
After the ceremony, the elders ask the children of the house to sit flat on the ground with crossed legs, clasping their hands. The elders then take a handful of green rice flakes and feed all of the children at the same time. People also release paper lanterns into the sky and banana-tree ferries, attached with colorful lights and loaded with offerings into the channels and rivers accompanied by the sound of music. The custom of releasing flying lights and floating ferries is believed to sweep away the darkness and humidity of the rainy season. On the following morning of the full moon, the Ngo Boat Race is held. This crowded festival is well prepared and deemed to be a great cultural event, drawing hundreds of thousands of participants.
In Kho Me language, the Ngo Boat is called "Tuk Ngo". This boat is a pirogue, chiseled from a hole in a trunk of good wood , in a lozenge shape. It has a curved head and tail; therefore, it needs skillful sailors to manage it in a competition. Otherwise, it is likely to be capsized.
The racing spectacle takes place in a very serious manner, with the participation of thousands of viewers who stand along a track that stretches for kilometres. The boat master, standing in the middle part of the junk, encourages his teammates with a light gong. When the first boat reaches the finish line, a crowd of people simultaneously scream. They believe that they have just completed their responsibility to the moon god.

 

Nui Ba Festival

If you go to Tay Ninh, you should visit Nui Ba, a beautiful mountain located in the middle of the Mekong Delta, 11km from downtown Tay Ninh.
Nui Ba (Ba Mountain) is often called Ms. Den Mountain. According to a legend, the mountain was named after a young woman called Denh, but who was referred to as Den. She was the devout daughter of a guard officer of the Mien ethnic minority group. Den left her house to enter a monastery in the mountains. She became a nun due to family pressure to marry a guard officer's son from the Trang Bang Area. She remained at the monastery until she died. After her death, the Nguyen Dynasty ordered that a mould of her be cast in black bronze in her honour as the Linh Son Thanh Mau ( Saint Linh Son).
During the spring until the afternoon of the 30th day of the 1st lunar month, and especially on the day of the full moon of the first month, tourists from Ho Chi Minh City and the provinces of the south  pilgrimage to worship and sightsee. Starting at the bottom of the mountain, tourists climb one half of the mountain to Saint Linh Son's communal house and then follow a path that leads to a pagoda. This pagoda offers vegetarian meals. Tourists can eat as much as they want, but should donate some money to the pagoda; the amount of the donation depending on the budget of the tourist.

 

Thang Tam God Temple Festival

The Thang Tam God Temple complex comprises three structures: Thang Tam God Temple, Lady Ngu Hanh Temple, and Nam Hai Tomb. The Thang Tam God Temple Festival depicts the culture of Vung Tau fishermen and exemplifies the religious and traditional culture of the country.
According to legend, Thang Tam God Temple worships three notables who founded the three Thang villages: Pham Van Dinh, Le Van Loc, and Ngo Van Huyen.
The festival is annually held for four days, from the 17th to the 20th day of the 2nd lunar month. This period also corresponds with the beginning and the end of the local fishing season.
The ceremony consists of a rather complicated worshipping procedure. The festival features several activities, such as lion dances and Hat Boi.

 

Thien Hau Pagoda Festival

The Thien Hau Pagoda, located in Lai Thieu, is a cultural vestige of  Binh Duong Province. The pagoda, which was constructed using ancient techniques, is a place of solemn worshipping.
The festival is organized annually from the 13th to the 15th day of the 1st lunar month. On the 13th, the population of Thu Dau Mot prepares tables placed in front of each house to worship and welcome Ba Thien Hau. A great number of people from neighboring provinces also come to Thu Dau Mot for the occasion.
On the 14th is the Ba welcoming ceremony, which observes traditional rituals. A Ba palanquin is carried throughout the streets, with unicorn dances, lion dances, and many flags. On the 15th, people come to the Ba Pagoda to burn incense, pray, and ask for the protection of the Mandarin to be safe and happy in the next year .
The Thien Hau Pagoda Festival in Lai Thieu is a folk festival bearing the unique culture of the southeast region.

 

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