Vietnamese holidays – Main holidays in Vietnam: With a thousand-year-old culture, Vietnam has several festivals and ceremonies throughout the year and according to the regions of the country and peoples. Each of these festivals – Vietnamese holidays is linked to a tradition or custom of each ethnic group.
If New Year’s Day is a big family celebration, the national holiday on September 2nd is the celebration of the whole country, and Christmas is rather a holiday for catholic populations. Each holiday is accompanied by a different ceremony. We can affirm that the celebrations are proof of the presence and liveliness of the religions and beliefs of the people.
Traditional holidays in Vietnam are community cultural events. In Vietnamese language, the festival is called ” lễ hội ”. Lễ is a system of actions and gestures that express human reverence for the gods, reflecting the dreams of life. Hội is the cultural, religious and artistic activities of the community, derived from the needs of the people’s life.
According to 2009 statistics, Vietnam has 7,966 different holidays. There are 7,039 folk festivals often held after the Tet Holiday (representing 88.36%), 332 historical festivals (4.16%), 544 religious holidays (6.28%), 10 holidays from abroad (0.12)…
Vietnam is a country that has thousands of years of history. Like many other countries in the world, Vietnam has its own culture. These characteristics constitute the character, the form and the identity of the Vietnamese people. Vietnamese holidays are inseparable elements of its culture.
In the cultural treasures of the Vietnamese nation, the festival reflects the typical cultural characteristics of its region. Festival with popular cultural activities are almost everywhere in the country. Many festivals having thousands of years of age are still preserved. Here are the most popular holidays in Vietnam at the national level:
Tet – Lunar New Year in February of the lunar calendar. This is the most important and most sacred holiday in the country. It is celebrated everywhere from North to South. And it’s above all a family celebration.
The word Tet is a derivation of the word Tiet which means season in Vietnamese language. This is a festival of agricultural origin. It is the moment of rest between the rice harvests and little by little it took the scale of a family festival of the inhabitants of the country, the farmers for the majority. We can say that, since dawn of time, our ancestors celebrated this most sacred moment of the year. Everyone goes home to be with the family. Everyone stops work to join the big family. Train stations and airports are full of people. The New Year’s holidays last about a week. So there are many things to prepare:
Decorate the house, cook typical specialties in each region, prepare the New Year’s gifts and new clothes for the family’s children, clean the ancestors’ altar, supply food and offerings for the ceremonies…
From one region to another, we can notice some small differences in this Vietnamese holiday: for example, Vietnamese people in north use the peach blossoms to decorate house but Vietnamese people in south use the flowers of the yellow apricot…There is idea to celebrate the New Year in solar calendar but this holiday in Vietnam is considered as the biggest of Vietnamese people.
Nguyen Tieu Feast: January 15 Lunar: This is one of the most important holidays of the year to celebrate the first night of the lunar year when the moon is full.
Hung Kings Temple Festival: Lunar March 10: This is a national celebration to commemorate the Hung Kings who built the country during the Stone Age. The anniversary of the death of the Hung Kings has become a long-standing cultural tradition of Vietnam. It is sacred and noble in Vietnamese popular consciousness. Thus, this Vietnamese holiday is held solemnly every year with the meticulous rituals.
The feast of April 30: Festival of the reunification of the country: The battle of Dien Bien Phu ended the French Indochina war in 1954. The Geneva agreement signed in July of the same year between Vietnam and France planned the reunification of the country which was cut in two parts by the meeting of Potsdam in 1945. But the US military intervened in Vietnam to continue cutting the country in two until April 30, 1975, when it was unified after an atrocious war.
Labor Day: May 1 in the solar calendar as in the world.
Doan Ngo Feast: Lunar May 5: This is the time when the sun is closest to the earth with the summer solstice. According to the Eastern philosophy of medicine, it is also the moment when the Yang in the Universe and in the body is the most powerful.
The feast of the first solar June – Children’s Day: This is the party reserved for children. Adults buy the gifts to offer them. Some take them to the public garden for games, the zoo, beaches…This is one two Vietnamese holidays for childrens.
The Mid-July Lunar Festival: The Day of the Dead or the Day of Wandering Souls: Just like the festival of the dead among Europeans people, the festival of mid-July (15/7 lunar every year) is an opportunity to commemorate ancestors, parents and wandering souls. The hearty meals, the family atmosphere and the prayers in pagodas are the usual activities of this festival. The inhabitants also organize a ceremony on this occasion to feed wandering souls. Men of the same lineage meet at the descendant of the lineage creator to venerate him. For all populations, this Vietnamese holiday is very sacred.
Mid-Autumn Festival: The Mid – Autumn Festival is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month. Although this celebration is dedicated to children, adults also participate in the festivities. The children sing, dance and make a parade of lanterns in the shape of moon, star or animal. Activities take place during the day. Children eat fruits and cakes that have been specially prepared for them.
National Day: September 2: France colonized Vietnam between 1884 and 1941. In 1941, the Japanese came. In 1945, taking advantage of the fall of the Nazis, Ho Chi Minh declared the country’s independence September 2. Workers have one day off in this Vietnamese holiday.
The rites of the 1th and 15th day of each lunar month: According to the Buddhist sutras and the popular knowledge of Vietnam, the 1th and the 15th day are special days in each month. The inhabitants have transmitted the message for centuries but an adequate and relevant explanation of this belief is always impossible. Buddhists confirm that it is Buddha’s day, while followers of other beliefs believe that it is the day of the stars that can affect everyone’s life. Despite these controversial ideas, the rituals of these days are still highly respected. During these days, the temples and pagodas are filled with old people and young people saying their prayers of health, happiness and prosperity. At home, we prepare trays of fruit and offerings to place on the altar of ancestors and the altar of the genie said Guardian of the house…
In addition to these holidays, in Vietnam, the professions have their own holidays: Teachers’ Day (November 20th), Military (December 22nd), Students (January 9th), Doctors (February 27th), Journalists (June 22)…
Women have International Women’s Day (March 8th) and Vietnamese Women Day (October 22nd). Religious people have their holidays: Easter, Ramadan, Christmas…
Now, life is improving and with the important open to the outside world, non-Catholic young people also celebrate Christmas, city dwellers make the Solar New Year, Valentine’s Day…We cannot forget to mention the festivals of the 53 ethnic minorities! As in all countries, the holidays in Vietnam or these main Vietnamese holidays are inseparable elements of daily life of its all populations.