The Vietnamese calendar is jam-packed with celebrations. From Tết (the New Year) to Mid-Autumn Festival and more, there’s no shortage of reasons to get together with family and friends and enjoy a good time. What’s more, these days are often accompanied by some pretty incredible food and drink!
And these holidays aren’t just fun—they’re also an excellent opportunity to learn more about Vietnamese culture and history. So, if you want to learn more about some of the most famous Vietnamese holidays, and how Vietnamese people celebrate, keep reading!
What Are The Most Famous Vietnamese Holidays And Festivals?
Tết, also known as the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, is a festive public holiday on the first day of the lunar month. Tết is short for Tết Nguyên Đán (‘Festival of the first day’). The holiday is celebrated by lighting up firecrackers, hanging colorful lanterns, and wearing traditional clothing.
It’s also a time to honor elders and family members who have passed away. So, many people visit temples and shrines during this holiday. This holiday is celebrated from late January to early February.
Fun fact: To “sweep away” any lingering bad fortune from the previous year, many Vietnamese would clean their homes in the days before Tet.
2. Chùa Hương (Perfume Pagoda)
Each year following the Vietnamese New Year, millions of Vietnamese people go on a pilgrimage to one of the most revered Buddhist temples in the country, where they offer prayers for good fortune.
The Chùa Hương, or Perfume Pagoda Festival, is the pinnacle event for this procession of believers. Moreover, the prayer held in the old holy cave of Huong Tich is at the heart of the celebration. As the new year begins, believers express their hopes for the year to come.
Fun Fact: The celebration begins on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month and draws large gatherings until mid-March. Perfume Pagoda is open to visitors throughout the year, but the festival offers a memorable experience.
3. Lim Festival
The Lim Festival is a joyous springtime event that honors the festival’s namesake and draws attention to the distinctive traditions of the Red River Delta. The festival is celebrated on the day of enlightenment in Ba Mu. It is well-known for highlighting the distinctive singing abilities of residents through performances of Quan họ folk tunes.
Fun Fact: UNESCO has officially acknowledged Quan họ as an intangible cultural treasure.
4. Thanh Minh
Thanh Minh is not Vietnam’s most celebrated festival, yet it has profound spiritual significance. It’s a time when family members pay their respects at the graves of their departed loved ones. Thanh Minh Day is quite similar to Memorial Day in the United States.
Thanh Minh is held annually on the third month of the Lunar Calendar. It intends to pay homage to one’s ancestors and loved ones who have passed on.
Fun Fact: Because people generally consume cold meals on this day, the celebration is also dubbed the Cold Food Festival (Tết Hàn thực).
5. Liberation Day/ Reunification Day
April 30, 1975, was when the Vietnam war officially ended. The Saigon government was overthrown by the Vietnamese People’s Army and the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam. In commemoration of this event, April 30 has been officially recognized as one of the public holidays in Vietnam.
Military processions take place in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to celebrate Reunification Day. Flags are being flown from every building in every town to celebrate this momentous event.
Fun Fact: In Ho Chi Minh City, dozens of parades fill the city’s main roads with colorful displays and the active attendance of large crowds. If you want to see the festivities, you need to wake up early and wait in line.
6. Labor Day
Labor Day is one of the national holidays with a significant event with deep political connotations in Vietnam, where the Communist government regards itself as the defender of workers’ rights. Labor unions in big cities hold parades to celebrate workers’ rights on this day.
Fun Fact: Because this national holiday coincides with Liberation Day, Labor Day is frequently merged with April 30 to give Vietnamese workers a double day off.
7. Hùng Kings Festival
The Hung Kings Festival is a four-day celebration honoring Vietnam’s ancient kings and is among Vietnam’s biggest yearly events. The celebration takes place annually from the eighth to the eleventh day of the third lunar month.
The festival is held in the Hùng Kings Temple, a complex located in Phu Tho Province. The temple is dedicated to the Hùng kings, who are considered the founders of Vietnam’s first kingdom. Since the Hung Kings Commemoration Day is one of the public holidays, people go to the northern Phu Tho region to celebrate.
Fun Fact: The Hùng kings are regarded as the founders of Vietnam’s first kingdom. They were born in what is now northern Vietnam and helped unify the country into an empire. The Hung Kings Temple complex was built to remember their achievements.
8. Vu Lan
Vu Lan Festival, also known as Wandering Souls Day, is a prominent spiritual event celebrated all around Vietnam during Ghost Month.
A portal is believed to open between the human world and the spirit realm during this enchanted period.
Many people would go to a temple and make a particular offering to honor their loved ones who had passed on.
Vu Lan is observed in the lunar calendar on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. It is quite similar to All Souls Day, celebrated in Christian communities.
Fun Fact: To commemorate this day, people in Hoi An light little lanterns for their departed family members and set them adrift on the Hoài River.
9. Independence Day
Celebrating a nation’s independence marks a significant moment in that nation’s history, politics, or culture. In many countries, the origins of this celebration may be traced back to the nation’s founding. In Vietnam, the roots of this celebration may be traced back to 1945.
On September 2, 1945, flocks of people assembled at Ba Dinh Square in Hanoi to hear President Ho Chi Minh proclaim the Declaration of Independence. As the country’s first president, he declared Vietnam’s independence from French colonial rule. Ever since then, the Vietnamese have commemorated this historic event annually.
Vietnamese often take a day off work on this national holiday to recognize the historical importance of the occasion. Vietnam’s red flags are visible everywhere, illuminating the nation with cheery red colors and yellow stars, signaling the day’s optimistic tone.
Fun Fact: Ho Chi Minh is revered as the country’s greatest Prime Minister by many Vietnamese Nationalists. He is also Ho Chi Minh City’s namesake.
10. Trung Thu
Trung Thu, or the Mid-Autumn Festival, is observed on the eighth month of the lunar calendar. Historically, the celebration signifies the conclusion of the harvest season.
The celebration happens on a full moon, and hence, it’s also called Full Moon Festival. This holiday is a time to get together with family and friends. Like the Thanksgiving celebration in the United States.
Fun Fact: In the past, it was common for parents to spend time away from their kids as they worked in the fields. After the arduous labor of the harvest, they looked forward to this celebration as a chance to enjoy time with their children.
Guide To Vietnamese Holidays
Vietnamese public holidays are governed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’s recently amended Labor Code.
There are 17 national holidays recognized in Vietnam, and another ten are celebrated locally.
Tet and other holidays celebrating national sovereignty and religious freedom are major public holidays. Moreover, if a significant holiday in Vietnam comes on a weekend day, the following Monday is also a day off with pay.
Learn Vietnamese And Enjoy The Holidays
Vietnamese holidays are a time for celebration. Vietnamese people have a rich culture of traditions and customs, and they’re passionate about celebrating all their holidays. All you need to do is learn the language, and you’ll be able to join in on the fun!
Want to learn Vietnamese? Start learning today with our Ling app. This app is a great tool that allows you to learn Vietnamese while having fun! You can play games or take speaking and writing tests to practice pronunciation and vocabulary.
Download Ling App today in the App Store or Google Play and start learning Vietnamese to speak with the locals!