Each year, Vietnam celebrates about 9,000 local and national festivals throughout the country. The first month of the Lunar New Year is a great time for tourists to take part in these traditional festivals and get up close with Vietnamese culture tour.
If you travel to Northern Vietnam during this period, do not miss the opportunity to explore top unique festivals below. Let’s join a cultural tour in Vietnam and enjoy it!
1. Yen Tu Festival
The mountainous region of Yen Tu located in Quang Ninh Province has been a center of Buddhism for centuries. This place comprises majestic mountains, ancient pagodas, and shrines. If you travel to Quang Ninh in February, do not miss the chance to join a Vietnam culture tour and visit Yen Tu festival, which is one of the biggest spring spiritual festivals in Vietnam.
It is held from the 9th day of the first lunar month to the third lunar month. Visitors come to Yen Tu to show their belief, pray for lucks and health to themselves and their family. From the foot of the mountain, pilgrimages have to trek about 30 km to reach the pagoda. Once you reach Dong Pagoda, which was built on the top of the mountain at nearly 1.100 meters above sea level, you can admire the fascinating scenery and enjoy the pure atmosphere in here. The opening ceremony also offers lion dances, drums, and bell beats.
Yen Tu Festival
2. Lim Festival
The Lim Festival is held in Lim village, Bac Ninh province, which is located 18 km from Hanoi. Lim Festival features all the ritual stages, including the procession, worshipping ceremony, and other entertaining activities.
Every year, on the 13th day of the first lunar month, thousands of visitors come here to watch performances of "Quan Ho” – traditional folk songs performed by both men and women singers. They will sing different types of songs covering various topics like greetings, exchanging love sentiments, etc on the hills, in the pagodas, and in the boats.
Besides enjoying Quan Ho performances, visitors can watch the weaving competition of the Noi Due girls. This festival also celebrated some interesting traditional temple games such as cock-fighting, wrestling, swinging, human chess, water puppetry and lion dances.
Singing Quan Ho in Lim Festival
3. Perfume Pagoda Festival
The Perfume Pagoda is the most famous Buddhist pilgrimage site in Vietnam, welcoming numerous numbers of pilgrims to come and pray for a happy and prosperous year ahead. On the 6th day of the first lunar month, The Perfume Pagoda Festival is celebrated and it lasts for three months.
Like other festivals in Vietnam, Perfume Pagoda Festival has two parts: the ceremonies and the entertaining activities. Ceremonial rituals consist of incense offering and Zen ceremony. The entertaining activities include climbing mountain, exploring holy caves, enjoying a boat cruise along Yen Stream, etc. Then tourists will climb hundreds of stone steps towards Huong Tich Cave, featuring a colorful display of food offerings, lit incenses, statues of deities, and praying locals.
Traditional performance in Perfume Pagoda Festival
4. Keo Pagoda Festival
Keo Pagoda, located in Thai Binh Province, is one of the most famous ancient pagodas in Vietnam. The Keo Pagoda Festival is celebrated on the 4th day of the first lunar month. The festival attracts a large number of local people as well as tourists to come each year. Besides the ceremony, there are various entertainment contests and activities of the agricultural population like throwing firecrackers, catching ducks, and cooking.
Buddhist offerings in Keo Pagoda Festival
5. Giong Temple Festival
Giong Temple Festival begins annually on the 6th day of the first lunar month in Soc Son Temple, Phu Linh Commune, Soc Son District, Hanoi to dedicate Saint Giong, a great hero of Vietnam.
Giong Temple Festival in Soc Son Temple
The legend has it that after defeating the invaders, Giong Saint stopped at Soc Mountain then flew to the sky. Many traditional rituals performed during the festival like Moc Duc ceremony, the Elephant procession incense offering ceremony, the ritual of bathing saint’s statue and bamboo flowers offering ceremony to the Thuong Temple where is dedicated to the Saint Giong. Then hundreds of participants will perform the legendary battles of Saint Giong.
There are many other interesting things for you to do in there like participate in traditional games such as human chess, Chinese chess, cockfighting or enjoy folk song performances of villagers like Cheo or Quan Ho.