Festivals & Events
Within 3 days from 11th to 13th April, 2014, there will have a Ha Long “Sakura” festival 2014. This is the second time that “Sakura” festival is held in Ha Long city, Quang Ninh province, Vietnam.
A Japanese culture in Ha Long
This festival is organized by Ha Long City People’s Committee and Japan’s Wanokai International Culture Organization, together with many Japan and Vietnam’s units, organizations.
According to The Organizer, the festival’s main activities include: Opening ceremony and Vietnam –Japan Art Exchange Performance; Cherry blossom display and exhibition; Artwork exhibition about Japan culture and some heritage destination introduction. Moreover, there are almost 40 booths to introduce tourism products, culinary, souvenirs, ornamental creatures, specialties of Quang Ninh province and some areas of Japan.
There are also many activities such as Seminar about promoting the cooperation and tourism investment between Ha Long city and Japan; Japan’s cultural and art performances; creating some tours visiting around Quang Ninh province for Japanese delegations.
The Organizer said that they have prepared all infrastructures to welcome guests and hold the “Sakura” festival in Ha Long Park up to this point. The units are in hurry building necessary stages, sound and light systems.
This is the second time that “Sakura” festival is held in Ha Long city, Quang Ninh province, in order to push the cultural exchange, friendship and cooperation between Quang Ninh province and locals, organizations, units of Japan; introduce the image of “Sakura” – national flower and Japan culture to the people of Quang Ninh province.
The Organizing Committee hope that with this festival, Ha Long can be introduced its images, potential, strength and culture to the Japanese, especially the strengthening in investment promotion with the Japanese investors.
Ha Long “Sakura” festival 2014 is expected to open at 20:00 on April 11th at Ha Long Park (Ha Long city). This is also a huge culture activity in Ha Long Tourism Week’s activity chains.
On 18th April – 20th April, 2014, Truong Tien Bridge (a symbol of Hue city) will be “burned” by the light and fire installation art. This is the most free magnificent art show of this year…
Truong Tien Bridge - A Night of colors
The show is accompanied with the fire installation performance of the famous artist group “Carabosse” from France. The fire installation art is mainly based on the space design and conditions of the night show, so it requires a clear research and calculate as detail as possible for the best visual and aound affections for the show. At present, the ticket of art show at Hue Festival 2014 is announced by organizer from 100.000VND to 2.000.000VND/ticket (the palace and dinner party show).
Some images of previous Hue Festival
According to the organizer board of Hue Festival 2014, there are 68 art groups from 38 countries stating to participate, which include 17 Asian countries, 10 European countries, 8 American countries, 2 African countries and 1 Australia. To domestic units, accompany with art units of Thua Thien Hue, there will be performances of 14 art groups, music bands, free-lance artists of other provinces and cities.
The illustration image - Colorful light system
Two years ago, at Hue Festival 2012, the Carabosse “burns” the capital by fire art for the first time at Ky Dai, Ngo Mon square, Hien Nhon gate and Doan Thi Diem Street. Thousands of colorful fire lights, trains, fire balls, fire wires and the “THO” (meaning AGES) letters in fire that make Hue to have a unique night space, deep in colorful and remind of the golden past in the Nguyen Emperor’s palace with the lights of candles and torches.
Another image of Hue festival
Truong Tien Bridge (also called as Trang Tien brigde) includes 6 steel simply-supported beams in comb flange and aperture between each simply-supported beam 67 meters. Bridge range is 6 meters designed according to Gothic structure crossing over Huong River. The North of the bridge is belong to Phu Hoa ward and south of the bridge is in Phu Hoi ward, in the middle of Hue city.
To contribute more flavor to welcome the 2014 spring – the Horse year of Lunar calendar, Da Nang city People’s Committee has advocated to invest in the flower street.
Accordingly, the 2014 spring flower street is chosen to deploy along Bach Dang Street from Le Van Duyet crossroad to Dragon Bridge. There are 5 spots arranged in the whole lines, including 2 major highlights in the West of Dragon Bridge and the area in front of People’s Committee. There are 2 large flower clusters of apricot and cherry blossom in each spot, associated with the landscapes, stylized graphics about the countryside, community events, etc… and decorated with many kinds of fresh flowers. The major intersections in the city are also decorated with flower towers, flower spots. The use of flower resources, especially consuming fresh flower are provided by farmers of Hoa Vang district.
The flower street start from 27th December to 7th January of Lunar calendar (27th January to 6th February of normal calendar). Bach Dang Flower Street in Da Nang is another version of Nguyen Hue flower street – HCMC because there are many ideas and materials provided by Saigontourist.
The city focuses on decorating lighting system at Bach Dang Street, from Party Committee headquarters to Le Van Duyet Street with 6 lighting parts using LED technology. Some trees are designed to lighting at night. Another spot is in the west of Dragon Bridge, Nguyen Van Linh is decorated with 6 welcome gates with LED lighting effects, simulating 6 pairs of horses.
Located on the Tien river bank, Sa Dec town of Dong Thap, Tan Qui Dong is not only a the main clue transferring the famous flowers in the western but it also becomes a tourist attraction of many tourists.
Ho Chi Minh City toward the West, Sa Dec town is just 30km away from My Thuan bridge. There, you can easily ask a person for the way to Tan Qui Dong – 4km. Along to Tien river bank, Tan Qui Dong is known as the Sa Dec flower village with thousands kinds of flowers and plants.
Unlike the usual images of flower pots lined up, you will catch the picture of river on the Sa Dec flower fields. Flowers here are grown on a high platform and the bottom is water from canal. Tan Qui Dong people, therefore, sail the boat to care for and collect flowers instead of traveling in land as normal. You cannot easily find nowhere but Sa Dec flower village such an unique and poetic picture.
A view of flower village
Going here whenever in year, you are also deep in the world of colorful flowers. Tree and beautiful flowers around the world also gather to make Sa Dec picture more beautiful. Be a traditional flower village with more than a hundred years, it is also a place to attract guests because of a large rose garden with around 50 species.
Sa Dec Flower Village
If you are a rose lover, it is hard for you to miss dark red roses, Grada rose, purple lotuses, light pink Cleopatre, white rose Masseille and pink Elizabeth. Not stop at this, you will feel the light and comfortable atmosphere of thousands flowers.
Flowers are blossoming
Left flowers behind, Tan Qui Dong is also a land of rare plant with hundreds of years old. The transform of familiar trees such as star fruit, areca tree, apricot becoming a flower pot with a diversity shapes, makes guests surprised. If you want to find your favorite pot, you can go to the garden of Tu Ton, Van Phep, Tong Van Hue, Muoi Can, Nam Sam, Hai Huong craftsmen.
Another kind of flowers
If you buy flowers, you should go to nearby gardens or a rose garden cause of its beautiful and cheap. You should rent a motorbike to watch the flower village because there are some lanes that car not to be allowed. At Sa Dec, there is also some of famous tourist sites for sightseeing and taking photos. You can go to visit Huynh Thuy Le ancient house on Nguyen Hue Street or Kim Hue pagoda, Minh Huong is nearby.
Buy flower by boat
Next, specialty – noodle, Sa Dec is also famous for field crab hot spot on Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, receive many good feedbacks as Vietnamese saying “Delicious – Healthy – Reasonable”. On the other hand, there is also delicious food waiting for your discovery.
According to the plan, Hanoi will have total 29 places letting off fireworks, which consists of 5 places with 6 high level fireworks places and 24 low level fireworks places. Specifically, there are 5 places with 6 high level fireworks spots in Hoan Kiem lake (includes 1 spot in front of Hanoi Post Office and the other one before New Hanoi Newspaper Headquarters), Thong Nhat (Reunification) Park (Hai Ba Trung district), Lac Long Quan flower garden (Tay Ho district), Van Quan lake (Ha Dong district), My Dinh National Stadium (Tu Liem district).
Fireworks in Hoan Kiem lake - Hanoi
24 low level letting off fireworks places in districts such as Ba Dinh, Hoang Mai, Long Bien, Dong Da, Cau Giay, Thanh Xuan, Gia Lam, Me Linh, Ba Vi, Dan Phuong, Thach That, Chuong My, Thuong Tin, Quoc Oai, Phu Xuyen, My Duc, Ung Hoa, Dong Anh, Soc Son, Phuc Tho, Thanh Oai, Hoai Duc, Thanh Tri and Son Tay town. The location of low level fireworks displaying is identified by People’s Committee of districts and towns.
Time for firework shows is 15 minutes from 0:00 to 0:15 on January 31, 2014 (on Lunar New Year’s Eve 2014). Hanoi People’s Committee entrusts Hanoi High Command with chairing, combining with other departments and functional branches building and deploying plan to transport ammunition, firecrackers and fireworks held as planned.
This unit also coordinates with the City Police to closely direct fire patrolling, guarding, fire prevention, ensuring absolute safety before, during and after letting off fireworks.
All of Ho Chi Minh center route such as Le Duan, Dong Khoi, Nguyen Hue, Le Loi, etc are full of people and vehicles going to welcome early Christmas.
Full of people at Saigon
In the evening 23rd Dec, when the city starts with colorful lights, many vehicles from all street routes going to the main street in center which is decorated with flowers and colorful lights.
Crowded on the street
Late in the night, more and more people coming to this place too crowed that the downtown breathless. On Nguyen Hue, Le Loi, a full of people is so crowded that other vehicles can go through easily. Although the outside weather is just 19-200 C, the body is nearly all wet in sweat.
Nice decoration for christmas
The police are many on the street to guide vehicle as well as keep the traffic order and safety for everybody. And, some of the merry time pictures before Christmas day at Ho Chi Minh as below:
Pictures of Christmas at Saigon
In order to welcome The 2014 New Year, the “Hue imperial city” site reservation center co-ordinates with the Hue’s Tourism Association and Hotel Association opening “The Golden Week of Tourism at Hue heritage” season 3 from 24th Dec to 30th Dec, 2013.
The show bases on responding of the stimulating tourism program of Thua Thien Hue in 2013, the 10 year-ceremony of Hue royal court music (Nha Nhac Cung Dinh Hue) was recognized as “the intangible cultural heritage” presenting for human and 20 years ceremony of Hue ancient capital was awarded as the world heritage by UNESCO.
Minh Mang Tomb
With “The Tourism Golden Week at Hue’s heritage”, visitors will have many new good experiences at the palace, the old citadel and rampart of the old capital. Besides, you can have a chance to welcome the 2014 New Year with many memories and deep impression on it.
In this week, you – visitors and tourism companies taking guests to visit Hue’s heritages will receive some good promotions such as 20% discount sightseeing tickets of heritage sites (each sites or a group of 3 sites) for the corporate guests from 10 people up (buy 10 – 2 free). Buying sightseeing tickets of 3 sites (palace, Khai Dinh tomb, Minh Mang tomb), you will be free from the rest of other sites (Thieu Tri tomb, Tu Duc tomb, and Hon Chen temple.
Luc performace for workshiping the festival Flower galands and coloured lanterns
Visitors will be discount of 50% ticket price of the Nha Nhac performance at Duyet Thi Duong theatre in the afternoon and evening. Free presentation at royal palace for the group of 20 people up, free visiting heritages for group of students of universities, colleges in or out of town (introduction letter of school); discount 50% of pick-up car for sightseeing around palace area, and reduce the rate of services (souvenirs, soft drinks,…) in sites inside Hue heritage.
Nha Nhac performance
Besides, visitors will enjoy some inclusive benefits for culture service activities: Exhibiting work of art with the subject “Hue and moments” at the Lang Forbidden City – the Hue royal (opening on morning of 24th Dec); Nha Nhac performance (discount 50% ticket price) in the evening at Duyet Thi Duong (Hue royal) on 24th, 26th, 28th Dec from 7:00pm – 7:45pm.
Especially, the “Hue imperial city” site reservation center occasionally awards some prizes such as the special prize for the 2.000.000th guest – cost of 1.999.900 and the 2.000.100 visiting Hue’s heritages in 2013. The prize is for 3 tourism companies taking guests to Hue’s heritage most in 2013.
Guests under the rain to sightseeing Hue's heritages
Other remarkable activities in “The Tourism Golden Week at Hue’s heritage” will be a meeting conference for partner as the tourism company of Hue’s heritages with the participate of tourism company and tourism services in all the country on 30th Dec, 2013 at Duyet Thi Duong theatre (from 3:00pm – 5:00pm) and guest participating the conference will be invited to enjoy the party at Co Ha garden (Hue royal) with interesting performances with the title “4 Love Seasons”, combining to ao dai performance “Hue Graceful” and hue’s cuisine art (6:00pm – 8:30pm on the same night).
The spectacular performances:
Pioneer in creation of ranking events, this year festival, the world high-ranking brand in beer – Heineken will continue bringing to Vietnamese fans a brand new experience with the spectacular art and musical performance and light peak combining with the unique flower festival of 5 continents at the Crescent lake, (District 7, Ho Chi Minh City) on the 31st December night.
Heineken festival for New Year 2014
Be situated at the center of Phu My Hung and be attracted by the young Saigonese, at that time – the crescent, the preparation is in the rushing complement level to bring fans an event welcoming the most exciting new year 2014. On the 31st December night, the center of the crescent will sparklingly shine with a big floating star made by the thousands of colorful water jet system. Using the first-class hi-tech of the world with the impressive laser performance and the crazy electrical music, the art-musical performance will promise to you many good experience through the special event.
The wonderful performance for New Year 2014
More wonderfully, the total area around the crescent will be surrounded by the green color, the attractive music and especially, the eventful atmosphere will shock thousands of participants with the unforgettable moments welcoming a new year.
5 continents converge in the impressive welcoming the new year
In the colorful space of the crescent, the convoys presenting for 5 continents with 100 artists presenting with fabulous dressing will give citizen (Saigonese) a jubilant atmosphere of the globe‘s festival. This is the first program gathering the record of the Vietnamese and International artists participating in the welcoming the new year. The top international artists presenting for the continents such as the famous DJ – Azam, the beautiful singer – Andrea D, the violinist – Sima from European, the Percussions – Scott Brantley (Australia), rapper and MC – Justin Mutar (USA) and especially with the present of acrobat coming from the famous Cirque du Soleil group will bring the international-class performances.
The art and musical performance
Besides, the top star of showbiz Viet such as Ho Ngoc Ha, Ha Anh Tuan, Minh Hang, Bao Anh, Trang Phap, rapper Antoneus Maximus, etc. will be a promise for exploring the air of the festival with hit songs. Accompany with the laser performance and crazy electrical music, the artists will bring an eventful music party making the thousands of Vietnamese audiences be crazy in the exciting welcoming the New Year.
Also on the 31st December night, at the opera house, the young hanoian will also be wallowed in the international-class festival and shocked with the perfect combination between the ranking music of DJ Tenishia , DJ Ruben De Ronde and the orchestra Rhapsody Philharmonic with the spectacular light performances.
Another event for welcoming New Year
Surprisingly, at the end moment of the 2013 year, thousands of Saigonese and Hanoian will receive the special gift from DJ number 1 of the world – Armin Van Buuren. He will give a greeting - Happy New Year to Vietnamese audiences through the special video clip. A festival of welcoming an impressive and creative New Year will be a meaningful present for Vietnamese fans and it is a wonderful greeting for New Year 2014.
Bo Bao Tan Thang Street in Tan Phu – Ho Chi Minh City from 1st Jan – 14th Feb is deep in the colorful light from 500.000 led lights combining with the scene of Nhat Ban’s 4 seasons. On 1st Jan, the light show starts “the colorful Japan” for a half of month at Bo Bao Tan Thang Street.
4 themes for 4 seasons
The large green park is classified into four theme areas with 4 seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. Each area is beautiful and splendid in its ways to bring different feelings in each place to those who come to this park.
Spring area with the pink color mainly attracts guest taking photos
The lake in the middle is selected to design so the parks summer area is with the theme “the Summer light waves Performance"
The splendid of the sea is reappeared with magical lights
The fall area with the splendid red color
The entrance is salient with a collection of red birch leaves
The winter area
Within a half of months from the date 1st Jan – 14th Feb at 6 P.M to 10 P.M, there are 8 light performance shows combining with music kind
Teenagers like taking photos for memory
Kids is playing in the park
The light technique system is operated by Japanese specialist
The seats are set along the way and covered by colorful light
The lake contrasts to the sparkling light beauty
All area is deep into the mystery color
The event "500.000 light presenting 4 colorful seasons at Ho Chi Minh City" is another event to attract many people to relax and enjoy the colorful scene of professional light system by Japanese specialists for welcoming Tet - one of the biggest festival of Vietnam.
Phu Giay is the name of relics complex in Kim Thai commune, Vu Ban district, Nam Dinh province. Phu Giay relics are not a beautiful architecture amongst the Vietnamese religious architecture system. However, the culture of the Nguyen dynasty is still bold in Phu Giay. There are two big temples in Phu Giay: one is a temple located in Van Cat village and the other one is in Tien Huong village.
Phu Giay Festival dance performance
The festival lasts in 10 days, from the 1st day to the 10th day of the third lunar month. On these days, there is a procession which is also the most important ceremony. Everybody attends to the procession, from the older to the younger, from the rich to the poor, all of them are excited and enthusiastic. In the procession, there are dragon dance, lion dance, martial art dance, etc and six colorful dragons. Especially, there are 3 dragons which are made by thousands of balloons with 3 simple colors: red, yellow, blue are symbolize for “Tam Hoa Thanh Mau”. Coming to this festival, visitors will not only hear the musical sound from “chau van” melodies from everywhere but also can attend to play many traditional games.
Phu Giay festival is a traditional activity of Vietnamese people. Through this festival, people can express their feelings, their aspirations; temporarily forget their worries in life to enjoy the festival.
On mid - autumn festival, Vietnamese people usually make offering tray including moon cakes, candies, fruit, etc; they also make or buy lanterns for their children. However, this is also an occasion for people to give away boxes of moon cakes for their friends, their colleagues, etc to send their wishes.
In the north of Vietnam, there is a singing “Trong quan” performance on mid - autumn festival. Female and male sing duets and beat a string stretched on an empty tank to make sounds like “thinh thung thinh” to make beats for songs.
In addition, on this day, Vietnamese also do the lion dance to pray for good things. A group performing lion dances usually has a person who wears a lion head made of paper and dance as lion’s gestures. On the other hand, the lion’s tail which made of colorful fabric is hold by someone else following to the beats.
No one knows the origin of the mid - autumn festival but it still become one of special festivals of Vietnam.
To prepare for this festival, people had to buy, raise and train buffalos months ago. A buffalo for fighting has to have a wide chest, a big groin, a long neck, an acute bottom, bow shaped horns, etc. They have to be more than 4 years old and are raised separately to keep them from contacting to common buffalos.
Two buffs are fighting
Starting the festival is a ceremony which occurs from the morning to noon. Next is a unique procession with twelve mighty men carrying a large palanquin, following are six buffalos washed cleanly, worn red fabrics on their backs and wrapped pink ribbons around their horns. Later, there will be a flag dancing performance of twenty four young men dancing as they are in a battle of two troops fighting. When the performance is done, a pair of buffalos will be led to two flags which are called “Ngu Phung” are opposite sides of the festival grounds. After two whistling signals, two buffalos will fight each other with many skilled movements while thousands of audiences cheer and shout outside. There are some battles lasting only few minutes but some can last for more than hours. After each battle will be “receiving buffalos” performance which is also really dangerous.
Do Son Buffalo fighting Festival
From a long time, the buffalo fighting festival is a festival associating with worshiping god of water custom and scarified custom. But most of all, it shows martial spirit of people in Do Son – Hai Phong province.
Long tong festival is a traditional ceremony of Tay, Nung and Dao ethnic groups occurring from 4th to 10th of the first lunar month. The purpose of Long Tong festival is praying for all the good things, playing traditional games, dancing.
First, they set up a three-layer shelf made by bamboo in the middle of a large field. This is also a place to put offerings to worship gods: god of agriculture, god of soil, etc.
On this day, when the sun rising is also the time that the procession bring offering trays to the place where the ceremony is hold. Leading the procession are seven mighty men with a branch of tree in their hands swinging while going. This action believed to chase away miasmas, bad luck. Followed are lion dances, priests and 9 girls with offering trays on their heads. The ceremony includes thanksgiving ritual, praying ritual of happiness and prosperity. One artisan who has the most reputable amongst villagers will be the leader of the ceremony. In the ceremony, he has to read “So cao lan kham” to worship the sun, gods to pray for good things next year.
After the ceremony, everybody will gather to play traditional games such as “con” throwing, dragging-on, cooking contest, singing and dancing contest, etc.
“Vu Lan” Festival annually is held on the middle day of July in lunar calendar. On these days, Vietnamese people usually go to pagodas to express their love and their grateful to their ancestor, their parents. In the morning of that day, Vietnamese people will make dishes to worship ancestor, burn incense to invite their ancestor come back home and enjoy meals with family.
Many Buddhists go to pagodas to worship and pray for the good things. After beating drums, the “Vu Lan” festival begins; many monks, Buddhists sit in a hall and listen to the “Vu Lan” sutra read by a head monk. After chanting, everybody will eat together vegetarian meals.
On this day, when people go to pagodas, they usually wear a rose on their shirt: the red color for people who still have mothers and the white color for people who do not have mothers. The red rose remind to anyone who still have mothers that they have to treat their parents well because it is the biggest luckiness they have on this life. To people who have white roses, it is a reminder that they shall never forget their parents.
“Huong” pagoda is far from Ha Noi Capital 60 km to the west. This pagoda attracts visitors not only by its gorgeous landscape but also by its historical relics. One of oldest antiques in “Huong” pagoda is the brass bell named “Bao Dai Huong Tich Son Hong Chung”. This bell is currently hanging in Huong Tich cave. Visitors can come to Huong pagoda on foot or by boat, etc.
Boats of pilgrims to visit Huong Pagoda in the festival
On the way to Huong pagoda, to enjoy beautiful landscapes, visitors often choose boats. Along Yen stream, one side is a magnificent lime-stone mountain and one side is a vast of green rice paddy. Those beautiful landscapes contribute to create a wonderful picture of nature in spring.
Huong Pagoda is crowded in the festival
From “Yen” harbor, visitors will go to the first pier to visit the “Thien Tru” pagoda which is known as “a heaven kitchen”. On the right side is Tien Son cave with a lot of stalactites and five stone statues. Moving to deep inside where ancient Huong Tich cave located, visitors can contemplate beautiful sights such as “Giai Oan” pagoda, “Cua Vong” pagoda, “Tuyet Kinh” cave, etc.
Before the race few months, elephants are taken to a place where trees and grasses are abundant to eat fully. When the festival comes, elephants from different villages will gather at Don Village at sparse forests which is near Serepok River to prepare for the race.
Each elephant is ridden by 2 riders which are called as “mo-grat” according to local language. Two riders wearing colorful costumes like generals in the past are ready for the race. One of these riders will ride the elephant by a sharp iron stick which is long about 1 meter called “kreo” to speed up the elephant. Another rider sitting behind uses a wood hammer which will hit the back of this elephant to make it runs fast and straight.
The elephants are awaiting inline for the race
Those elephants will stand abreast about ten or more, after a salute of “tu va” (a kind of trumpet of Tay Nguyen natives), they will stand up quickly and start running ahead as fast as they can. The more enthusiastically audiences cheer, the fast elephants run. Normally, the length of the common race is about 400 or 500 meters and the long race are 1 or 2 kilometers.
Two elephants are fighting in the race
When one of those elephants crosses the finish line, it will be cheered by audiences, by the repeated sound of drums, gongs. Elephants which are winners will be given bananas, sugar canes, etc and the riders will be rewarded a pig with 7 jars of precious wine.
Coming to this place, visitors will have an opportunity to enjoy the famous gongs art, the elephant race, imposing landscapes, local dishes, etc.
Hung King festival is held at the Hung King temple which is a general name of many temples worshipping Hung King and his family. Hung King temple is located at “Nghia Linh” mountain – Phu Tho province. Hung King Festival is a traditional festival of Vietnamese. It occurs from 9th to 11th of the third lunar month but the main day is 10th. This festival is hold to express Vietnamese people’s veneration to Hung King and the traditional morality of Vietnamese nation “when you drink from the stream, remember the source”.
The festival has two parts: the ceremony and the party.
The ceremony is hold formally with offerings such as: a pig, a cow, a goat, “banh chung”, “banh day”, colorful sticky rice. After the bronze drum performance, the ceremony begins. Under guides of the leader of the festival, dignitaries will officiate.
After the ceremony, villagers will organize many folk games such as: “danh du”- bamboo swings, throwing “con”, rice cooking competitions, lion dance, human chess, water puppet performance, wrestling, crossbow shooting, etc. Annually, on these days, processions competition will be hold between villages. If one of villages is a winner this year will be responsible for the procession to “Thuong” temple next year.
Through many periods of history, Hung King festival is still hold every year. It demonstrates that Vietnamese people always think about their origin. This festival not only shows a culture imbued with national identity but also is a powerful demonstration for the bravery of Vietnamese in the past.
In the beginning of December, in rural areas as well as urban areas, everybody starts preparing for Tet holidays. They buy food to save for these days, they also buy glutinous rice, mung bean, pork and other ingredients to make “banh Chung” (a Square glutinous rice cake), “banh Tet”, etc. In addition, they make onion pickles, vegetable pickles;
Making rice cakes
Everybody is in a rush to get new haircut, new clothes, new paintings, fireworks as well as jams, fruit, candies, etc; they also decorate their houses; clean altars, etc.
Most of Vietnamese families only prepare for 3 days of Tet holiday. However, especially wealthier families, they prepare for months before Tet.
In the middle of December, streets, markets start lively. On these days, jams, candies, fruit, watermelons, clothes, etc are sold abundantly, watermelons are piled up highly. Especially, on days near Tet holiday, you can easily see old men with gray hair, gray beard writing parallel sentences for Tet on red papers at a corner of streets or markets.
Sweet candies, jams and seeds on the shelf in a market
Farewell ceremony for the Kitchen God
This is one of traditional activities on Tet holiday. Everybody sees off kitchen gods by fruit, candies, tea, fireworks, etc , According to Vietnamese legends, on 23th of December, kitchen gods will ride carps to the heaven to report to Jade Emperor what happens on the earth during the past year.
New Year tree, apricot blossom, rice cakes, fireworks
The first icon of Tet is New Year tree or Cay Neu in Vietnamese. In the countryside, the New Year tree is a piece of a bamboo five or six yards long is stripped bare excerpt for a little bunch of leaves. Near the top is suspended around bamboo frame holding a few little fish and bells made of baked clay that tinkle softly in the wind. Beneath this frame are votive gifts and some thorny branches. At the top of the New Year tree, a small kerosene lamp is lit at night. The purpose of New Year tree is scared away evil and show the way for the ancestor’s spirits who came back from other world to enjoy New Year with the living.
Fireworks on New Year's Eve
The second icon is apricot flowers or peach flowers. The yellow color of apricot blossom is the special color of Tet in the southern and the pink color of peach blossom often seen in the north of Vietnam. These flowers only bloom on spring, if you see the yellow color of apricot blossom or the pink of peach blossom, it means Tet has come.
The third icon of Tet is a “Square glutinous rice cake”. This is a special dish we cannot forget on Tet holiday.
The last icon of Tet is fireworks. The sound of fireworks which is like a spring greetings makes people feel excited.
Parties at the end of year
In cities, people usually hold parties to meet, to talk, and to give each other wishes of good luck before they go home.
Giving away red envelopes (filled with lucky money) to wish for luck
Giving the lucky money
This is one of beautiful Vietnamese customs which has been maintained for generations. The meaning of this practice is express descendant’s filialness to older people. The red envelopes symbolize luck and wealth
This greeting ritual and Li Xi is also known as Mung Tuoi, honoring the achievement of another year to one's life.
In the morning of the first day of lunar New Year, everybody will get dressed politely and give each other nice words, good advice. People who have jobs will give red envelopes to children or to their parents, their grandparents to wish luckiness for New Year.
In addition, Vietnamese people have some abstinence from sweeping, talking, etc.
Visitors come to this festival to enjoy “quan ho” singing performances between female singers (called “lien chi” in Vietnamese) and male singers (called “lien anh” in Vietnamese). On this day, singers wear traditional costumes, female singers are beautiful in four-panel traditional dresses (“ao tu than”) and “quai thao” hat, male singers are elegant in “ao the” and “khan xep”. They sing many different types of traditional folk songs in many ways and in many places such as: singing behind pagoda, singing on hill, singing on boat, singing love duets in pair (one male – one female), etc.
“Quan ho” is a traditional folk song of “Kinh Bac” region in the past and now is Bac Ninh province. The “Kinh Bac” region is the land not only for martial art but also for literature. There are many beautiful festivals, singing performances, etc are held on this land but nothing causes a deep imprint as Lim festival. It can be said that Lim festival is the most unique festival of the “Kinh Bac” region.
People are singing "Quan ho"
Like other festivals, Lim festival has a procession, a ceremony and many traditional games such as: wrestling, human chess, cooking competition, bamboo swings, etc but the most important and basic of this festival is singing such as: songs for betel invitation (“ hat moi trau”), songs to call wherries ( “hat goi do”), “con sao sang song”, “con nhen giang mung”, etc. Over 300 years, Lim festival still exists till nowadays, it became an important cultural – art activity of Bac Ninh province in particular and Viet Nam in general.
Ok Om Bok festival or “Phochia Praschanh som paes khee” festival is a ceremony which is hold to worship the moon. This festival is held on 15th of october lunar month annually. To prepare for the worshiping the moon ceremony, Khmer people make bamboo gate which is decorated with flowers, leaves and under the gate, they put a table with many offerings such as: flatted green rice, sweet potatoes, bananas, candies, etc and a teapot. Amongst those offerings, flatted green rice is the most important offering and it cannot be missed in the ceremony.
Starting the festival is a wherry competition (“Um Tuk Ngua”). The length of wherry is about 24 meters, the width is about 1,2 meters, it made of “sao” tree- stalk, and it looks like Nagar – the snake god – the mascot of Khmer people. The wherry (“ghe ngo”) is considered as the precious thing to Khmer people and it is only used on important ceremonies. Nowadays, the wherry competition is known as the common festival of Kinh – Khmer – Chinese.
In Ok Om Bok festival, Khmer people also launch lanterns into the air. Lanterns are made of bamboo frames, covered by paper shell with an opening bottom. Big lanterns which are released to float into the sky make the view become romantic and beautiful. Khmer people believe it will bring all woes, bad luck away. Ok Om Bok festival is an important traditional culture of Khmer people; it has reflected their richly spiritual life from generation to generation.
Hai Ba Trung temple is located in Me Linh commune, Me Linh district, Ha Noi. It was designed in an ancient architectural style and it is also the place worshiping two famous female generals of Vietnam – Trung Trac and Trung Nhi who rode elephants and led their troops to defeat Chinese invaders. Hai Ba Trung temple or Dong Nhan temple is built in 1142 after the event about two statues of “Trung Trac” and “Trung Nhi” which are made of stone floating along the Red river and drifting on shore, those statues shines “Dong Nhan” beach brightly in the night of the 6th day of the second lunar month.
Hai Ba Trung Temple at Me Linh, Vinh Phuc
Hai Ba Trung Temple Festival occurs annually from the 3th day to the 6th day of the second lunar month. The festival starts by an opening temple ceremony on the 3th day. In the morning of the 4th day, villagers start a “nhap tich” ceremony and the main day of the festival is on 5th day. On this day, there are a washing statues ceremony and dancing repertoires. The 6th day will be the day for vegetarian offerings.
Hai Ba Trung festival
After ceremonies is a dancing with lights performance. Dancers usually are from 10 to 12 years old and all of them are trained well. They wear black “ao dai”, pink pants, red belts with colorful silk scarf on their heads. Each dancer holds two lamps which are made of wood with colorful papers stickled around and inside is a lighted candle.
When visitors attend this festival, they will not only learn more about Vietnamese historical stories but also have an occasion to contemplate the ancient beauty of Hat Mon temple where worshipping “Hai Ba Trung”. Nowadays, Hai Ba Trung temple festival has become one of special traditional festivals still existing in Vietnam.
Saint “Giong” festival at Phu Dong village occurs on 8th day and 9th day of the fourth lunar month. The procession with thousands of people starts from “Mau” temple to “Thuong” temple on the first day of the festival to describe the strength of Saint “Giong”’s troops. Other while, at the end of “Dong Vien” village, there are 28 women pretending to be enemy generals array. After 3 pretended battles, villagers will beat drums, gongs to celebrate the victory.
Saint "Giong" temple
Saint “Giong” festival at Soc Son temple occurs from 6th to 8th of the first lunar month with full of traditional ceremonies. On these days, there are many traditional games such as: wrestling, cock fighting, playing chess, singing, etc.
Saint "Giong" Festival
Saint “Giong” festival is a Vietnamese traditional festival preserved from generation to generation. It is one of festivals organized largely and still keeps Vietnamese culture, beliefs.
According to legends, Hon Chen is the place where The Holy Mother “Y A Na” appears to save humanity. Hon Chen which is known as Ngon Tran is a low mountain; it starts from “Truong Son” range to the brink of Huong river where the peak of Ngoc Tran mountain is located. The ancient people chose Ngoc Tran mountain to build a temple. There is a large hole at the top of the “Ngoc Tran mountain, when the sky rains, it makes the hole looking like a huge bowl. This is also the reason why villagers call Ngoc Tran mountain as Hon Chen mountain
Hon Chen temple
Nobody knows when Hon Chen temple built but the ancient Cham people worshiped here a long time ago. On these days, the procession is held on boats which are composite together are decorated beautiful. The ceremony is really solemn and people who attend wear colorful costumes. The orchestra sings many “chau van” songs to praise merits of the Holy Mother “Y A Na”. The devotees walk around, sing and dance in colorful costumes. All of them create a sacred atmosphere.
Boats on Huong river
Nowadays, Hon Chen temple is known not only as a religious relic but also as a beautiful landscape of Hue city. On the main day of the festival, there are more than hundreds of boats on Huong river gather to attend this festival and it gradually becomes a folk activity which is special of Hue.
Annually, when “Ban” flowers start blooming, the weather becomes warmer after spring rains; it is also the time for Thai ethnic group to organize Ban flower festival.
“Ban” Flower Festival is hold to pray for the blessing from God and it usually occurs on the second lunar month.
“Thai” people think that “Ban” flower is the symbol of love, filial piety and gratefulness.
From the beginning on the first day of the festival, the sound of drums, gongs echoes through forests, mountains. Everybody begins cooking dishes, preparing wine for their banquets. Both men and women dress nicely and go to forests having many blooming “Ban” flowers. They choose the most beautiful flowers branch to give to their lovers, their parents.
"Ban" festival dance performance
On the first day, there is a procession from a biggest house of village to a temple where the sacrificial ceremony takes place. At this place, a buffalo will be scarified and everybody will dance around following the sound of drums, gongs till midnight.
The second day is the day for shooting musket game. The winner will have a big banquet and take responsibility of protecting the village.
On the last day – the third day, everybody will play many traditional games such as: throwing “Con”, singing, etc.
"Ban" festival night activities
On these days, there are many singing contests occurring on “Da” river, “Ma” river. Girls sitting on small boats with “Ban” flowers branches start singing Vietnamese folk songs to express their feelings while guys not only sail boats but also play instruments. From this festival, many love stories and many couples are formed.
Yen Tu mountain is situated far away from “Uong Bi” town (Quang Ninh province) about 14 km. In history, “Yen Tu” mountain had another name which is “Bach Van Son” because its shape looks like a huge elephant.
People climb on Yen Tu mountain to visit the pagoda
With the height over 1000 m, “Yen Tu” mountain has an imposing beauty between vast fields of north-eastern mountains. In Yen Tu, there is a 3 stories tower made of stone is the oldest one.
The origin of Yen Tu festival is still a mystery. However, in the 17 – 18 century, at the top of “Yen Tu” mountain, there was a pagoda with a bronze roof. In the pagoda, there were 2 bronze statues, a large flat stone called Fairy Chessboard and a large Buddhist letter carved in to a cliff. All of them express the holy, the mystery and the magical attraction of Yen Tu. Nowadays, the old pagoda does not exist anymore.
Yen Tu pagoda
With the average time of climbing is 3 hours, the road leading to the top of Yen Tu mountain is like a challenge to verify people’s devotion to the Buddha. When they come to the Dong pagoda, people following the Buddha feel satisfied just like they are in Buddhist place.
On the festival, in thousands of people flock to Yen tu, some people want to express their faith in the Buddha and pray for good things. Some admire the wise and noble of the Buddha and some just want to enjoy spring views, fresh air.
Anyone who comes to Yen Tu festival will feel overwhelmed by the wonder of nature with the spiritual value.
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