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Festival & Annual Events in Vietnam

Vietnam has a plethora of festivals based on the lunar calendar, the most important being the Tet New Year celebration. Expressing reverence, maintaining ancient traditions, remembering dead heroes, commemorating important events, demonstrating sporting abilities, or simply entertaining the community, Vietnamese culture has a long tradition of colourful festivals.

Beyond the national events, listed below, many local festivals take place throughout the year around the country. These can feature puppet shows, folk songs, traditional music, local dances, wrestling, rowing, rice cooking, rope pulling, rope climbing, chess playing, cockfights, buffalo fights, and pigeon races.

There are also scores of regional festivals, often jointly celebrated by collections of villages. Many ethnic groups also celebrate festivals.

With a history that dates back thousands of years, the Tet festival was originally a celebration held by Vietnamese farmers to thank the gods for the arrival of spring, sometime between late January or early February. Although officially a three-day affair, festivities may continue for a week or more with every effort made to indulge in eating, drinking, and enjoyable social activities. It is also a time for family reunions, and for paying respect to ancestors and the elders. Gifts of food are made to friends, neighbours and relatives in the days before Tet.

Hai Ba Trung Day is on the 6th day of the second lunar month (in March) commemorating the revolt of the Trung Sisters against the Chinese in 40 AD is celebrated. Also in March is the Holiday of the Dead (Thanh Minh). Homage is paid to deceased ancestors and relatives by making solemn visits to graves, with offerings of food, flowers, and incense. The graves are normally cleaned and tidied a few days prior.

The 30th of April (Liberation Day) marks the fall of Saigon in 1975, and the final victory of the North Vietnamese Army.

Summer Solstice Day (Doan Ngu) is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth moon (May) when offerings are made to the spirit world and to ward off pestilence and disease.

The essence of Tet-Trung-Thu, celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month (August), is to promote education, culture, music, sports, arts and crafts, and poetry. Beginning at noon and ending at midnight, the festival includes folklore displays, children's games, lantern processions, performing shows, dances, martial arts demonstrations, arts and crafts exhibitions, food and drink booths, multicultural performances, essays, drawing and coloring contests. Delicacies include moon cakes, sticky rice, fruits and various sweets.

Also celebrated in August is the Day of All Wandering Souls (Trung Nguyen). The spirits of the dead are believed to frequent the residence of their offspring on this day. Food is offered on house altars for the souls of the deceased, and fake paper money is burnt in their honour. There are also celebrations in Buddhist temples.





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