Vietnam’s rich tapestry of traditions and festivals is woven with centuries-old customs, vibrant ceremonies, and colorful celebrations that reflect the country’s diverse cultural heritage and spiritual beliefs. From the lively festivities of Tet Nguyen Dan (Lunar New Year) to the solemn rituals of Hung Kings’ Temple Festival, experiencing Vietnamese traditions and festivals up close offers travelers a unique opportunity to witness the beauty, depth, and resilience of the country’s cultural identity. In this article, we’ll explore some of Vietnam’s most iconic traditions and festivals, inviting you to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Vietnamese culture.

Tet Nguyen Dan (Lunar New Year)

Tet Nguyen Dan, or Lunar New Year, is the most important and widely celebrated festival in Vietnam, marking the beginning of the lunar calendar and heralding the arrival of spring. The festivities typically last for several days and are characterized by colorful decorations, lively street parades, and family gatherings. Locals pay homage to their ancestors by visiting temples and ancestral altars, offering prayers, and burning incense. Traditional customs such as giving lucky money in red envelopes (li xi), preparing special holiday dishes, and displaying peach blossom trees and kumquat plants symbolize prosperity, good fortune, and the renewal of life.


Mid-Autumn Festival (Tet Trung Thu)

The Mid-Autumn Festival, known as Tet Trung Thu in Vietnamese, is a joyous celebration that takes place on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, when the moon is at its fullest and brightest. Families come together to enjoy mooncakes, a sweet delicacy filled with lotus seed paste or salted egg yolks, and participate in lantern parades and traditional lion dances. Children carry colorful lanterns shaped like animals, fruits, and mythical creatures, while families gather for outdoor picnics and moon-viewing parties. The Mid-Autumn Festival is a time for reunion, gratitude, and expressing love and appreciation for family and friends.

Hung Kings’ Temple Festival

The Hung Kings’ Temple Festival, held annually on the 10th day of the third lunar month, honors the legendary Hung Kings, the mythical founders of the Vietnamese nation. The festival is centered around the Hung Temple in Phu Tho province, where pilgrims gather to pay tribute to the nation’s ancestors and pray for blessings and prosperity. Traditional rituals such as incense offerings, dragon boat races, and folk performances highlight the cultural significance of the festival and foster a sense of national pride and unity among the Vietnamese people.

Huong Pagoda Festival

The Huong Pagoda Festival, also known as the Perfume Pagoda Festival, is one of Vietnam’s most revered religious events, drawing pilgrims and tourists from far and wide to the Huong Tich Cave in Ha Tay province. The festival takes place from the first to the third lunar month and involves a journey to the sacred pagoda complex nestled amidst limestone mountains and lush forests. Visitors embark on a scenic boat ride along the Yen Stream, hike up the mountainside to the pagoda, and participate in prayers, blessings, and offerings to the Buddha. The Huong Pagoda Festival is a spiritual pilgrimage that epitomizes devotion, tranquility, and reverence for nature.


Tet Doan Ngo (Summer Solstice Festival)

Tet Doan Ngo, or the Summer Solstice Festival, is an ancient tradition observed on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, marking the arrival of summer and the beginning of the agricultural season. The festival is associated with purification rituals aimed at warding off evil spirits and promoting good health and prosperity. Families gather to enjoy glutinous rice cakes (banh troi and banh chay), which are believed to cleanse the body and protect against illness. Other customs include releasing live creatures such as fish and birds into rivers and lakes, symbolizing the release of negative energy and the renewal of life.

Whale Worship Festival

The Whale Worship Festival is a unique cultural event celebrated by coastal communities in central and southern Vietnam, paying homage to the whale deity (Ca Ong) believed to protect fishermen and ensure bountiful catches at sea. The festival typically takes place in the spring or early summer and involves elaborate ceremonies, processions, and offerings to the whale god. Fishermen decorate their boats with colorful banners and flags, perform traditional rituals to invoke the blessings of Ca Ong, and participate in boat races and cultural performances. The Whale Worship Festival is a testament to the deep spiritual connection between Vietnam’s coastal communities and the sea.


Vietnamese traditions and festivals offer a window into the country’s rich cultural heritage, spiritual beliefs, and sense of community and belonging. Whether you’re celebrating the joyous festivities of Tet Nguyen Dan, witnessing the solemn rituals of the Hung Kings’ Temple Festival, or participating in the spiritual pilgrimage of the Huong Pagoda Festival, experiencing Vietnamese traditions up close is a transformative journey that leaves a lasting impression on the heart and soul. By immersing yourself in the vibrant tapestry of Vietnamese culture, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the beauty, resilience, and enduring spirit of the Vietnamese people.

More articles: Maori Entrepreneurship: Cultural Insights for Business Success in New Zealand