A splendid festive season
Update: Feb 11, 2022
Spring festivals in Viet Nam are one of the prominent cultural and religious essences of our country, which are typically held following the Lunar New Year. Spring festivals across all regions are on their own, and enticing huge influx of spectators from both inside and outside the country to admire and appreciate to pray for a happier, luckier and more peaceful new year.

Trang An Festival in Ninh Binh . Photo: Pham Le Thanh

Trang An Festival (Ninh Binh) is a string of cultural and tourist events that take place on Lunar March 18th in association with cults to nature and deities of the four directions of the world, namely Thien Ton, Quy Minh, Cao Son and the Giant who respectively guard the four sacred gateways to Hoa Lu. It’s also an opportunity for the populace to pay homage to generals of Dinh dynasty who camped in Trang An and Tran dynasty emperors who founded Vu Lam Travel Palaces here. What sets Trang An festival apart is its dragon procession and water procession that take place right on the river, crossing the region’s historical sites, subterranean caves and numerous riverine scenes.

Trieu Khuc Village Festival. Photo: Bui Dang Thanh

Trieu Khuc Village Festival is held every Lunar January 10th in memory of their titular god, the Great Father Emperor Phung Hung (770 - 798) and Mr. Vu Duc Uy (lived in the 18th century), who cultivated the weaving craft in this village. As sacrifices on the titular courtyard commence, festivities also arrive, one of the most popular of which should be the “drum banging maidens” dance, also known as the drum dance. It’s an ancient dance that involved two lads in female disguise donning a three or seven flapped tunic and heavy, bright makeup to accentuate female slanted eyes, black dyed teeth and pointed turban. Both “maidens” prance and bang on the drum worn on their belly in a very amusing, droll and humorous manner. Besides, the festival also hosts a dragon dance, qilian dance, ball attending dance, flag dance, wrestling, Chinese opera singing, to name a few.

Lim Festival in Bac Ninh. Photo: Pham Truong Thi

Lim Festival (Bac Ninh) takes place every Lunar January 13th, which is the ultimate cultural essence of the Northern capital. The festival incorporates all diverse rituals and festivities to fully reflect the cultural, art and religious tapestry of festivities across Bac Ninh. A number of folk games include martial arts, wrestling, chess game, swinging, weaving spindle, cooking contest… Most notable festivity should be the quan họ singing with a repertoire of areca exchanges, boat hailing chant, a sparrow crossing the river or the web weaving spider…

Sinh Village Wrestling Festival in Thua Thien Hue. Photo: Nguyen Tan Anh Phong

Sinh Village Wrestling Festival (Thua Thien Hue) takes place on Lunar January 9th and 10th, and a traditional wrestling event of the former capital. This festival is far from religiously significant, but also filled with amusements and physical exercises that exalt martial spirit and galvanize young lads in particular with physical resilience, valor, self-confidence and shrewdness

Whale cults in Binh Thuan. Photo: Tran Tam My

Whale cults are the quintessential manifesto of beliefs among coastal fishing villages of the Central region and Southeast. The cults lively reenact traditional rites and cults to the Whale enshrouded in legends and regional folklore. Every Lunar January, whale cults are held to wish for the calm sky and sea and bumper catches of fish and shrimps.

Ba Den Mountain Festival (Tay Ninh). It is one of the largest spring festivals of the south, which takes place from Lunar January 4. En route to the peak, visitors may stop at Linh Son Temple of the Holy Mother or the Mountain God Shrine to pray for good luck and admire the electrifying panorama of Ba Den Mountain.

Truc Anh

Vietnam Today 01.2022