Because Vietnam is such a melting pot of different cultures, it is no wonder that there is any number of festivals being celebrated, throughout the country, and throughout the year.
The Tet Festival is when the people of Vietnam celebrate the lunar New Year. This is a massive festival in the country, during which people will travel home to be with their families, taking part in a variety of activities – principally eating, drinking and general socializing. At this time of year there will be something going on to interest visitors in every town and city.
The Lim Festival is held in Lim, near Hanoi, every February. This comprises a celebration of various traditional activities, such as folk music and handicrafts, especially weaving. The Lim Festival is traditionally held on the 13th day of the first lunar month. Folk songs are enthusiastically sung by male singers (known as lien anh) and their female counterparts (lien chi). Visitors are also invited to browse various stalls where weavers perform their intricate activities. The local fishermen and farmers also display their wares, while in the background colourful processions and ceremonies are enacted throughout the vicinity.
One popular festival that takes place every every March is the Perfume Pagoda Festival. This takes place in My Duc, near Hanoi, and features a pilgrimage to the local Buddhist temple. Visitors are encouraged to join in with this pilgrimage, and as well as having the opportunity to become immersed in local culture, it offers some splendid views of the local scenery.
Perhaps a less austere celebration is the Cow Racing Festival, enacted every March in An Giang. Originally imported from neighbouring Cambodia, this event is based on paying respects to departed friends or family members, and features a pilgrimage to a pagoda. As part of the festivities involves the mass-lighting of incense sticks, this is the feast for the nose as much as the eyes! After these activities come the actual races alluded to in the festival's title.
The Chu Dong Tu Festival occurring each April is dedicated to the hero, Saint Chu Dong Tu. This all about promoting an awareness of agriculture, and the importance that it continues to play in Vietnamese life. The festival lasts for three days and culminates in an ornate procession.
Ba Chua Xu takes place over a four-day period in Chau Doc, on Sam Mountain. Because there are many shrines and temples in this vicinity, numerous events are held during their time, to which all tourists are respectfully invited to enjoy the activities.
Another Vietnamese celebration which takes place in this month is Labour Day or May Day. This is celebrated throughout Vietnam with parades, feasts, and colourful (and noisy) firework displays.
The Chem Temple Festival takes place in Vietnam in June, celebrating the momentous events in the country's history. Celebrants recall Ly Ong Trong, a supporter of the Chinese Emperor at the time of a Mongol invasion. This festival has deep religious significance for many Vietnamese citizens.
Another important event in the Vietnamese calendar for June is Buddha's birthday. Celebrated throughout the Far East, especially Vietnam, this event occurs on the 15th day of the fourth lunar month.