Vietnam is a religious country with a lot of Chinese influence, having been a part of Imperial China for more than a millennium. It is truly not surprising why most of their major religious holidays are similar to those of the Chinese.
Date: Every 1st to 3rd day of the lunar New Year
Tet, or Tet Nguyen Dan which means ‘Feast of the First Morning of the First Day’, is among the most important celebrations in Vietnamese culture. It is often celebrated on the same day as the Chinese New Year or on the first day of the first month of the Vietnamese calendar, which is around late January or early February, until around the third day.
During this occasion, most people would visit relatives or temples, worship ancestors, wish New Year’s greetings, give out lucky money to children and the elderly or eat special holiday food such as gio, banh chung, banh day, canh mang and sticky rice.
Vietnamese Teachers’ DayDate: Every 20th of November
First celebrated in 1958 as the Day of the International Manifest of Educators, this holiday is used by students to pay respect to their teachers. Often, the students would visit the house of their teachers and offer flowers and other small gifts. Teachers are also presented with literature and art as well as food and flowers during the parties that are held in many schools.
Hung Kings CommemorationsDate: Every 8th to 11th day of the third lunar month
Every 8th to 11th day of the third lunar month, Vietnamese people would pay tribute to the Hung Kings who are considered as founders of the country and who were also the first emperors. The main festival day for the Death Anniversary of the Hung Kings is a public holiday which falls on the 10th. It is celebrated by doing a procession that starts at the foot of the mountain going to the High Temple but making a stop at every small temple along the way. During this ceremony, people would usually offer prayers and incense to their dead ancestors.
Ghost FestivalDate: Every 15th day of the 7th Chinese month
The Vietnamese view the Tet Trung Nguyen as the time when condemned souls are pardoned and are released from hell. In order to appease the ‘homeless’, the living would have to feed these souls through offerings of food. The month in which this festival takes place is also called Thang Co Hon, which is considered to be haunted and a very unlucky time of the year.
Mid-Autumn FestivalDate: Every 15th day of the 8th month of the Vietnamese calendar
The Tet Trung Thu is considered as the second most important public holiday next to the Tet. The Mid-Autumn celebrations in the northern parts of Vietnam often come with elegant features; the one in Central Vietnam have funny details while those in Southern Vietnam come full of warning. Lion dances are often being performed from house to house and the hosts usually give lucky money to the lions as a form of gratitude. This festival is also known as Children’s Festival in the country because of its emphasis towards children.
Dien Bien Phu Victory DayDate: Every 7th of May
This day commemorates the confrontation between the French Far East Expeditionary Corps and the revolutionaries of the Viet Minh communist organization. The Viet Minh’s victory then led to the signing of the Geneva Accords in 1954. The French later withdrew all its forces in French Indochina and the Indochina war ended shortly after the victory.
Liberation Day / Reunification DayDate: Every 30th of April
Also called the Fall of Saigon, Reunification or Liberation Day is celebrated by the Vietnamese every 30th of April. This date in 1975 was when the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops captured Saigon, which is now Ho Chi Minh City, and signaled the end of the Vietnam War. The significant event then marked the country’s transition period as North and South Vietnam merged into what is now the Vietnam that we know today.
President Ho Chi Minh’s BirthdayDate: Every 19th of May
As the father of the communist revolution and the first president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, there is a lot to celebrate about Ho Chi Minh. His founding of the Viet Minh Independent Movement in 1941 led to further victories for the Vietnamese, including getting taking back the control of many villages and then later on declaring the country’s independence from its French colonizers. Ho Chi Minh is considered as a national hero and state leaders would lay wreaths on his mausoleum to celebrate his birthday.
Remembrance Day (War Invalids and Martyrs Day)Date: Every 27th of July
Otherwise known as the Martyrs or Wounded Soldiers’ Day, this is the time to remember and honor those who have died in service or have been injured during the Vietnam War and other military engagements both in and out of the country. Wreath-laying ceremonies are often held in military cemeteries and war memorials while veterans and invalids from the Vietnam War are also given tribute.
August Revolution Commemoration DayDate: Every 19th of August
The August General Uprising was the revolution spearheaded by the communist organization Viet Minh against the colonial rule of the French back in 1945. Within just two weeks from the start of the uprising, the organization was already able to take control of many of the villages in North, Center and South Vietnam. It was the August Revolution that paved the way for the declaration of independence on September 2 , therefore creating a new government for the country.
National DayDate: Every 2nd of September
The country’s national day is a commemoration of Vietnam’s declaration of independence from its French colonizers. During this day in 1945, communist Viet Minh organization leader Ho Chi Minh declared the country’s independence under the name of Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRVN) in Ba Dinh Square.