Tet Nguyen Dan (late Jan–early Feb). Vietnam’s main festival marks the onset of the Lunar New Year, a time of rebirth and renewal. Celebrations last for at least three days, and families gather for meals and to exchange gifts.
- The founding of the Vietnamese Communist Party (Feb 3). Commemorates the day Ho Chi Minh established the party in 1930.
- Lim Festival (Feb). Locals in traditional dress sing folk songs and play games at Lim village.
- Perfume Pagoda Festival (mid-Feb). Thousands of pilgrims descend upon this famous Buddhist site.
- Hai Ba Trung Festival (early Mar). The statues of the famous Trung Sisters are taken from the Hai Ba Trung Temple in Hanoi for a ritual bath in the river
- Thay Pagoda Festival (late Mar-early Apr). A celebration of the life of renowned polymath and Buddhist monk Tu Dao Hanh, who invented water puppet theater. Several puppet shows are staged to mark the occasion.
- Hung Kings’ Temple Festival (early–mid-Apr). A four-day national festival commemorating the Hung Kings that includes cultural events and parades around temples. The second day is a public holiday
- Liberation Day (Apr 30). A public holiday to mark the capture of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, featuring parades around the country.
- Hue Festival (Apr, May, or Jun). This popular week-long celebration of Nguyen traditions and culture is held on even years in Hue city.
- International Workers’ Day (May 1). Parades of workers march through the streets to show solidarity with working people worldwide.
- The Buddha’s Birthday (mid-late May). Lanterns are hung outside temples and homes to mark the Buddha’s birth, life, and death.
- Tet Doan Ngo (early Jun). Signaling the summer solstice, offerings are made to the God of Death at Taoist temples around the country.
- Chem Temple Festival (mid-Jun). Held in Thuy Phuong village in Hanoi, dragon boat races take place in honor of the 3rd-century warrior Ly Ong Trong.
- Mui Ne Street Food Festival (Jan, Apr & Jul). Thrice-yearly, week-long festival celebrating Vietnamese and international street food
- Hanoi Pride (Jul, Aug, or Sep). Week-long, colorful gay pride festival featuring a march, bike rally, parties, film screenings, and talks.
- Trung Nguyen/Vu Lan (mid-Aug–early Sep). Celebrated by both Taoists and Buddhists, the ghost festival involves the burning of paper money and other items to placate the wandering spirits.
- Le Van Duyet Temple Festival (late Aug–early Sep). Traditional opera and dance are performed to mark the anniversary of the statesman’s death.
- △ National Day (Sep 2). This public holiday celebrates the declaration of independence made by Ho Chi Minh in 1945 following the defeat of the Axis powers.
- Trung Thu/Mid-Autumn Festival (mid-Sep). The harvest festival is when children receive new toys and eat moon cakes, with lantern processions and lion dances in the streets
△ Oc Om Boc Festival and Ngo Boat Races (mid-late Nov). This Khmer festival in the Mekong Delta dedicated to the moon starts in the temples and culminates in canoe races on the river.
- Dalat Flower Festival (Dec). Expect an explosion of floral colors at this celebration of Dalat’s locally grown flowers, vegetables, and ornamental plants
- Christmas (Dec 25). With many churches and cathedrals, both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are good places to celebrate Christmas