10 Extraordinary Vienamese Spring Festivals

Among 7,966 festivals around Vietnam, according to statistics in 2009, most of them are in the North and organized in spring, especially January (lunar month). We would like to introduce 10 most extraordinary festivals in the North. Join in the vivid atmosphere of spring festivals and wish for a happy new year.

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1. Firework procession festival in Dong Ky village
Time: January 4 – 6 (Lunar month)
Firework procession festival in Dong Ky village (Dong Quang, Tu Son, Bac Ninh) is to reappear the day tutelary god Thien Cuong ordered to go into battle defeating enemies. The procession is prepared carefully from the early morning of the 4th, but until 9:00 a.m of the day, two big guns are carried from the head of festival’s house to the communal house with the participation of hundreds of local people and thousands of visitors. Apart from the procession, a variety of lively activities are taken place such as singing love duets, classical drama and many sport competitions such as volleyball, badminton and chess…

2. Co Loa festival
Time: January 6 – 16 (Lunar month)
Annually held after Tet Holiday, Co Loa Festival pays homage to King An Duong Vuong who built the Au Lac Kingdom and the Co Loa Citadel to fight the battle against enemies in III B.C. This festival takes place in Co Loa village, Dong Anh, Hanoi from January 6 to 16 (Lunar month). Not only featuring traditional ceremonies and procession, Co Loa festival also holds many folk games such as crossbow shooting, wrestling, swing, performances of love duets…

3. Tich Dien Doi Son festival
Time: January 5 – 6 (Lunar month)
Tich Dien Doi Son in Duy Tien, Ha Nam is a meaningful festival of farmers and a cultural beauty. The festival was first held in the 10th century in Ha Nam, the homeland of King Le Dai Hanh and restored in 2009. According to Duy Tien People’s Committee, Tich Dien Doi Son festival 2012 will last 3 days, from January 27 – 29 (January 5 – 7 lunar month) in Doi pagoda, Doi Son, Duy Tien, Ha Nam province. Tich Dien Doi Son festival includes the ceremonies (the report of Tutelary God to open the festival in Doi Tam communal house; water procession to Doi pagoda; buffalo painting and decorating competition, praying ceremony in Doi pagoda, art performances, fireworks and palanquin procession from Doi Tam village…) and the festival (booths displaying products, wrestling and traditional games).

4. Pig procession festival
Time: January 13 (Lunar month)
In annual 13th of January (Lunar month), visiting La Phu, Hoai Duc, Hanoi, visitors will have a chance to join in the biggest event of the year – pig procession festival. The local people worship their Tutelary God with offerings of pigs. In every village, the biggest pigs will be killed and decorated to worship and compete with pigs of other villages. The worshipping ceremony starts from 8:30p.m until mid-night. The most beautiful and biggest pig will be the winner. Tens of pigs are carried and processed to the communal house, accompanied by groups of dragon dance, lion dance, music and other dance groups.

5. Joining in Lim festival, singing love duets
Time: January 12 – 14 (Lunar month)
Lim – an annual festival in Kinh Bac takes place on January 12 – 14 in Tien Du, Bac Ninh. The festival starts with a procession at 8a.m with a large number of local people, who dress in colorful costumes. During the festival, many ceremonies and traditional games are held such as martial art, wrestling, chess, swing and cooking…The most striking activity is singing competition. The competition is organized on boats with love duets. The gilded dragon boat sails on some lakes near by fields in Lim village with melodious voices. Lien chi (female singers) are on one side of the boat and children wearing in four-panel traditional dress on the other side. Lien anh (male singers) are sitting or standing in front or back side of the boat. In the 12th evening, a singing competition takes place with the attendance of villages. This is the most interesting activity during the festival.

6. Buffalo fighting festival in Hai Luu
Time: January 17 (Lunar month)
Annual buffalo fighting festival in Hai Luu, Lap Thach, Vinh Phuc is the most ancient festival in Vietnam. According to the legend, the festival appeared in the 2nd century BC. When the Han invaded Nam Viet ruled by Trieu Da and the Trieu dynasty declined, Trieu’s mandarin, Lu Gia withdrew to Hai Luu mountainous area, Song Lo, Vinh Phuc to defeat the enemy. After every victory, Lu Gia held buffalo fighting festival to encourage his soldiers and fighting buffalos were killed to treat them. After the death of Lu Gia, local people in Hai Luu worship him as Tutelary God and the buffalo fighting festival started since then.

7. Xen Ban Xen Muong festival
Time: February 5 (Lunar month)
Xen Muong festival (worship Muong) is an important festival of Thai people to respect their ancestors, who founded their Muong (Thai people call their village) and wish for a happy and prosperous life.
Xen Muong festival in Muong Do is held by Mo Nghe, head of the village. In the past, this festival had to include clothes of a noble son. At present, Thai people use clothes of leaders in the village for offerings. Xen Muong festival also features a variety of funny games and fish hunting…

8. Jubilant Cam Ban festival
Time: Middle of February (Lunar month)
Ha Nhi people in Me Giong, Ka Lang (Muong Te, Lai Chau) organize many jubilant festivals. One of them is Cam ban festival in the middle of February. In five days of the festival, local people celebrate 14 ceremonies. After every ceremony, families invite guests to their house to taste corn wine, steamed glutinous rice and glutinous rice cake. According to their customs, the family, who can welcome the most guests, will have a lucky year. In addition, they roll steamed glutinous rice balls and throw to each other with a wish of a bountiful year. The person, who can throw to other people, will be healthy and prosperous in new year. Young men throw to each other to find their boyfriends or girl friends. Husbands and wives throw to each other to be happy and give births of nice kids.

9. Praying for fish festival
Time: Middle of March (Lunar month)
Ca Ong festival (or known as Shark festival or praying for fish festival) is the biggest festival of fishermen in Danang. It not only expresses their respect of God but also the prosperity of the whole village. “Ong” (Mr) is the title of fishermen for shark, which helps them to overcome difficulties on the sea. Every year, after the Tet holiday, fishermen celebrate their Ca Ong festival. The festival takes place in two days in the middle of March (Lunar month). Apart from the ceremony, the festival offers an array of special activies such as tug of war, swimming and boat racing… The praying for fish festival manifests the wish of a peaceful life of fishermen, who always face with dangerous incidents when going fishing on the sea.

10. Giong Phu Dong festival
Time: April 6 – 12 (Lunar month)
Traditional Giong Phu Dong festival, which commemorate Phu Dong Thien Vuong (Thanh Giong) is annually held in Phu Dong, Gia Lam, Ha Noi. This festival was recognized non-object cultural heritage by UNESCO. Giong Phu Dong festival reappears the image of Thanh Giong’s soldiers, who were born in poor familes and against the An enemies from the North and protected the country.

From Travelline