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You are here:      Home News Vietnam Festivals
Vietnam Festivals
Tran Temple Festival

dentranTime: September 12th – 17th (from the 15th to the 20th day of the eighth lunar month)

Place: Loc Vuong Ward, Nam Dinh City, Nam Dinh Province.

Objects of worship: 14 Tran Kings.

Characteristics:  Proclamation worshipping, procession, cheo singing, sword dance.

“August is the death anniversary of Father, March is that of Mother”.

The expression lingered in the mind of the Viet people like a reminder of finding way back to the root as August and March came to join vivid festivals in memory of Father and Holy Mother, who founded and protected the supernatural land. One of such traditional major festivals, serving as a pride of indigenous inhabitants as thinking about the kingly race of the Viet’s nation: Tran Temple Festival.

Pho Minh Tower

The cluster monuments of Tran Temple is located in the suburb of Nam Dinh Province with many communal houses, pagodas, temples, tombs, stone shrines. Temples of Thien Truong, Co Trach and Pho Minh Pagoda - the famous cultural historical relics dedicated to Tran reign, founded on the land where the regime of Tran was generated. It is Tran Temple. In which, Thien Truong Temple worships 14 Tran Kings, set up under the later Le Dynasty. Co Trach Temple worships Tran Hung Dao, set up under the Nguyen Dynasty.

Tran Temple Festival annually lasts from the 15th-20th of lunar August. In the odd years, the festival is launched more magnificently than in even years. Nevertheless, visitors all over the country do not wait for the very happening of the festival to join but eagerly go on pilgrimage far prior to the day. On their arrival, every people do expect the good and happy things. The large flag flutters in front of the temple - the traditional flag with striking colours standing for five basic elements, its square shape stands for earth (negative), the sickle-shaped tassels for heaven (positive). The word “Tran” is embroidered amidst the flag in Chinese characters by two combined words “Dong” and “A”.

And the activities...

Tran Temple Festival happens formally, consisting processions from neighbouring villages to Thuong Temple. The incense-offering rite involves in 14 virgins carrying 14 trays of flowers into the temple and placing them on thrones in the musical vibration. This act is the image of the former feudal courts.

The festival involves various cultural activities: cock fighting, five-generation fighting art performances, wrestling, unicorn dance, bai bong dance, sword dance, cheo singing, van singing and so on. According to historic records, under the rule of King Tran Nhan Tong, after the Mongolian invaders were defeated, the King offered feast through 03 successive days known as “Thai binh dien yen”. The Great tutor Tran Quang Khai composed the

dance for the victory namely “bai bong” and taught the imperial singers to perform. The dancers were pretty ladies dressed in the ethnic clothes, putting on their shoulders a short pole hanging with flower baskets or paper-made lanterns at the two ends. The dancers also held on to a fan to enrich their performance. “Bai bong” dance contained acts of “bat dat”, “luc dat” and “tu dat”. Nevertheless, it was neatly adjusted under the Nguyen Dynasty. Currently, there is still a team of skilled dancers of the kind in Phuong Bong ward on the outskirts of Nam Dinh. It is said that Hat Van is derived from Hat Chau composed under the Tran Dynasty, popularised and trimmed under the Le Mat time.

Over the last years, branches and departments, especially the culture-information sector in Nam Dinh, have paid attention to preserving and enhancing such cultural identities. Nam Dinh Province takes pride in its reference of “national root”, giving birth and nursing hearts and souls of “Mother” and “Father” of the people. On the occasion of the festival, people across the country are warmly welcome to the place by the local friendly and simple residents.

Do son Buffalo Fighting Festival

doson festivalTime:  September 6th (the 9th day of the eighth lunar month)

Place: Do son District, Hai Phong City.

Objects of worship: Water genie

Characteristics: Buffalo fighting, the water genie cult.

The Buffalo Fight in Do Son (Haiphong City) is officially held every year on the 9th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. There are, in fact, two rounds of elimination before the middle of the 5th month and 8th day of the 6th lunar month.

The preparation for this festival is very elaborate. Fighting buffaloes must be carefully selected, well fed, and trained. These buffaloes must be between 4 and 5 years old, with a good appearance, a wide chest, a big groin, a long neck, an acute bottom, and bow shaped horns. The fighting buffaloes are fed in separate cages to keep them from contact with common buffaloes.

The beginning of the worshipping ceremony lasts until lunch time. A typical procession begins with an octet and a big procession chair, carried by six strong young men. The six clean buffaloes that are part of the ceremony are covered with red cloths and bound with reddish bands on their horns. There are 24 young men who dance and wave flags as two teams of troops start fighting. After this event, a pair of buffaloes are led to opposite sides of the festival grounds and are made to stand near two flags called Ngu Phung. When the right signal is released, the two buffaloes are moved to within 20m of each other. At the next signal, the two leaders release the ropes that are attached to the noses of the buffaloes. The two buffaloes then rush into each other with well practiced movements. The spectators then shout and urge the fighting along.

At the completion of the fight, the spectacle of "receiving the buffaloes" is very interesting as the leaders must then catch the winning buffalo to grant it its reward.

The Buffalo Fight in Do Son is a traditional festival that is attached to a Water God worshipping ceremony and the "Hien Sinh" custom. The most typical reason for the ceremony is to express the martial spirit of the local people in Do Son, Haiphong.

National Day of Vietnam
national dayTime: September 2nd (The 5th day of the eighth lunar month)

National Day of Vietnam is celebrated on 2nd of September. September 2nd in Vietnam symbolizes the August 1945 Revolution and Vietnam National Day. On this day in 1945 President Ho Chi Minh had solemnly read the Declaration of Independence in Vietnam at Ba Dinh Square in Hanoi. With this he proclaimed the birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. This event marked the beginning of a new era for the Vietnamese nation.

On the National Day of Vietnam, the people and the leaders in Vietnam pay tribute to the national hero Ho Chi Minh and acknowledge his contribution towards the independence of Vietnam. This day is celebrated not only in Vietnam but also in all Vietnamese Embassies across the world as it is one of the foremost Vietnamese festivals & events.


mid autumnTime:  September 12th (15th day of the eighth lunar month)

Place: Every family

Objects of worship: The Moon

Characteristics: Feast of banh nuong and banh deo (pastries), procession of lights, lion dance

For a long time, Vietnam and some other Asian countries who follow the rite of worshipping the Moon Genie, welcome the Mid-Autumn Festival on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. This is the time when the moon is full, the farm work is at rest, and the weather is cool and fresh. Apart from the Lunar New Year, the Mid-Autumn Festival is the most impressive event for the Vietnamese, particularly the children. There is no other event in the year other than this festival that provides them with as much entertainment, toys, cakes, candies, and fruit.

About half a month before the event, various kinds of colourful items, mostly cakes, candies and toys, are displayed for sale along the streets, in the shops and at the markets. Everyone, both domestic and foreign, is eager to go either shopping or sight-seeing. On the festive day, some families cook outstanding food to offer their ancestors during the daytime. In the evening, the mid-autumn festive party is prepared with cakes, candies and fruits. Cakes are various, but a "must" is the banh deo (glutinous-rice dumplings) and banh nuong (cakes) in the shape of the moon and fish. Fruit, including longans, simmons, bananas, grapefruits, etc., are also abundant and diverse.

The Festival is exceptionally interesting for the children who play happily with the bright new toys. The toys are made from various different forms: the lion lead, the animal in folk tales and stories. The lanterns are colourful and of various kinds, such as the rabbit, the carp, etc. Besides traditional carton paper toys, plastic and bamboo plates, ships, tanks, etc. made of plastics with batteries and having remote controls are also on sale. This is understandable due to the economic improvements of the people. Whether organized in the city or countryside, the preserved tradition of the Mid-Autumn Festival is reflected in the way the children play games such as seek-and-hide, lion dancing, lantern marching, etc.

The welcome-the-moon party in the evening is a good opportunity for the children not only to enjoy the food, but also to learn more from their grandparents and parents. They are told how to prepare the party in the most attractive way. To decorate the party, there is always a "doctor" made of paper or dough, which reminds the children of the high achievements to be obtained in their studies. The time to start enjoying the party is solemnly shared by the whole family and becomes the most sacred moment of the Mid-Autumn Festival. In the bright moonlight, clear sky and fresh environment, everybody is relaxed with a pure and detached joy.

Lion dances are also thought to ensure good fortune. Accompanied by gongs and bells, a man in a huge lion mask is followed by a train of children who carry a long cloth tail. This dance is based on a legend about an old woman who was caught by a lion on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival. She asked the lion to allow her to attend the evening's festivities, promised to return the next day and accepted her fate. The lion agreed and the woman joined her neighbors in celebration. Come morning, she remembered her predicament and began to cry, at which time the gods intervened and sent a magical snake to save her. The dance is a recreation of the fight between the snake and the gullible hon.

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