Festivals (collected from Internet ) by PXK
Tet - Vietnamese Lunar New Year, is the most important Festival of Vietnamese people. This scared Festival sometime between late January or early February (depend on Lunar Calendar ) and Tet has become so familiar to the Vietnamese that when Spring arrives, the Vietnamese, wherever they may be, are all thrilled and excited with the advent of Tet, and they feel an immense nostalgia, wishing to come back to their homeland for a family reunion and a taste of the particular flavours of the Vietnamese festivities.. Although officially a three-day affair, festivities may continue for a week or more with every effort made to indulge in eating, drinking, and enjoyable social activities. It is also a time for family reunions, and for paying respect to ancestors and the elders. Gifts of food are made to friends, neighbors and relatives in the days before Tet.
The Tet of the New Year is, above all, is an opportunity for the household genies to meet, those who have helped during the year, namely the Craft Creator, the Land Genie and the Kitchen God. Tet is also an opportunity to invite and welcome deceased ancestors back for a family reunion with their descendants to join the family's Tet celebrations. Finally, Tet is a good opportunity for family members to meet. This custom has become sacred and secular and, therefore, no matter where they are or whatever the circumstances, family members find ways to come back to meet their loved ones, gather for a dinner of traditional foods like bŠnh chưng (a square cake made of sticky rice stuffed with beans and pork), măng (a soup of boiled bamboo shoots and flied pork) and xŰi gấc (orange sticky rice). This is followed by a visit to the local pagodas
Everyone is in a rush to get a haircut, buy new clothes, spruce up their homes, visit friends, settle outstanding debts, and stock up on traditional Tet delicacies. Businesses hang festive red banners which read "Chuc Mung Nam Moi" (Happy New Year) and city streets are fes≠tooned. With colored lights. Stalls spring up all over town to sell mut (candied fruits and jams), traditional cakes, and fresh fruit and flowers. Certain markets sell nothing but cone-shaped kumquat bushes. Others sell flowering peach trees, symbols of life and good fortune which people bring into their homes to celebrate the coming of spring. As vendors pour into the City with peach trees strapped to their bicycles, the streets look like moving pink forests.
The "Mam Ngu Qua"
The "five-fruit tray" on the ancestral altar during the Tet Holidays symbolizes the admiration and gratitude of the Vietnamese to Heaven and Earth and their ancestors, and demonstrates their aspiration for a life of plenty. Legend said a lot of theories but in a simpler way, the five fruits represent the quintessence that Heaven and Earth bless humans. This is one of the general perceptions of life of the Vietnamese, which is "When taking fruit, you should think of the grower".
Coming to Vietnam during the season of the Tet festival, the visitor is engulfed in an ocean of colourful flowers. Visiting flower shows, contemplating the buds and blooms, and purchasing blossoms represents one of the distinct Vietnamese cultural characteristics. The peach ( in the North ) and the apricot blossoms (in the South) are symbols of the Vietnamese Tet. The warm pink of the peach could very well match the dry cold of the North, but the hot South seems to be flourishing in the riot of the yellow of the apricot. The mandarin is symbolic of good fortune and, therefore, people tend to choose the little plants laden with fruit, big and orange, and verdant leaves for a longer display.
The Giao Thua ( New Year's eve )
Giao Thua is the most sacred point of time, the passage from the old
to the new year. It is popularly believed that in Heaven there are
twelve Highnesses in charge of monitoring and controlling the
affairs on earth, each of them taking charge of one year. The giao
thua is the moment of seeing off the old chieftain upon the
conclusion of his term and welcoming in the new one upon his
assumption of office. For this reason, every home makes offerings in
the open air to pray for a good new year.
Food specialties for TET
On the last day of the old year, the preparation of food to offer to the ancestors is of special significance. Dishes to offer to the ancestors differ in the Northern, Central and Southern parts of the country, depending on their respective weather conditions at the time and on different local agricultural products available. What is common in all regions of the country during Tet holidays are the varieties of soups, fried, boiled, or stewed dishes, meat, fish, vegetable... The foods that the Vietnamese eat at Tet are varied and diverse What they have in common is that the people throughout the country all want to have the best and the most beautiful looking food on this occasion to offer their ancestors and to treat their friends and guests.
Held on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month, when offerings are made to the spirit world and to ward off pestilence and disease. Tet Doan Ngo is also called Parasite-Killing Festival. This is a mid-year festival to enhance the prevention of evils and illnesses, and the memory of the ancestors
Time: 3rd day of the third lunar month.
Place: Almost the regions of the Viet.
Characteristics: Offering glutinous rice flour cakes stuffed with plum of brown sugar (banh troi), glutinous rice flour cakes stuffed with green bean paste(banh chay) to worship ancestors, an occasion for people to visit and tidy the burial graves of relatives, having fun in spring.
The Lim Festival, organized in Lim village located 18 km from Hanoi, where Quan Ho, the special folk songs performed. It takes place every year on 13th day of the 1st lunar month. Tens of thousands of visitors come here to enjoy the dialogues performances between "lien anh" (male singers) and "lien chi" (female singers), the country's most skilled Quan Ho singers. These are male and female farmers who sing different types of songs in the pagodas, on the hills, and in the boats. Besides this, visitors can come to the Lim Festival to enjoy the weaving competition of the Noi Due girls. They weave and sing Quan Ho songs at the same time. Like other religious festivals, the Lim Festival goes through all the ritual stages, from the procession to the worshipping ceremony, and includes other activities
The Lim Festival is a special cultural activity in the North. The festival celebrates the "Quan Ho" folk song which has become a part of the national culture and a typical folk song that is well loved in the Red River Delta region.
The Lim Festival is also celebrated with traditional temple games. In one game, teenage girls must mind a stranger's baby, chew pieces of sugar cane in order to create fuel with which to start and maintain a fire, cook rice, and prevent a frog from jumping out of a circle marked on the ground. If the baby cries, the fire goes out or the frog escapes, the girl is disqualified.
If you go to Tay Ninh, you should visit Nui Ba, a beautiful mountain located in the middle of the Mekong Delta, 11km from downtown Tay Ninh.
Nui Ba (Ba Mountain) is often called Ms. Den Mountain. According to a legend, the mountain was named after a young woman called Denh, but who was referred to as Den. She was the devout daughter of a guard officer of the Mien ethnic minority group. Den left her house to enter a monastery in the mountains. She became a nun due to family pressure to marry a guard officer's son from the Trang Bang Area. She remained at the monastery until she died. After her death, the Nguyen Dynasty ordered that a mould of her be cast in black bronze in her honour as the Linh Son Thanh Mau ( Saint Linh Son).
During the spring until the afternoon of the 30th day of the 1st lunar month, and especially on the day of the full moon of the first month, tourists from Ho Chi Minh City and the provinces of the south pilgrimage to worship and sightsee. Starting at the bottom of the mountain, tourists climb one half of the mountain to Saint Linh Son's communal house and then follow a path that leads to a pagoda. This pagoda offers vegetarian meals. Tourists can eat as much as they want, but should donate some money to the pagoda; the amount of the donation depending on the budget of the tourist.
The Perfume Pagoda (Huong Tich), at My Duc, 69km south of Hanoi, without doubt, is the most famous Buddhist pilgrimage site in northern Vietnam. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims travel to this sacred cave to pray for happiness and prosperity in the coming year. Pilgrims board boats, usually rowed by young women, carry them along the Yen Stream through a stunning landscape of blazing green rice paddles studded with jagged limestone mounts to the base of Huong Mountain. From the riverbank, pilgrims proceed on foot, past various ancient pagodas, monasteries and shrines, up hundreds of stone steps and a switchback trail, all worn smooth by the passage of countless feet. The Perfume Pagoda consists of a group of caves and is an impressive architectural ensemble of both human and natural endeavor.
The Perfume Pagoda Festival lasts from the 6th day of the 1st month to the end of the 3rd month of the lunar calendar. Visitors can get to the Perfume Pagoda either by the inland road or by water way. The Vietnamese believe that Huong Son is Buddha's Heaven. Huong Son is considered the place to worship Brodhisattva Kwan Yin. People conduct a dragon dance in the yard of Trinh Pagoda, and sail the royal barge on the 6th day of the 1st month. The festival is held in three places, Huong Tich, Tuyet Son, and Long Van. The festival is most crowded from the 15th - 20th day of the 2nd month of the lunar calendar as this period marks the main festival. The path leading from Ngoai Pagoda to Trong Pagoda is full of visitors coming up and down the mountain.
A pilgrimage to the Perfume Pagoda is not only for religious reasons, but also to see the numerous natural landscapes and the buildings that are valuable artifacts of the nation.
Dong Da hillock festival takes place annually on the 5th of Lunar New Year. Two centuries ago, Dong Da was a battlefield where Quang Trung (Nguyen Hue), a Tay Son farmer who later became a National Hero defeated more than 200,000 soldiers of the Chinese invading army. Dong Da Hill became a glorious historical site of the Vietnamese nation.In the early morning of the 5th day, a procession for the historical event's celebration commences at Khuong Thuong and ends at Dong Da Hill. The procession includes flags, a processional parasol, palanquins with a variety of colours, and the sounds of gongs and drums. In the festival there are a lot of games representing martial spirit. Among them, the procession of Thang Long dragon is most original. Khuong Thuong village communal house's gate is opened at the first gleam of daylight with pervasive fragrance of joss - stick. In front of the house, a big flag is hung to welcome the festival.More than 200 years ago (1789) this was a bloody battlefield. In the small hours of the 5th of Ky Dau Lunar New Year (on the 29th and 30th of the 2nd month 1789). the camp of invaders in Khuong Thuong was destroyed, the invader, Ethnarch Dien Chau Sam Nghi Dong, had to commit suicide here. Since then, Dong Da hillock became a famous relic of our people. It is also an evidence of shameful failure of the Northern enemies. In the morning of the festival, all dignitaries and elders in the village gather fully to prepare for the great ceremony. Nearly 12 o'clock at the noon, from Khuong Thuong communal house to Dong Da hillock, everybody implement the procession of greeting the victory. The procession is long, beautiful. It moves slowly and orderly for people to revere detailedly the magnificent statue of the festival. But the most attractive and youngest is the last group with "Fire Dragon". Young men in two villages Dong Quang and Khuong Thuong emulate to plait straw into shapes of big dragons ornamented by spathe and papier mache. A band of young people in uniform go around the procession of Fire Dragon and perform stick and fist with the aim at reappearing images of former battle and glorifing Tay Son righteous armier's buoyancy. This is an original amusement of Dong Da hillock festival.Since 1954, Dong Da hillock festival has been regarded as a traditional one - a national festival. Thus, every year, the Ha Noi people come to attend at all rites of the festival. The national flag and flags of the festival fly flutteredly as greeting pilgrims. Oppositing the hillock is Dong Quang pagoda where smoke of joss - stick also spreads out and visitors go in and out plentifully. Here, priests make rice gruel for invaders' souls as a righteous action of our traditional virtue. People also offer flowers to celebrate in front of the King Quang Trung's statue. After solemn rites are games and traditional art activities such as unicorn dancing, dragon dancing, wrestling, human chess, cock fighting...
The home of the King Quang Trung - Nguyen Hue is Binh Khe district, Binh Dinh province. Here, people also build a temple for three brothers of Tay Son family to be Nguyen Nhac, Nguyen Hue and Nguyen Lu. Every year, also on the 5th of Lunar New Year,everybody from everywhere come to offer flowers and joss -sticks to represent their gratitude to heroes and righteous men and review glorious and pround history of our country. They also hold competitions of military or beating drums... very distinctively. Especially, participants are not only men but also women, so it attracts more and more visitors.
Chu Dong Tu is one of four immortal gods in the Vietnamese pantheon. The festival annually takes place from the 10th to the 12th day of the second lunar month at two temples, Da Hoa and Da Trach, in Khoai Chau District, Hung Yen Province
Da Hoa Temple
When the procession reaches the temple, palanquins and offerings are placed at a stipulated place. Then, the members of the procession and pilgrims begin the opening ceremony at the courtyard. As the opening ceremony and incense presenting ceremony end, people participate in traditional games that take place during day and night
Da Trach Temple
procession arrives at the riverbank, the boats of Khoai Chau
District sail downstream the Red River to meet the procession of Mai
Dong Commune (Hung Yen Province), Khai Thai and Tu Nhien Communes
(Ha Tay Province). They join into a long procession and row to
middle of the river to get water. The procession brings water to the
temple at 11.30 a.m and the opening ceremony begins.After the water
palanquin is placed in the temple, palanquins of gods are placed in
the courtyard, then the dragon dancing group comes to the temple's
door worship god;¬ senh tien dance and conical hats
dance are performed on ¬ Tien Bridge.
In the kingdom of Văn Lang, King named Hýng Vương the
Third had a daughter who was blessed with truly divine beauty. Her
name was TiÍn Dung. But despite her gift of enchanting
loveliness, the princess remained indifferent to any manís affection
. She developed a love for nature and beautiful sceneries and she
spends all of her days wandering the many wondrous places of her
fatherís kingdom. As Hýng Vương loves his daughter so dearly, he had
always granted her every wish to explore the numerous rivers in his
realm that fascinated her. He provided her a number of vessels
and a royal barge, along with a large number of servants and guards
to keep her only beloved daughter safe in her every journey.
Hung temple is located on Nghia Linh Mountain, Hy Lang Commune, Phong Chau District, Phu Tho Province. Every year, this national festival is held to worship the Hung Kings, who were instrumental in founding the nation
The festival lasts for 3 days from the 9th to the 11th of the 3rd lunar month. The worship service is held on the 10th day and commences with a flower ceremony with the participation of state representatives. Held in Thuong Temple, where the Hung Kings used to worship deities with full rituals, the ceremony consists of a lavish five-fruit feast. Cakes and glutinous rice dumpling are also served to remind people of the Lang Lieu Legend (the 7th Hung King who invented these cakes), and the merit of the Hung Kings who taught people to grow rice.
Next to the stage procession for deities, there are several marches in the procession, such as the elephant march followed by the procession chair. These procession marches are conducted in Tien Cuong, Hy Cuong, Phuong Giao, and Co Tich Villages. The procession marches are followed by a Xoan song performance (a classical type of song) in the Thuong Temple, "Ca Tru" (a kind of classical opera) in Ha temple, and other activities.
The Hung Temple Festival not only attracts visitors from all over and allows visitors to participate in special traditional cultural activities, but it is also a sacred trip back in time to the origins of the Vietnamese culture. People usually show their love and pride of their homeland and ancestral land. This religious belief is deeply imbedded in the minds of every Vietnamese citizen, regardless of where they originate.
The Giong Festival is held annually in Phu Dong Village, Gia Lam District, Hanoi.This large festival is held on the 9th day of the 4th month of the lunar calendar. The date commemorates Saint Giong who defeated the An invaders. In order to show their gratitude to the hero of Giong Village who sacrificed his life to fight invaders, the people proclaimed him Saint Giong.
Preparation for the festival occurs from the 1st day of the 3rd lunar month to the 5th day of the 4th lunar month. The procession starts from the Mother Temple to Thuong Temple with the performance of a religious service. After reaching the temple, a feast for the troops occurs. When night falls, a Cheo play is performed (a classical Vietnamese opera).The festivities ends on the 10th day of the 4th month, as the troops withdraw and a thanksgiving procession takes place.
At the Giong Festival, people can make connections with their the neighbors, with relatives, between the individuals within a community, and with the past and present. This festival blends together the traditions of love for the motherland and the preservation of the cultural heritage
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 lion.
The Kate Festival is held annually by the Cham ethnic group who inhabit the An Phuoc District of Ninh Thuan Province. The Kate Festival is held on the first ten days of the seventh month of the Cham Calendar (this corresponds with September or October). The Kate Festival is an occasion for the Cham people to express their venerability to their god. This god is considered the creatorof the universe and is thought of as a national hero. During this festival, people go on a pilgrimage to the holy land of My Son and visit their friends and family. On the last ten days of the sixth month of the Cham calendar, the Cham people bring precious gifts to their ancient Cham King. This ritual is held to thank their god beforehand and to ask for help in organizing the Kate Festival.
At night, everyone from the villages gets together to see the ritual performances of the traditional costumes (Poh Akharao). This traditional dance performance is accompanied by the solemn Kapo music rhythms.
In the early morning of the first day of the seventh month of the Cham calendar, the worshipping ceremonies are complete. Everyone then stages a procession for the deity of a nearby temple or tower , such as the Polnu Nagar, Poklong Garai, or An Phuoc. The procession is very crowded and the music of the Raglay people (the ancient Cham people) can be heard everywhere.
In the temples, the worshipping sorcerer commences the ritual of the door opening (Poh Bang), and the vice worshipping sorcerer executes a hymn piece.
The hymn is accompanied by the rhythms of the ancient Kanhi and tells of the the power of the people. Other rituals include the washing and dressing of the Statue of the King with mineral water and the offering of wine in worship.The rituals lasts throughout the day and into the night, concluding with a performance where people compose and recite poems while playing music. The festival is a very exciting time because people from everywhere can converse, share in the same feast, and walk the same path.
One of the meaningful acitivity in Vietnamese Tet festivals is rice cooking competition. A rice cooking competition is held to encourage women to take more responsibility in their traditional work.
During Tet holiday, a number of villages in northern and central Vietnam hold rice cooking contests that may sound simple, but follow strict and complex rules. Contestants cook in the open air while in a bamboo boat floating on the village pond. Charcoal, the usual fuel, is prohibited. Instead, each competitor receives some dried sugar cane, which burns only with difficulty.
The challenge increases if it is windy and raining. Each contestant must set her rice pot in exactly the right place to take advantage of the wind and avoid extinguishing the fire
The competition begins precisely at dawn. Hundreds of boats are tied up along the pond bank since as many as 200 young women may participate. After a salvo of drumbeats, competitors step into their boats, bringing along cooking tripods, rice pots, some damp straw and fuel. They row to the centre of the pond, make a fire and wash the rice.
A second salvo of drumbeats sounds, punctuated by three final beats, the competition starts. The cooking may be done in one pot after another or by using all pots al the same time. The tiny, light boat sways with the competitor's every movement, keeping the craft stable while cooking is like performing a circus act. The competitor who finishes first wins, but quality also counts. People from many villages watch from the pond bank, mothers who have trained their girls for months impatiently wait for the results of their efforts. Other women take advantage of the occasion to look for prospective daughters-in-law who are both good cooks and can also face difficulties with calmness.
The contest for boys is no less rigorous. Each boy must stand ready with all the necessary items (rice, water, matches and firewood) on a light boat moored the pond bank. At a given signal he paddles with his hands to the opposite bank, where a row of pots is placed on tripods. He must stay in his unmoored boat while cooking the rice on the bank. The least loss of balance tosses him over into the water.
The finished rice must meet particular criteria of taste and consistency.