Vietnamese Festivals: Celebrating Tet, Mid-Autumn Festival, Hung Kings Temple Festival, and Cultural Traditions

Festivals in Vietnam are vibrant expressions of the country’s rich cultural heritage, reflecting its history, beliefs, and community spirit. These celebrations are not merely occasions for entertainment; they are deeply symbolic events that connect people to their roots, honor traditions, and foster social cohesion. From the grandeur of Tet (Lunar New Year) to the charm of the Mid-Autumn Festival, let’s explore the colorful tapestry of Vietnamese festivals.

Tet (Lunar New Year)

Tet is the most significant cultural event in Vietnam, marking the beginning of the lunar calendar. It’s a time for family reunions, ancestral worship, and renewal.


Preparations for Tet begin weeks in advance, with homes being cleaned and decorated, special foods prepared, and new clothes purchased. Traditional decorations include peach blossoms, kumquat trees, and red banners with auspicious words.

Family Gatherings

Family gatherings are the heart of Tet. People travel to their hometowns to be with their families, share festive meals, and pay respects to ancestors.

Customs and Traditions

Tet is rich in customs, such as giving lucky money (lì xì) in red envelopes to children, visiting friends and neighbors, and enjoying traditional foods like bánh chưng (sticky rice cake).

Mid-Autumn Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is a beloved celebration, particularly for children. It takes place on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month when the moon is at its fullest.

Lanterns and Mooncakes

Children parade with colorful lanterns, and families enjoy mooncakes, a traditional pastry filled with lotus seed paste and egg yolk. The round shape of the mooncakes symbolizes unity and completeness.

Folk Performances

Lion dances and folk performances add excitement to the streets, and communities come together to enjoy the festive atmosphere.

Hung Kings Temple Festival

The Hung Kings Temple Festival honors the Hung Kings, legendary founders of Vietnam. It’s celebrated in Phu Tho Province and includes various rituals and cultural activities.

Ancestral Worship

The festival includes ceremonies at the Hung Kings Temple, where offerings are made, and prayers are recited to honor the ancestors and seek their blessings.

Traditional Games

Traditional games, such as bamboo swinging and rice cooking competitions, are part of the celebrations, reflecting the agrarian roots of Vietnamese culture.

Other Notable Festivals

Vietnam’s festival calendar is filled with diverse celebrations, each with its unique flavor and significance.

Perfume Pagoda Festival

A famous pilgrimage site, the Perfume Pagoda in Hanoi hosts an annual festival attracting devotees seeking spiritual enlightenment. The journey to the pagoda, through rivers and mountains, is part of the sacred experience.

Water Puppet Festival

Water puppetry, a unique Vietnamese art form, is celebrated with festivals showcasing intricate puppet performances on water stages, accompanied by traditional music.

Whale Festival

In coastal regions, the Whale Festival is a significant event, honoring the whale deity and seeking protection for fishermen. It includes processions, rituals, and communal feasts.


Vietnamese festivals are more than mere celebrations; they are living traditions that weave together the threads of history, spirituality, community, and artistry. They are occasions to honor ancestors, strengthen family bonds, express gratitude, and celebrate the rhythms of nature and life.

Whether in the joyful reunions of Tet, the playful lantern parades of the Mid-Autumn Festival, or the solemn rituals of the Hung Kings Temple Festival, Vietnamese festivals invite us to partake in a cultural dance that resonates with meaning and emotion.

In a rapidly changing world, where modernity often overshadows tradition, Vietnamese festivals stand as vibrant reminders of a culture that cherishes its roots and finds joy in shared values and communal harmony.

They are not just dates on a calendar; they are the heartbeat of a nation that celebrates life with color, music, food, and faith. They are the soul of Vietnam, echoing through time, connecting generations, and enriching the human experience with their beauty, wisdom, and grace.