Tet Lanterns for the Vietnamese events of the year!
Colorful Lanterns for the Tet Festival

As mentioned elsewhere, Vietnamese are a close knit society. To celebrate or perhaps reinforce this, the Vietnam social calendar is bristling with many events, festivals, memorials, anniversaries, community celebrations and family gatherings. Perhaps the largest and most colorful are the religious celebrations that follow the Lunar cycle rather than the Gregorian (solar) calendar.

The Lunar New Year or Tet in Vietnam is perhaps the largest and most famous and is celebrated everywhere. More like an Asian Christmas that a Gregorian New Year, Tet is spread over 12 days and has many spiritual and religious overtones. Full of color and life with decorated lanterns, fireworks, religious rituals, music, theater and flower and fruit displays, the nation recounts the success and failures of the past and look forward to a happy and fortunate future.

However and perhaps counter intuitively, it is not a great time for tourism. Like Christmas, family relations play a huge part of it all. Many people return to their hometowns and many businesses will close, so plan accordingly. It generally falls some where in late January or early February and even if you have local friends and family, it is a good time to settle in for the duration. The tourism areas like D1 in HCMC, Old Town in Hanoi, Hoi An and An Thuong in Danang and, of course, Tam Coc in Ninh Binh tend to be less affected so plan your journey accordingly.

Of course, there are a multitude of other festivals of all descriptions. As the Vietnamese follow several religions according to custom, location and upbringing, it can sometimes be bewildering. Birth and death days of revered ancestors are common, as are Buddhist holidays, Taoist memorials, Christian Holy Days and Confucian celebrations. Weddings are also popular social events and an invitation to one is a prized offering that should not be ignored. Sport, especially football, are much loved activities and if you get a chance to see the national Football team, either live or televised, you will be enthralled with the excitement and passion these events create.

An Invitation to Culture.

We cannot invite you to private functions but we can list at least some of the biggest and best known public festivals and celebrations. Make sure you are aware what is being celebrated and follow the local customs towards behavior and dress. Rowdy or rude manners at solemn events can be the equivalent of the shouting at Easter Mass and nobody appreciates it.

But not all events are solemn, some are a real celebration of life, love and joy. Just watch the locals and follow suit and you are sure to have an unforgettable time.

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