Ninh Binh comes alive with festivals and ceremonies throughout the year. However, like the rest of Vietnam the Spring season marking the end of winter and the start of the new Lunar year sees most of the celebrations, .
Another cluster of festivals occurs in September/October, marking the end of summer. Additionally, various festivals for local heroes, legends, and gods occur throughout the year.
Following is a brief listing of some of the 470 annual festivals and events in Ninh Binh. Listing all festivities, including special one-off events on notable occasions, is nearly impossible. As this site grows, we hope to add more information, but that it may be a lifelong task!
Remember that Vietnam follows the variable Lunar cycle, not the Western Gregorian “fixed” calendar. The dates given follow the local convention but will not always match with Western dates. Visitors need to become familiar with the Lunar calendar (which can also confuse many Vietnamese) or just ask around as needed.
The Festivals of Vietnam are exciting, colorful and very social events that are a great way to meet and celebrate with local people and to experience the history and pomp of this fascinating country.
Kim Sơn District
Phat Diem is a largely catholic district and so the dates for festivals here will correspond with the universal Christian celebrations like Christmas, Easter and so on, using the standard Gregorian calendar. That being said, Phat Diem puts a particularly Vietnamese flavor into the mix and is a great way for Christians of any nationality to see how the Vietnamese do it! Christmas: December 25th annually
Non Khe Village Festival is held annually on the 14th of the first lunar month in honor of ancient ancestors
Nguyen Cong Tru Temple Festival occurs between the 3-15th day of the 11th Lunar cycle when a 3 day festival is held to honour Nguyen Cong Tru (1778–1858) a noted scholar and mandarin under the early Nguyên dynasty and said to be the founder of the Kim Son district.
Yên Mô District
Ngoc Lam Village Festival is held on the 5th day of the Lunar New Year every year in Ngoc Lam village, Yen Lam commune, Yen Mo district.
The festival of Nan temple is held at the Quang Thuong Pagoda – Mount Hau Temple and takes place on January 10 every year in Quang Thuong village, Yen Thang commune, Yen Mo to honor the generals of the Hung Kings period.
Quang Phuc Temple Festival is celebrated from the 10th to the 15th day of the 3rd lunar month in Quang Phuc village, Yen Phong commune, Yen Mo, to commemorate the gods Cao Son and Quy Minh .
The Wrestling Festival in Bo Vi village is the biggest wrestling festival in Ninh Binh, taking place in Yen Thinh town, Yen Mo on the 4th day of the New Year every year. The Bo Vi village festival honors Saint Nguyen and the martial spirit of Yen Mo people.
Nho Quan District
Cuc Phuong tree-lowering ceremony of the Muong community in Cuc Phuong commune, Nho Quan takes place on January 7 every year.
Mong La communal house festival takes place on January 15 every year at Mong La communal house and pagoda, Yen Quang commune, Nho Quan.
Thuong Thai Son Temple Festival is on the 3rd day of the 3rd lunar month honors Princess Nhoi Hoa and the traditions of two ethnic groups (Vietnam-Laos) in Son Lai commune, Nho Quan .
Chau Son Palace Festival takes place on the 12th day of the 11th lunar month every year in Phu Son commune, Nho Quan district in memory of Son Tinh, the princess who came to Ninh Binh to learn magic and medicine so as to help the people of Ninh Binh.
Gia Viễn District
Thanh Nguyen Temple Festival in Gia Vien district takes place from the 8th to the 10th day of the third lunar month. A tribute to Saint Nguyen Minh Khong, the main festival is held every 5 years or every 10 years (depending on economic conditions). A smaller annual festival is held in spring. In the main ceremony, there is the custom of carrying water from the Hoang Long River to the temple as well as a variety of traditional games, dances and ceremonies. Hard to catch but well worth the effort.
Hoa Lu Cave (aka Thung Lau Temple) Festival is held annual on the 8th day of the 10th lunar month, a time when all the surrounds are covered in swaying white reed flowers. Lots of traditional games, theatre and music and if you are lucky, the procession of women carrying offerings of lit incense from nearby Thung La village.
Dich Long Pagoda is held on 6th -7th day of the 3rd lunar month ( around March – April )
Ninh Binh City
The Festival of Elephants and Horses Stone takes place on the 12th day of the 10th lunar month in Ninh Khanh ward, Ninh Binh city .
Ông Táo (Kitchen Gods ) Ceremony is held annually, 8 days prior to the end of the Lunar Year (December 23). Local people come to Non Nuoc Pagoda in Ninh Binh City to release fish into the Day River and pray for a happy and prosperous new year.
Non Nuoc Pagoda Festival occurs on the full moon day (the first day of the lunar month). There are also many mini-festivals at Non Nuoc Pagoda where the devout come to the temple to worship and pray for health and good fortune.
Tam Điệp City
Dau Temple Festival is a large festival in the Tam Diep district , taking place from January 15 to the end of March of the lunar calendar every year in Nam Son ward, Tam Diep city .
Hoa Lư District
Hoa Lua Festival aka the Truong Yen Festival is reputedly the largest festival in North Vietnam. Held annually on the 8th -10th of the third month of the lunar calendar (approximately March) in Truong Yen commune, Hoa Lu district. The festival celebrates and venerates the Dinh/Le kings Dinh Tien Hoang and Le Dai Hanh. The festival is in two parts: a water procession at Truong Yen water station on Hoang Long river and later at the two temples of King Dinh and King Le.
Thai Vi Temple Festival is usually held from the 14th to the 17th day of the third lunar month (March/Apri every year
Tran Temple hosts a large festival on the 18th day of the third month lunar month (approximately April) annually. The festival commemorates King Quy Minh (Tran Dynasty) and is held on the Sao Khe river. It is associated with the spring travel journey of King Quy Minh to Trang An caves, finishing at the Thai Vi Temple dock where offerings of incense, votive papers and food are given.
Nhất Trụ Pagoda has several major festivals. On the 15th day of the first lunar month a festival occurs to celebrate and place Buddhist offerings in the pagoda to pray for security and strength throughout the coming year. On the 8th day of the fourth lunar month, the Pagoda hosts a large ceremony to pray for a prosperous spring and an abundant harvest. Nhat Tru Pagoda, along with all the Hoa Lu temples is part of the massive Truong Yen Festival held at the beginning of the third lunar month.