Vietnam Festivals and Events
The festivals and events are calendared in Lunar month. Normally, a lunar month stay later than western month of around 30 days. For those who are deeply interested in cultural and spiritual events, choosing Vietnam tours and taking part in Vietnam festivals will be one of the best ways to enjoy Vietnam holiday and Vietnam travel.
KEO PAGODA FESTIVAL
Keo Pagoda is located in Vu Nhat commune, Thai Binh province. This great pagoda was built as early as 17th century in honour of a monk whose name has been recorded in books: Duong Khong Lo. This man was originally a fisherman, then entered religion and attained Nirvana. He knew magic and once came to the capital to cure King Ly Thanh Tong so he was honored as the teacher of princes. He had Nghiem Quang Pagoda built and later renamed it Than Quang (Keo Pagoda).
The Keo Pagoda festival is annually held for three days, from 13th to 15th of the 9th lunar month to worship Buddhist Duong Khong Lo. He died on the 3rd of the sixth month, the festival of Keo Pagoda starts on the 13 of the 9th month, 100 days after his death. The 14th of the 9th lunar month is his birthday. The festival lasts one more day, through the 15th because it is the day in the middle of the lunar month, usually marked by Buddhists.
On the 13th, the festival begins with a procession to remind people of the anniversary of Buddhist Duong Khong Lo. Then a boat race and a competition of literary recitation are held in the afternoon. When the night falls, it is time for a trumpet and drum competition.
On the morning of the 14th, Khong Lo's birthday is celebrated. It is followed by a procession including a red and white horse pulling a carriage. The carriage is accompanied by eight flag bearers and 42 men carrying bat but luu bo, a classical Vietnamese weapon. In the afternoon of the 14th, in Gia Roi temple, people hold a worshipping ceremony. On the 15th, all ceremonies continue in a more entertaining manner with more traditional games such as duck catching, rice cooking competition, firecrackers hurling contest.
Starting Dates in Western Calendar 2011 Oct 09, 2012 Oct 27.
OC OM BOC FESTIVAL
The Oc Om Boc Festival is a religious service to worship the moon god of the Kho Me minority group. The festival is usually held on December 15th of the Buddhist Calendar, or in October following the Gregorian Calendar. At this religious festival, people thank the moon god who brings about good crops, provides abundant fish in the rivers, and maintains the health of human beings. During the night of the full moon, as the moon appears, people prepare a feast in the front yard of the pagoda or in their houses. A plate of green rice flakes, ripe bananas, fresh peeled coconuts, mangoes and other dishes are served to the moon god.
After the ceremony, the elders ask the children of the house to sit flat on the ground with crossed legs, clasping their hands. The elders then take a handful of green rice flakes and feed all of the children at the same time. People also release paper lanterns into the sky and banana-tree ferries, attached with colorful lights and loaded with offerings into the channels and rivers accompanied by the sound of music. The custom of releasing flying lights and floating ferries is believed to sweep away the darkness and humidity of the rainy season. On the following morning of the full moon, the Ngo Boat Race is held. This crowded festival is well prepared and deemed to be a great cultural event, drawing hundreds of thousands of participants. In Kho Me language, the Ngo Boat is called "Tuk Ngo". This boat is a pirogue, chiseled from a hole in a trunk of good wood , in a lozenge shape. It has a curved head and tail; therefore, it needs skillful sailors to manage it in a competition. Otherwise, it is likely to be capsized.
The racing spectacle takes place in a very serious manner, with the participation of thousands of viewers who stand along a track that stretches for kilometres. The boat master, standing in the middle part of the junk, encourages his teammates with a light gong. When the first boat reaches the finish line, a crowd of people simultaneously scream. They believe that they have just completed their responsibility to the moon god.
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER
The Kate Festival is held annually by the Cham ethnic group who inhabit the An Phuoc District of Ninh Thuan Province. The Kate Festival ia held on the first ten days of the seventh month of the Cham Calendar (this cooresponds 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 creator of 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.
GHE NGO FESTIVAL
According to the Khmer people, the 15th day of the tenth lunar month marks the end of their year. Khmer people in Vietnam's southern Mekong Delta celebrate this event with ceremonies, feasts and Ngo boat races. On the Khmer New Year's Eve, villagers gather in the grounds of their local pagoda, in a treeless area. The moon is invited to watch the ceremonies, which begin with the construction of a bamboo archway, decorated with leaves and flowers. Beneath this arch stands a table on which villagers place offerings of bananas, coconuts, sweet potatoes, cassava and, most importantly, new sticky rice.
When the moon appears, an old man lights incense and candles and prays to the Moon Deity. Following this prayer, children kneel and raise their clasped hands to the moon. The host of the ceremony places chunks of sticky rice in the children's mouths, pats them on the back and tells them to make a wish. These wishes are said to foreshadow the fate of the community in the coming year.
Following this ceremony, the festivities begin. Lantern-rockets, made of paper and powered by burning oil, careen into the air. Candles are lit and the dripping wax, collected on banana leaves, is used to predict the weather. Rafts made of banana leaves are released on canals. And like at all successful festivals, the rice wine flows freely.
The following day features Ghe Ngo (Ngo boat) races. The long, slim boats, often made from the hollowed-out trunk of a Sao tree, each hold about 50 men. Prior to the race, people place incense and candles on the boats and, accompanied by a traditional orchestra of gongs, perform various ceremonies to choose the boats' captain and crew. One man is chosen to sit on the prow, where he will pray to the gods and entertain the rowers. The races themselves are thrilling, as the rowers push themselves to the limit, encouraged by the jubilant cheers of the crowd.