This page provides some details about Vietnam’s main festivals, holidays, events of local people. In fact, this is time to relax or celebrate important events in life.
In the countryside, away from the influence of the larger cities, there is no such thing as a five or six-day workweek. The peasants toil day in and day out, from dawn to dark, until the work is completed. Relief only comes with the advent of a national holiday or a special festival.
The holidays and festivals are generally based on the lunar calendar. For this reason, their festivals may come on a different date each year by our Gregorian calendar.
The Most Popular (Typical) Festivals, Holidays & Recreation In Vietnam
– Vietnamese Tet Nguyen Dan
– Hai Ba Trung Day
– Thanh Minh, Holiday Of The Dead
– Doan Ngu (Opening Ceremony Of Summer)
– The Whale Festival
– Trung Nguyen (Wandering Souls’ Day)
– Trung Thu, Mid-Autumn Festival
– Recreation Activities
The Lunar Calendar
As with the Chinese, the Vietnamese lunar calendar begins with the year 2,637 B.C. It has 12 months of 29 or 30 days each, and the year totals 355 days.
At approximately every third year, an extra month is included between the third and fourth months. This is to reconcile the lunar calendar with the solar one.
The Vietnamese like the lunar calendar because they can be sure of a full moon on the 15th day of each month. In their everyday life, however, they use the Gregorian calendar.
Unlike your centuries of 100 years, the Vietnamese calendar is divided into 60-year periods called “Hoi”
This “Hoi” or 60-year period is divided into two shorter cycles; one of a ten-year cycle and the other of a 12-year cycle.
The ten-cycle, called “Can” is composed of ten heavenly stems. Their names and approximate translation follow:
1. Giap (water in nature)
2. At (water in the home)
3. Binh (lighted fire)
4. Dinh (latent fire)
5. Mau (wood of all types)
6. Ky (wood set to burn)
7. Canh (metal of all kinds)
8. Tan (wrought metal)
9. Nham (virgin land)
10. Quy (cultivated land)
The 12-year cycle, “Ky,” has 12 earth stems represented by the names of 12 names in the zodiac. Their names and translations in order are:
1. Ty (the rat)
2. Suu (the buffalo)
3. Dan (the tiger)
4. Meo (the cat)
5. Thin (the dragon)
6. Ty (the snake)
7. Ngo (the horse)
8. Mui (the goat)
9. Than (the monkey)
10. Dau (the cock, the chicken)
11. Tuat (the dog)
12. Hoi (the pig)
A Vietnamese year is named after the combination of one of the names of the ten heavenly stems and one of the names of the 12 earthly stems. For instance, 1964 was the Year of the Dragon, “Giap Thin.” Giap is the first of the ten-year cycles and Thin is the fifth of the 12-year cycle. The year 1965 was “At Ty.” This follows down the line each year. The ten-year stem is not usually mentioned when discussing the year. Thus, we hear, “The Year of the Dragon” or the “Year of the Snake,” etc., etc., Giap-Thin, the Year of the Dragon, will not return for a 60-year period. This is true of all combinations.
The Dragon is often spoken of or seen in replica in celebrations and festivals in Vietnam. The Vietnamese think he is a fabulous animal and represent him in Sino-Vietnamese mythology in the following manner.
He has the head of a camel, horns of a buck, eyes of a demon (bulging from their sockets), ears of a buffalo, neck, and body of a snake, scales of a carp, claws of an eagle, and also paws of a tiger.
A long barbel hangs down at each side of the dragon’s mouth, and a precious stone can be seen under his bright tongue. He will have a bony knot sticking out on the top of his head. In Vietnam, this is considered to be a mark of superior intelligence. The final characteristic of the dragon is that he will have 81 scaly points running along his backbone.
The dragon breathes out a vapour which he can change to fire or water at any time. He is considered to be immortal and does not reproduce himself. his habitat can be the air, in the water or on the ground.
The way the number of dragons multiplies is the physical transformation of a half-lizard, half-snake reptile called the “Giao Long.” When the “Giao Long” becomes, 1,000 years old, a sack under his throat disappears, and he is transformed into a dragon.
Even though the dragon is a frightening looking animal, he is not considered an evil spirit in Vietnam. In fact, both in China and in Vietnam, the dragon is an emblem of power and nobility.
More Information About Vietnam
Offroad Vietnam has been offering professional guided, semi-guided, and self-guided motorbike tours and motorcycle adventures through Vietnam since December 2006. All guided and semi-guided trips start from Hanoi but are open to ending anywhere in Vietnam. We ride to places that are not easily accessible by cars or other means of transport. This means we see a REAL VIETNAM and experience a true Vietnamese life at homestays.
On your trip, the tour leader will incorporate any event in the region into the riding days and you take part in a real Vietnamese event. We ride in small groups and you have maximum personal attention, your experience from a motorbike excursion will be unique and you will remember it for long.
For more information about Vietnam’s main festivals, holidays, events please contact us.
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