Festivals in Hoi An, Vietnam

  • Full Moon Festival

    • 1 Jan 2014–31 Dec 2014

    The Full Moon Festival is held on every 14th day of the lunar month (Chinese Calendar) Under the full moon, Hoi An becomes one big center stage where all the locals come out and participate in reviving the golden days of prosperity and folklore cultural activities.

    The festival starts around 6.00pm when the whole of HoiAn town is lighted with only dainty lanterns and everyone takes a stroll on the old narrow streets absolutely free from the sound of vehicles engine. Visitors can walkabout to wherever they feel like.

  • Boat Racing Festival

    • 1 Feb 2014

    The boat racing festivals are organized in order to bring a cheerful atmosphere for people in spring. It is not only a competition, but also a ritual in honor of the Water God, stemming from the act of praying for water (common among agriculture-based people).

    For competition events, dragon boats are generally rigged with decorative Chinese dragon heads and tails. At other times, the decorative regalia are usually removed, although the drum often remains aboard for training purposes. Boat racing has become an event to compete and display collective strength.

    Presently boat racing constitutes an important part in the program of many festivals. It has gone beyond a religious activity, becoming a fascinating sport event, which attracts a large number of participants. Before the festival, everybody in team work in the belief strength and the best wishes which the local people give to each other.

  • Nguyen tieu festival

    • 14 Feb 2014

    The Nguyen tieu festival is celebrated annually by the Chinese living in Hoi An on the 16th of lunar January, at Guangdong and Chaozhou Assembly Hall. Residents of the ancient city of Hoi An are always eager to welcome the Nguyen Tieu festival. On this occasion, people organize formal offering rituals at village pagodas and temples to honor Emperor Shen Nong and the tutelary Gods, and pray for bumper crops. This is a jubilant festival that introduces cultural and artistic traditions to domestic and international visitors.

    At night, locals walk on dazzling bright streets, rush into pagodas or temples and participate in the festival. The Chinese light lanterns in front of their homes to signify the cozy atmosphere of the family reunion, and eat che troi nuoc, sticky rice dumplings with caramel ginger syrup, marking family reunion and luck. Foreign tourists are amazed at the festivities and join the traditional games happening throughout the city.

  • Long Chu Festival

    • 14 Feb 2014

    Like many festivals in the small town of Hoi An, the Long Chu Festival is steeped as much in cultural concerns as it in religion. When the new season is coming and the old one is leaving, and the entire climat is uncertain. It is held in the summer months, when plagues and other types of epidemics are most likely to break out in the fishing villages. As a result, religious ceremonies are carried out to fight the diseases.

    The Long Chu Festival in Hoi An is considered a religious firewall meant to keep away epidemics from afflicting the members of the village. In this respect, the festival can almost be seen as a precaution with a religious flavor against all these ailments. Keeping this in mind, the rituals are performed mostly by Priest Doctors or ‘Shamans’, and they involve burning of incense and putting of amulets and talismans in the ‘ghost’s’ abode, with the accompaniment of an entire community chanting prayer songs. An important part of the rituals is the casting of magic spells on the ‘ghosts’ that carry these ailments. These ghosts are then cast into the river, to be later discarded into the sea. One day before the festival, the sorcerers go around the village ticking superstitious charms on those places where bad sprites are suspected to hide and threaten people’ s lives.

    After these rituals are over, the parades and processions begin. Amidst plenty of songs, drama and dance, the community finally gets together to share a common meal, enjoying themselves after hard days of work. After the ritual festivities, the participants in the festival enjoy a variety of games and other attractions, out of which the highlight is the ‘Procession of Long Chu’. In this procession, the ‘King Boat’ (in the form of a dragon) is carried from the house of the people to the sea, and then set afloat to be carried away by the waves.

  • Lady Thu Bon Worshiping Festival

    • 12 Mar 2014

    It is a traditional festival of the ancient Cham Pa people that was inherited and is still kept nowadays.

    During these days, Thu Bon river is sometimes waved by the acclamation and encouragement along two riversides but sometimes is engraved and fond in the memory of the past. Now, the Lady Thu Bon festival is being revived by the Duy Xuyen authorities, with the use of many ancient games from the Central region. Coming to the festival, tourists have a chance to visit My Son Temple and Tower Zone - a famous World cultural heritage.

    Lady Thu Bon, also known as Lady Bo Bo, is the woman who had a great contribution to agriculture and fishery in alluvial land. During the festival, the atmosphere is animated and people are excited. Apart from the offerings, the festival includes traditional games and processions such as regatta, vehicle and water processions, dances and festival songs. Boat races are still some of the most interesting activities of the Thu Bon Goddess Festival, though now the competing teams come solely from Quang Nam. Before the race, all contestants attend a worshiping ceremony, offering incense at Thu Bon Temple. Apart from the ceremonies and their legends, festival-goers can also enjoy art performances, fashion shows, a national beach volleyball tournament, photo exhibitions on Quang Nam, and seminars on culture preservation.

  • Lady Thien Hau Worshiping Festival

    • 22 Apr 2014

    The festival is held annually by the Chinese living in Hoi An on. At the Fujian and the Duong Thuong Assembly Halls. However, most of the other member of the society pitch in and participate during the festivities. Devotees come to this pagoda from far away places in order to pray for happiness, prosperity and fulfillment.

    According to the legend, Lady Thien Hau was originally from China and belonged to a virtuous family during the Song Dynasty (960-1279); she had the special gift of forecasting the weather and hence help people avoid acts of God. In the 19th century, Chinese people traveling by sea to the south of Vietnam were protected by her. She is said to be the ‘Goddess of the Sea’, and is not only responsible for this small fishing town’s chief source of income, but also for protecting the community who's maine occupation is fishing. On top of this, she is also responsible for protecting sea-faring vessels. The town's people believe she has continuously supported them to settle in their new land, and is still supporting them today. This day is considered auspicious as is believed to be Lady Thien Hau’s birthday.

    The festival is organized in a widely decorated environment, with colourful flowers and lanterns carrying traditional Chinese designs. It has two parts: the first part comprises of Chinese worship rituals, while the second one is more of a cultural display, with music, dance, parades, fortune telling, oracles and fairs. The ‘Lion Dance’ is always present at this festival, while traditional games such as unicorn dances and lottery games attract a great number of visitors and locals.

  • Wandering Soul Day

    • 10 Aug 2014–11 Aug 2014

    The Vu Lan Day in Hoi An is an event associated with the annual wandering of the souls of ancestors; this event has its counterpart in almost all religions across the world. The Vu Lan Day in Hoi An is known in English as the “Wandering Souls Day”, as on this day souls are said to wander about their mortal homes. This event is commemorated in all the pagodas and shrines in Hoi An.

    The biggest festival in Vietnam after Tet, The Wandering Soul Day is considered a very sacred event. If you are not just looking for fun and good times, but you want to know more about the Viet culture as well, then a visit to Hoi An during this season is highly recommended.

    The tradition has very old roots, but it continues unaltered to this day, with families putting out offerings - flowers, fruits, sticky rice cakes, boiled cassava, sweet potatoes and sugarcane - to nurture the souls of their ancestors. The Vu Lan Day is a continiuation of the tradition of seeking forgiveness for the sins of deceased parents, so that they may be spared the tortures of hell and may return home. This day is also a mark of gratitude towards deceased parents. Lights are set afloat on the river to guide the wandering souls to nirvana. Also, on this night food is spread out on an altar within the house to appease the souls' hunger, and false money is burnt as an offering to honor them.

  • Mid-Autumn Festival

    • 7 Sep 2014–9 Sep 2014

    Do you know why we treasure this special festival? Tet Trung Thu, as it is known in Vietnam, or the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, is a wonderful ancient festival that revolves around children. The festival helps create the most charming and picturesque night of the year. It involves the customs of moon contemplation, procession of stars & moon using shaped lanterns, lion dance, as well as parties with moon cakes and fruits.

    Celebration on animated streets Besides traditional paper lanterns and toys, plastic and bamboo plates, cakes, candies, toy animlas made of rice dough, dragon heads and faces of the Earth God displayed everywhere in the markets, you can also find a variety of the more modern toys with batteries and remote controls, for the delight and entertainment of the young. In well-off families, the mid-autumn banquet is also an opportunity to show off their nubile girls’ cooking abilities.

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