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Vietnam Lantern Festival

Mon, 30 Jun 2014. Last updated Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:42

Vietnam Lantern Fesival is one of four most important and biggest festivals when the Moon is full during a year, including Tet Nguyen Tieu (the 1st month), Vesak (the 4th month), Vu Lan (the 7th month), and Mid-Autumn festival (the 8th month).

Thuong Nguyen, also commonly known as Vietnam Lantern Festival or First Full Moon Festival is held on the first full moon day of the first lunar month. This festival is mostly held in temples of pagodas because the full moon day is called the day of Buddha. After going to pagodas or temples, Vietnamese people come home to meet people and eat “Co”, a small party with traditional dishes. Buddhism was introduced in Vietnam more than a thousand year, which connects all Vietnamese cultural traditions together. Although the festival originated from China, Vietnamese people inherited and created a new Vietnamese festival imbued with the Dharma. For most Vietnamese pagodas, the major meaning of the festival is praying for a peaceful and stable nation, healthy, prosperity and development. Therefore, there are a large number of Vietnamese people go to temples and pagoda.


Offerings in Tet Nguyen Tieu


After the most important festival of Vietnamese people, Tet – Tet Nguyen Dan, Vietnamese are eager to celebrate Tet Nguyen Tieu which is held at the same time with the first full Moon of the New Year. If traveling the country during this time, foreign tourists will have an opportunity to explore culture in Vietnam in a comprehensive way. Even though originating from China, Tet Nguyen Tieu is widespread in Vietnam and becomes flexible to Vietnamese culture. Nowadays, this festival plays an important role in cultural and religious life of Vietnamese people.

Tet Nguyen Tieu – The First Full Moon of the New Year is thought to be one of the most important festivals in Vietnam with the full Moon. As Tet Nguyen Tieu in Vietnam currently depends much on Buddhism, and lives apart from the festival of China; thus, on the 15th day of the first month in lunar year, Vietnamese people often come to pagodas to pray for the best things to their family, relatives, and loved ones. Meanwhile, others will eat vegetarian food in these days for the purposes of peace and luck. This is one of the most important Vietnamese festivals widely held nationwide, but Cho Lon in Ho Chi Minh City might be the most fascinating place during Tet Nguyen Tieu. Coming here, roads and streets are full of street food which symbolizes for “reunion” in the occasion, especially “Che troi nuoc”.


Lantern parade in Cho Lon Saigon during Lantern Festival


Here is also the destination for people gather and join interesting activities. Dropping by the city’s Cultural Center between the 12th and the 15th days, tourists will have an opportunity to witness fantastic festive atmosphere of the Chinese people group living here. Exciting atmosphere of dragon dancing shows creates a unique feature during the festival. The image of lions and dragons is thought to bring luck, success and wealth for the New Year. In addition, the colorful parades along the streets in near the Cultural Center in the city appeal both local people and tourists. Many people decorate their vehicles, and ride along streets to create exciting parades, which seems to form a small street carnival. You might not find this moment and atmosphere in other places. Meanwhile, in District 1, with many ancient architectures and splendid buildings, the traditional festival in Vietnam becomes more attractive in the harmony with oriental beauty of old-fashion houses and intrinsic cultural values.


Street parade in Cho Lon Saigon in Lantern Festival


Generally, Tet Nguyen Tieu is organized mostly in the Buddhist community, especially in the Central and Southern Vietnam. Like in Ho Chi Minh City, the festival in Hue, Da Nang and Hoi An  will be held as an important event after Tet Nguyen Dan. During the festival, many people practice vegetarian diet. In Northern Vietnam, such as Hanoi or Thanh Hoa, Tet Nguyen Tieu is an occasion for northerners to pray to the ancestors. They will be busy in preparing for worshipping their family’s altars by shopping for grocery and other offerings of the most beautiful flowers and freshest fruits. In Hoi An, Tet Nguyen Tieu is organized greatly with a series of colorful lanterns. All lanterns are decorated sophisticatedly and exhibited gorgeously. Along the streets in Hoi An, lanterns are hung up in rows, which creates a charming and attractive view in this ancient town. Coming here, you will be lured into the magical beauty of Tet Nguyen Tieu, which you might not forget the most wonderful moment of visiting here during the festival.

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