Vietnam is a country blessed with beautiful scenery and deep cultural heritage. Tourism has, unsurprisingly, boomed in recent years - but despite this, Vietnam has managed to retain its glorious traditions and atmosphere.
Many of these traditions can be seen all year round in this stunning country, but in order to get a real sense of having experienced Vietnam's cultural heritage, there are a number of specific events and celebrations which should be top of any visitor's hit list.
While some of these fall outside of the drier months in Vietnam, don't let that put you off experiencing these snippets of culture. Rainy weather is part of the tradition in Vietnam, after all!
The Best Cultural Events in Vietnam
1. Tet Nguyen Dan (Vietnamese Lunar New Year)
Taking place over seven days at a point between late January and mid-February (the date varies due to the lunar calendar), Tet is the ultimate Vietnamese festival to plan your visit around.
Full of colour, noise and a family atmosphere, it sums up Vietnam and its beautiful culture. With fireworks, street parties and the gorgeous aroma of incense, there is always something to see, do or even smell.
If you plan to visit during Tet, be sure to book your travel and accommodation well in advance and be prepared that many restaurants, shops and sights may be closed too - but on the plus side, beaches will be quiet and the experience will be unbeatable.
2. The Tet Trung Nguyen (Feast of the Wandering Souls and Hungry Ghosts)
This celebration takes place on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month, which usually falls in August or early September.
It is a traditional Buddhist festival, observed across many Asian countries, and is seen as a way to pardon the condemned souls who are released from hell. Offerings are prepared by families for their ancestors as a way to grant absolution for their souls.
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3. Hue Festival
Taking place every two years, Hue Festival was established in 2000 to preserve traditional customs practised since the Nguyen Dynasty in the former capital city. Held for one week during either April, May or June, the Festival in Hue City showcases performances, art, music, and numerous other talents and skills.
You can experience poetry, fashion shows and even human chess in this eclectic celebration. For the complete Vietnamese experience, sample some street food as you wander around - Vietnamese pho soup is particularly famous.
4. The Mid Autumn Festival
Also - and probably better - known as the Full Moon Festival, this event usually takes place between September and October and is a way of marking the end of the harvest.
The festival is traditionally aimed at children, and they'll certainly enjoy themselves. Parents can also treat them to things like masks, lanterns and snacks to keep them entertained.
For the tourist, this is probably the most photogenic and enjoyable festival to visit, particularly in Hoi An, where there are street performances to be enjoyed, as well as the stunning sight of hundreds and hundreds of colourful lanterns floating along the Thu Bon Riverside and decorating the beautiful Japanese Covered Bridge.
If you're an Instagram fanatic, this is one certainly not to be missed.
Which one of these enthralling events will you choose to experience during your time in Vietnam?
This is only a taster of what's available, too - the great thing about Vietnam is that there's sure to be something going on whenever you visit. You'll truly be spoilt for choice!
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