While Vietnam follows a 12-month Gregorian calendar for daily life, many local festivals follow a lunar calendar, meaning their dates vary each year.  Below is a list of public holidays and major festivals according to the Gregorian calendar. Please note these dates are for 2017.

January

1 Jan – New Year’s Day

2 Jan – New Year’s Holiday

26 Jan - 1 Feb – Lunar New Year Holidays

Tet (Vietnamese New Year) - Late January/Early February

The most important holiday in Vietnam, this multi-day celebration starts on the first day of the first month of the lunar calendar and is a time of traditional ceremonies, special foods and paying respects to ancestors. Visitors will see streets, shops and homes decorated with trees, fruit, paper flowers, calligraphy and lanterns. Some businesses close and transport is usually crowded during this time, as many Vietnamese travel to be with their families. Tourist sites tend to be very busy, as well. Although we do our best to run our Vietnamese tours during Tet as per the scheduled itinerary, it is likely there will be some changes to transport, accommodation or order of destinations visited.

April

6-7 April – Hung Kings Commemoration Day

30 April – Reunification Day

Reunification Day

Also known as Victory Day or Liberation Day, this public holiday marks the fall of southern Vietnam, the end of the Vietnam War and the resulting unification of Vietnam. Streets are dressed in Vietnamese flags as patriotic parades take place in major cities across the country. Music performances featuring victorious songs can be heard in public squares, while fireworks light up the sky in Ho Chi Minh City. Reunification Day immediately precedes Labour Day, giving many people a few days off work and school. Most businesses close during this time, though shops and tourist areas remain open.

May

1 May – Labour Day

2 May – Reunification Day Holiday

Buddha’s Birthday – typically May

Temples throughout Vietnam celebrate Buddha’s birthday with colourful street processions on the 15th day of the 4th lunar month each year. Cities are transformed into a feast for the senses, as pagodas are beautifully decorated and flower garlands and illuminated lanterns are floated on waterways.

September

2 September – National Day

4 September – National Day Holiday

National Day

National Day commemorates the Vietnam Declaration of Independence from France on 2 September 1945. A festival atmosphere can be felt across the country as flags are hung, bars and restaurants extend their hours and streets are closed to traffic for patriotic street parties. In Hanoi, the streets around Hoan Kiem Lake become pedestrian-only and fill with performances and an array of vendors selling tasty street food. In Saigon, fireworks and a street party fill Nguyen Hue Street.

Tet Trung Thu (Mid-Autumn Festival) - Late September/Early October

This popular festival belongs to the children, but is still fun for adults too. With ancient roots rich in myth and legend, travellers will delight in seeing kids performing lion dances and participating in street processions. It’s also customary to give and receive Banh Trung Thu, or boxes of mooncakes, during this time. Filled with lotus seeds, red beans and sometimes a yoke from a salted egg to represent the moon, don’t miss tasting this traditional festival food.

For a current list of public holidays in Vietnam go to www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/asia/Vietnam/public-holidays.

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