Volunteer in Vietnam with Friends for Asia

2013 Holidays in Vietnam

Vietnam Holidays and Festivals 2013

Throughout the year, the Vietnamese people celebrate a number of holidays and festivals. There are 9 official public holidays recognized by the government. During this time, offices and businesses close down. There are also numerous other special occasions in which celebrations take place while commercial and government organizations remain open.

Vietnamese New Year 2009 Festivities

Setting the Dates

Some holidays in Vietnam are based on the lunar calendar. This means that the date in the Gregorian calendar can change from year to year. Care must be taken to check when a particular festival is held for those who wish to partake in the celebrations. Buddhist festivals typically follow the lunar calendar while national holidays are based on fixed dates.

Teachers Day

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 is Teacher’s Day. This is not an official public holiday but celebrations may be found at schools throughout the country.

National Defense Day

Saturday, December 22, 2012 commemorates the foundation of the Vietnam People’s Army in 1945.

Christmas Day

Tuesday, December 25, 2012 is celebrated by Christians around Vietnam. The largest Christian communities are in the south which is where the most prominent festivities are. This is not an official public holiday.

New Year’s Day

Tuesday, January 1, 2013 is an official public holiday in Vietnam. It is known locally as Tet Duong Lich.

Communist Party of Vietnam Anniversary

Sunday, February 3, 2013 celebrates the foundation of the Communist Party of Vietnam in 1930.

Tet Nguyen Dan

Saturday, February 9, 2013 to Thursday, February 14, 2013. Also known as Vietnamese New Year, this is the country’s biggest celebration. It is an official holiday and all businesses will be closed during this time. New Year’s Eve is on February 9 while New Year’s Day is on February 10. Locals will travel to visit their families in this period so it may be difficult to book transport and accommodation. Prior planning is recommended.

Festival at the Perfume Pagoda

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 is an important date for Buddhists around Vietnam. A pilgrimage is made to the Perfume Pagoda near Hanoi. Travelers enter the innermost temple here in the hopes of gaining happiness, luck and prosperity for the coming year.

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Gio to Hung Vuong

Friday, April 19, 2013 commemorates the Hung Emperors who, according to legend, ruled over Vietnam 50 centuries ago. Since this holiday falls on a Friday, travelers should book transportation and accommodation in advance.

Victory/Reunification/Liberation Day

__Tuesday, April 30, 2013 __ marks the capture of Saigon by the Viet Cong in 1975 and celebrates the eventual reunification of Vietnam. It is known locally as Ngay Chien Thang, Ngay Thong Nhat, or Ngay Giai Phong.

International Workers Day

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 commemorates the economic and social achievements of Vietnam’s working class. Parades are held in important squares around the country. This official holiday is known locally as Ngay Quoc Te Lao Dong.

Dien Bien Phu Victory Day

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 is the anniversary of the Vietnamese victory against the French at Dien Bien Phu. This battle led to the withdrawal of the French and the eventual partitioning of Vietnam into North and South. It is not an official public holiday.

Ho Chi Minh’s Birthday

Sunday, May 19, 2013 is the birthday of Ho Chi Minh, the country’s most revered national figure. Celebrations are countrywide with larger festivities taking place in Ho Chi Minh City. Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum in Hanoi is also a popular destination at this time. Other celebrations include cultural shows and candlelight vigils.

Vietnamese Family Day

Friday, June 28, 2013 is a festival promoting traditional Vietnamese family values and culture. Events are held nationwide. This is not an official holiday.

August Revolution Commemoration Day

Monday, August 19, 2013 celebrates the anniversary of the August Revolution in 1945 in which the Viet Minh began to rebel against French rule. This event sparked off demonstrations that led to the eventual independence of the country.

National Day

Monday, September 2, 2013 is the year’s final official holiday. It marks Vietnam’s independence from France in 1945 and is known locally as Ngay Quoc Khanh. This is a long weekend and travel plans should be made in advance.

Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival

Friday, September 13, 2013. The city of Haiphong opens up for the Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival. In carefully choreographed movements, buffalos have to compete against each other. There are several rounds of competition after which the winning buffalo is rewarded.

Mid-Autumn Festival

Thursday, September 19, 2013 is the Mid-Autumn Festival. During this time, festivities include lion dances, lantern lighting and mooncakes.

Capital Liberation Day

Thursday, October 10, 2013 marks the true end to the French presence in Vietnam. On this day in 1954, the Viet Minh successfully took back Hanoi from French troops. Celebrations include performances, traditional cuisine and craft festivals.

Teachers Day

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 is Teachers Day around the country.

National Defense Day

Sunday, December 22, 2013 is National Defense Day in Vietnam.

Christmas Day

Wednesday, December 25, 2013 is Christmas for Christians around Vietnam.