Bạch Đằng Festival
Yên Giang Commune, Yên Hưng District
Time: The festival is organized
on the eight day of the fourth lunar
month, some years last 4 days and
Significance: It celebrates the
Bạch Đằng Victories of national heroes
struggled against foreign aggression:
Ngô Quyền (938); Lê Hoàn (981); and Trần
Hưng Đạo and the famous generals of the
Trần Dynasty (1288).
Bạch Đằng River has been etched into
locals’ memories as a site where
national heroes struggled against
foreign aggression. These included: Ngô
Quyền who planted sharp wooden stakes
into the riverbed to defeat a Chinese
invasion force (938); Lê Hoàn (981); and
Trần Hưng Đạo and the famous generals of
the Trân Dynasty (1288).
The ceremonies are comprised of the
usual incense burning and offerings in
Trần Hưng Đạo Temple and Vua Bà Temple.
The populations of the village stage a
procession along the banks of the river,
and also have a boat race. Bamboo
leaf-shaped kayaks gliding across the
water surface with the shouting of
spectators celebrate the victories of
days gone by.
Along with the boat races, other
entertainment is organized for the
festival, such as wrestling, human chess
playing, and cock-fighting.
Cửa Ông Festival
Place: Cửa Ông Temple, Cửa Ông Ward,
Cẩm Phả Town.
Time: Yearly, the festivities
take place at the Cửa Ông Temple from
the second day of the first lunar month
until the end of the third lunar month.
Significance: Cửa Ông Temple is
dedicated to Trần Quốc Tảng, the third
son of Trân Hưng Đạo, who defeated many
enemies and brought peace to the region.
Hoàng Câu, a local general who fought
bravely against invaders, is also
honoured here. The festival dedicates to
the merit of Trần Quốc Tảng and other
Generals of Trân Dynasty.
Cửa Ông Temple is one of the famous Trân
Dynasty vestiges of the northeast
region. The temple has three areas: low,
middle and high, facing the majestic Bái
Tu Long Bay. During the war, the middle
and lower temples were both destroyed,
but today the low temple has been
Formerly, locals organized the main
festivity on the second day of the
third lunar month. There were grand cult
ceremonies, and a palanquin procession
carrying Trần Quốc Tảng’s funeral
tablets from the temple to a shrine in
Trác Chân Commune. Legend has it that
this was the place where Trần Quốc
Tảng’s ashes drifted after being
dispersed on the river. The procession
would then proceed back to the temple,
symbolizing the inspection tour of Trần
Quốc Tảng (called Đức Ông).
Long Tiên Pagoda Festival
Long Tiên Pagoda at the foot of Bài Thơ
(Poem) Mountain, Hạ Long City
Time: The official festive day is
on the 24th of the third lunar month
Significance: Long Tiên Pagoda
was built quite recently, 1941, and is
the largest pagoda in Hạ Long City. The
festivities of the pagoda are not
reserved solely for Buddhist faithful,
but hold a spiritual meaning for every
Some locals say that every day is a
festive day at Long Tiên Pagoda. Foreign
and domestic tourists arrive for
sightseeing, while faithful burn incense
and recite prayers to Buddha. But it is
on the 1st and 15th days of each lunar
month that they arrive in greater
numbers, and particularly over Têt.
When spring arrives, it is the festive
season for the whole region. People call
Long Tiên Pagoda Tŕnh (submit) Pagoda.
They arrive to burn joss-sticks here
first, afterwards to continue on a
pilgrimage to Yên Tu Mountain and
finally to participate in the
festivities at Cua Ông Temple.
Locals organized a procession carrying
palanquin pass by Trần Quốc Nghiễn
Temple (Đức Ông Temple) to An Dương
Vương Temple in Vung Đâng via Lồng Tồng
then back to the pagoda. It was told
that in the carrying palanquin race of
the processions many people carrying
palanquins run fast seem to fly past the
canal like in the tale.
Thập Cửu Tiên Công
At Thập Cửu Tiên Công Temple (Temple of
the 19 Founding Fathers) in Cẩm La
Commune on Hà Nam Island, Yên Hưng
Time: Every year, the village
starts the festivities on the seventh
day of the first lunar month.
Significance: In commemorating
the 19 founding fathers who built dykes,
created the populated island of today.
Legend has it; the festival opening day
was the day founding fathers discovered
an underground fresh water on the
island, more than 500 years ago.
At Tiên Công Temple, dignitaries present
themselves to the founding fathers, then
choose four elderly men to assist them
in the ritual of ground-breaking.
On the seventh day, the senior men of
the village (all older than 70 years
old), along with their children and
grandchildren, arrive at the temple. The
young people carry offerings (include
betel and areca, wine, steamed glutinous
rice, chicken or the head of a pig) on
their heads to the decorative cult
tables. The elderly men follow them, if
need be, aided by their offspring. Every
family makes its own procession. All
processions join together near the
temple make a jubilant and animated
atmosphere but still sacred. The old
men present offerings and worship Tiên
Công, the ceremony generally ends at
Then, comes the ground-breaking ritual:
the four chosen men pick four balls of
earth and build a mock dyke in front of
the incense table of the founding
fathers. They then perform acts of
wrestling to represent the “struggle
against nature". This is to continue the
cause of those who built dykes on the
sea to protect the villages and hamlets
of the island.
Trà Cổ Festival
Trà Cổ Village, Móng Cái Town.
Time: Festivities in Trà Cổ take
place yearly from the 30th day of the
fifth lunar month until the sixth day of
the sixth lunar month.
Significance: Nearly 600 years
ago, Trà Cổ people built a communal
house dedicated to the tutelary genies
of the village. The festival is took
place to memorize the merit of the
tutelary genies of the village and pray
good lucks for villagers.
Trà Cổ the site where one first places
the pen on the map to draw the S-shaped
character of Vietnam. The inhabitants of
Trà Cổ originate from Đồ Sơn.
Quận He (Nguyễn Hữu Cầu), a leader of
the peasants who rose up during the Lê -
Trịnh period is also worshipped here.
Representative of village communal house
architecture of Vietnam, the building is
still well preserved.
On the 25th day of the fifth lunar
month, a procession of boats sails from
Trà Cổ to the ancestors’ native land of
Đồ Sơn. On the 30th day of the fifth
lunar month, the boats return to Trà Cổ.
The next day, festivities begin with the
procession of the King to the sea (also
named the procession of the King to the
shrine). It is accompanied by an armed
troop, an orchestra, a strong and
handsome young man chosen by the village
population holding the flag and people
After the ritual procession, there are
agricultural contests, such as a
pig-breeding competition. The animals
receive intensive care many months in
advance from their masters in hopes of
getting the first prize. There is also a
cooking contest, with the best cooks
acquiring fame throughout the village.
On the sixth day, the festivities
conclude with a flower dance. In this
ritual, the population pray to the
genies to allow them to catch many fish,
have good luck in their trading
activities and to have a prosperous
Quan Lạn Festival
Place: Đ́nh Wharf in Quan Lạn
Commune, Vân Đồn District
Time: The festivities are
organized yearly on the 18th day of the
sixth lunar month, but the celebration
lasts from the 10th to the 20th days of
Significance: The festival is
organized to commemorate the victory
against the Mongol invaders in 1288, as
well as the feats of Trân Khánh Dư, a
famous Trân general. They also pray for
good “harvest” from the sea.
Quan Lạn Communal House Festival is the
village-wide celebration for the
inhabitants of the island community of Quan Lạn: located the central area of
the ancient Vân Đồn Harbour.
The 10th day of the sixth lunar month
features the ritual of “closing the
village": the inhabitants cannot leave,
but those who have moved away and other
guests from any corner of the country
The festivities of Quan Lạn Communal
House are comprised of a traditional
rowing competition: villagers are
divided into two sides. They establish
their particular training grounds on the
13th day of the month in order to
prepare themselves. The boats used are
ordinary 5 to 6-tonne fishing boats,
with lowered sails and dragon-heads
carved on the fronts.
The 16th day is reserved for receiving
the genies. There is a procession for
the funeral tablets of Trân Khánh Dư
from the temple to the village’s
On the 18th day at about 3:00 PM (every
year at this time the tide reaches the
temple’s wharf), the boats start. The
"soldiers" on one side wear a white
jacket and blue pants, while the other
group wears gray or black clothing. When
the opposing generals meet each other at
the communal house, the “soldiers” and
spectators shout resoundingly; the noise
echoes throughout the region. The two
generals make sword-tracings in the air,
and the two troops meet each other three
times: symbolizing the three victories
during the Trân Dynasty. Following the
third meeting, they assemble before the
shrine, and the rowing contest begins.
The Quan Lạn Communal House Festival
bears characteristics of traditional
village festivals, but is particularly
grandiose, expressing the military
spirit of the Vietnamese in the struggle
against foreign invaders.
Yên Tử Festival
The mountainous region of Yên Tử, Thượng
Yên Công Commune, Uông Bí Town
Time: Yên Tử festivities begin on
the ninth day of the first lunar month
and last until the end of the third
Significance: Yên Tử has been a
centre of Buddhism for many centuries,
and is the starting point of the
Buddhist sect of Trúc Lâm. Travellers to
Yên Tử Festival to stay away from the
mundane and go on a religion pilgrimage
in the midst of the mighty nature.
There is a popular saying about Yên
Tử:"Even after 100 years of virtuous
religious life, if you don't come to Yên
Tử you cannot be called a true religious
In the wide ensemble of vestiges in Yên
Tử, there are 11 pagodas and hundreds of
shrines and towers. One form of
entertainment is to climb the peak to
where the Đông Pagoda was built (1,068m
above the sea).
On the way, you'll see pagodas, a tower,
a stream and a forest. At the top, after
having burned joss-sticks, you seem to
be lost in nature somewhere between the
sky and the earth. When clear, you can
perceive almost all of the northeast
area from here.