Huong pagoda festival (Perfume pagoda festival)
The festival is held from January 6 to the end of March of Lunar Calendar; the main day of the festival is on February 15. Hương pagoda festival takes place in Hương Sơn commune, Mỹ Đức district, Hà Tây province (now Hanoi). This is also one of the greatest and longest festivals in Vietnam. According to the concept of Vietnamese people, Hương Tích mountain is regarded as the world of Buddhism and Huong pagoda is the place for the worship of Guanyin. Different from other festivals, the festival in Huong pagoda has many unique activities. After the Buddhist observance, almost all the tourists will go on a Buddhist pilgrimage. In the festival, hundreds of thousands of people come here to admire the scenery of mountains and caves and go to pagodas to pray for luck and happiness.
Hùng Kings’ Temple Festival
Hung Temple, which is located on Nghia Linh Mountain, Hy Cuong commune, Viet Tri city, Phu Tho province is the place that the festival annually held to worship the Hung Kings who established the nation. Hùng Kings’ festival lasts from the 8th to the 11th of March of Lunar Calendar. The main festival day is on March 10. People offer sacrifices to the Hùng Kings. The offering includes a pig, a goat and a cow, bánh chưng, bánh dày and a big multicolored tray of xôi (made from glutinous rice). After a drum-call, regional officials start to make a liturgy under the control of the master. This is followed by the elders of villages or communes around the Hung Temple. Finally, residents and visitors go to the temple to commemorate the Hung Kings.
Finishing the liturgy, people will participate in many other festival activities. Annually, on this occasion, the palankeen competition is open to the surrounding villages. In addition, Xoan singing is also one of the most important and unique rituals in the festival. It is said that in the past, Xoan singing was called Xuân singing and dances of Xoan singing came into existence since the period of Hung King and widely handed down among the population of the villages around the region. Besides Xoan singing in Upper temple, Ca Tru singing is held in Lower temple. Around the foothill are traditional folk performance and games with the attendance of a host of people such as throwing a sacred ball through the ring (ném côn), wrestling, cock fighting and human chess. Nowadays, Hùng Kings’ Festival is recognized to be a great national holiday when the whole country together directs toward the origin of Vietnamese people.
Gióng festival is annually celebrated at Phù Đổng village, Gia Lâm district Hanoi. This is one of the biggest festivals in the North. April 9, the main day of the festival is to remember the contribution of the hero of Gióng village who protect the country from the attack of foreign enemies. The preparation for the festival last from March 1 to April 5 of Lunar Calendar. On April 9, the battle against enemies by Saint Gióng is re-performed. The following step is giving a feast to the troops and singing Chèo in the night. April 10 is the final day of the festival with the Saint Giong thanksgiving ceremony.