Ho Chi Minh City is the largest metropolis in the country of Vietnam and is often regarded as the “Paris of the East”. The previously known Saigon City is home to more than six million people making it the most densely populated city of Vietnam as well. This bustling city is abundant in French colonial architecture, colorful pagodas, street vendors that sell random stuff, exotic food and designer bounties. Indeed, the culture and festivals in Ho Chi Minh City effortlessly wear many faces. Here are some of the most celebrated events:
- Tet Festival – The Tet or the Vietnamese Lunar New Year is the biggest celebration in the country and holds its focal festivity in Ho Chi Minh City. Festivities flourish in the city with the sounds of gongs and drums as everything is put on pause for the annual festival held either in late January or early February.
- Buddha’s Birthday – Buddha achieved enlightenment on the same day as his birthday, which is celebrated all over the Buddhist world.
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The Birthday of Buddha is celebrated a week later in some countries as Vietnam also does at the Nghia An Hoi Quan Pagoda.
- Fisherman’s Festival – The Fisherman’s Festival or the Nghinh Ong Festival is celebrated unique to the district of Can Gio to commemorate the whale. Whales are considered to be sacred creatures amongst fishermen and are worshipped as the Gods of the Sea. Fishermen do not go out to sea while fishing harbors and boats are beautifully decorated during this day.
- Mid-Autumn Festival – Also known as Tet Trung Thu, this major local occasion has one of the liveliest celebrations of the year.
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This festival is primarily geared towards children with lantern processions that are huge in scale.
- Ho Chi Minh’s Birthday – Ho Chi Minh was a pivotal former President of the country that gained the freedom of the Vietnamese.
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He then attained the status of Vietnam’s national hero. The Saigon City was renamed Ho Chi Minh City in his honor and his birthday is widely celebrated in this city.
- Wandering Souls Day – More popularly known as the Tet Trung Nguyen to the locals, Wandering Souls Day is a Buddhist tradition for the belief that spirits are allowed to roam around the earth after sunset at this particular time of the year. Huge buffet spreads and lavish gifts are offered to the souls at pagodas and temples.
- Le Van Duyet Tomb Festival – Known to be one of the biggest festivals in the city, Le van Duyet was a military dignitary during the Nguyen Dynasty and a former governor of Gia Dinh. During his death anniversary, which is the day of the festival, people pray for the safety and peace of the country, favorable weather conditions, good harvest and ultimate happiness. Most villagers go to Le van Duyet’s tomb to pay respect and to enjoy popular games.
The ideal time to visit this exciting city is during the months of January and February. The weather is as perfect as it can be as it is also time for the famous Tet Festival. Make sure to book your trip and rest well in advance as experiencing the culture and festivals in Ho Chi Minh City during this time will be extremely tiring but enormously fun and exciting.