What are the holidays in Vietnam

Articles from the "Current" section | VisumAntrag.de | 09/21/2020 | ± 6 minutes reading time

The main national holidays in Vietnam are Tet, the three-day Vietnamese New Year celebrations. During the Tet Festival, almost all Vietnamese workers have time off and it is celebrated across the country. This makes it more difficult for tourists to travel in the country. In addition, no visas are issued during the celebrations, which means that many travelers do not receive their Vietnam visa on time and thus get into difficulties. Here you can read everything about Tet and other Vietnamese holidays and what to watch out for.

The Vietnamese New Year "Tet"

The official name of the festival is "Tết Nguyên Đán", which means "festival of the first morning". Since Vietnam follows the lunar calendar, the festival does not take place every year on the same date according to our western calendar, but the exact date depends on The holidays usually fall either in late January or early February. The Vietnamese New Year takes place at the same time as the Chinese New Year, but takes a slightly different form. In 2021, Tet falls on Friday the 12th February, so that New Year's Eve in Vietnam is celebrated on Thursday, February 11, 2021.

Although Tet officially lasts for three days, most Vietnamese have a full week off, and the days around Tet are big celebrations. New Year's Eve is the most sacred moment in Tet: On this evening the Vietnamese perform rituals together with their families, make sacrifices and pray for a Happy New Year. After that, the new year begins with lots of festivities and entertainment. Fireworks shows and large flower markets are held in almost all cities.

Vietnamese New Year celebrations Tet

Travel is limited during Tet

It is an impressive experience to experience the largest festival in Vietnam in person. Travelers take part in the Vietnamese customs and rituals. However, visiting Vietnam during Tet has its downsides. The festival is usually celebrated with families, which is why many Vietnamese travel to their home village. It can be difficult for tourists to travel in the country while Tet as many buses, trains, and flights are fully booked and fewer hotel rooms are available. Accommodation, flight, train and bus tickets are often more expensive than at other times. Travelers staying in Vietnam during Tet are advised to book transportation and accommodation well in advance.

Since Tet is a real family festival, many activities take place in people's homes and tourists do not notice much of it. In addition, many shops, restaurants, museums, and other attractions in Vietnam are closed during the Tet Holidays and many excursions cannot take place. The beaches are fuller than otherwise because the Vietnamese go on vacation themselves and spend time with their family. For these reasons, many tourists choose to go to Vietnam before or after not during Tet.

When applying for the Vietnam visa, pay attention to the Tet date

As a rule, visas for Vietnam are issued after about a week. Travelers who submit an urgent application receive their visa on average after 3 working days. However, these average turnaround times do not apply during Tet. Then all offices of the Vietnamese immigration authorities are closed. This means that visas for Vietnam that are applied for a few days before Tet and during Tet will not be issued until after the holidays. Urgent applications cannot be processed during this time either. Therefore, take the holidays into account when planning your trip and apply for the visa in good time.

Travelers who want to travel to Vietnam in the first few months of 2021 are therefore advised to apply for their visa in January - but no later than February 4th. Then the application can be processed by the Vietnamese authorities before the festivities. You can apply for the visa as long in advance as you want. In the application form you enter the date on which the validity of the visa should begin. You can stay in the country for 30 days from this date. It is therefore possible to apply for the Vietnam visa several months before departure, provided that the date of arrival in Vietnam is roughly known. You do not have to arrive in Vietnam on the exact date stated on the visa, but you are not allowed to enter Vietnam on that visa before that date.

Other national holidays and festivals of Vietnam

Besides Tet, there are countless other national holidays and festivals in Vietnam. The most famous festivals and holidays are listed here:

  • The festival of the Hùng kings: This festival, in Vietnamese Giỗ Tổ Hùng Vương called, is a commemoration of the legendary 18 kings of the Húng dynasty and a high point in the spiritual course of the year in Vietnam. The main festivities take place in the temple complex in Hy Cương in the north Vietnamese province of Phú Thọ, which was established in honor of the Hùng kings. In addition, there are processions of colorful dragons and dance competitions and singing in the temple around the various temples dedicated to the Húng kings across the country. The festival takes place on the tenth day of the third lunar month, usually the beginning of April, but on different days in our calendar every year.
  • Reunification Day: On reunification day, officially also "Day of the Liberation of the South for National Reunification", Giải phóng miền Nam, thống nhất đất nước), commemorates the victory of the North Vietnamese Army over the US Army and thus the reunification of North and South Vietnam on April 30, 1975. Parades and fireworks shows are held in the larger cities.
  • Labor Day: Labor Day is celebrated in Vietnam on May 1st, the day after reunification day. Reunification Day and Labor Day are both national holidays on which no work is done in Vietnam. When applying for a visa, please note that no applications will be processed on these days - and that all Vietnamese embassies are also closed.
  • The coffee festival in Buon Ma Thuot: The Coffee Festival was introduced to promote the local coffee beans and takes place every two years (2021, 2023), usually in March in different locations around the city. There is music and stilt walking demonstrations, while many cafes offer free coffee during the festival.
  • Mid-Autumn Festival: The mid-autumn festival, in Vietnamese Tết Trung Thu; (literally, mid-autumn moon), also called the Moon Festival, is a festival that is specially organized for children on the 14th and 15th day of the eighth month in the lunar calendar (in our calendar in September or October). Children can take part in writing and drawing competitions during the festival, lanterns are hung and there is traditionally moon cake, a cake with a sweet filling made from red beans.
  • National holiday: The national holiday (in Vietnamese: Ngày Quốc Khánh) is a national holiday celebrated on September 2nd. On September 2, 1945, Ho Chi Minh declared independence from French Indochina and this event is commemorated with an annual festival of fireworks and parades. A large parade of soldiers and civilians is taking place at Ba Dinh Square in Hanoi, where the declaration was read out and where Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum is also located.