Ho Chi Minh City Events, Things to Do and Festivals 2013 / 2014
(Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon, Vietnam)
There never seems to be a downtime for festivities and special events in Ho Chi Minh City. Like the rest of Asia, there are major holidays anchoring the calendar like the Tet New Year, as well as smaller historical celebrations and cultural festivals.
Of course, any night of the year there are things to do in Ho Chi Minh City. Just head downtown to District 1 and dive into the entertainment of the city's bars, nightclubs and other diversions. The Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre is another must-see if you are interested in traditional Vietnamese performances. Or perhaps head to the Vietnam House to listen to the unique sounds of Vietnamese music.
Ho Chi Minh City Calendar of Festivals and Events 2013 / 2014
- New Year's Day - the Vietnamese New Year may be a few weeks later, but they still take advantage of the day off to celebrate in style
- Tet (Vietnamese New Year) - late January / early February, Vietnam's version of the Chinese Lunar New Year is the biggest event of the year and sees a mass movement of people returning home for the holidays. Amongst all the parties is an impressive flower exhibition, while locals enjoy the tradition of exchanging 'lucky money'
- Ba Thien Hau Pagoda Festival - this classic Chinese celebration honours Lady Thien Hau at the pagoda, with ritual burnings and offerings watched by large crowds
- Saigon Cyclo Challenge / Saigon Cyclo Race - March 1st, held to benefit the local children's charity, three-wheel cyclos race through the city in this fun event
- International Women's Day - March 8th, parades and special events by and for women are held throughout the city
- Liberation Day / Reunification Day - April 30th, the workers of the city get two days off to honour the end of the Vietnam War with America and the Fall of Saigon in 1975, which ultimately led to the reunification of Vietnam the following year
- International Worker's Day - May 1st, a national Vietnamese holiday
- President Ho Chi Minh's Birthday - May 19th, this national holiday celebrates the former president's birthday at venues across the city
- Buddha's Birthday - the celebrations at this major event are best enjoyed at the Nghia An Hoi Quan Pagoda in Cholon
- International Children's Day - June 1st, a national holiday honouring the younger generation of Vietnam
- Tet Doan Ngo - to ward off evil spirits and disease, every Viet in the city does a major housecleaning and visits the temples for good luck
- Vietnamese Family Day - June 28th, a day for families to get-together and relax
- Tet Trung Nguyen - this lunar holiday is the time for repentance at any of the city's pagodas. Of note, Tet Trung Nguyen literally translates as the Wandering Souls Day and honours the younger generation
- Remembrance Day (Day for Martyrs and Wounded Soldiers) - July 27th, a national Vietnamese holiday
- August Revolution Commemoration Day - August 19th, remembering this important day in 1945, when the August General Uprising began, being later known as the August Revolution
- National Day - September 2nd, this national holiday celebrates the country's 1945 independence and the creation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), as well as the death of Ho Chi Minh
- Le Van Duyet Festival - national hero Le Van Duyet is honoured with a Vietnamese opera in front of the Le Van Duyet temple on Dinh Tien Hoang
- Tet Nguyen Tieu (Lantern Festival) - lanterns fill the sky with colour, while processions of people carrying lanterns take to the streets
- Mid Autumn Festival - this lunar fest centres around children, family reunions, lanterns and those delicious cakes called 'banh trung thu'
- Capital Liberation Day - October 10th, a national Vietnamese holiday
- Vietnamese Women's Day - October 20th, a day designed to pay tribute to the women of Vietnam
- Thien Ho Duong Day - the two national heroes, Thien Ho Duong and Doc Binh Kieu, are honoured for helping drive out the French in the mid-19th century
- Teacher's Day - November 20th, students show their respect and appreciation to their teachers, bringing gifts of flowers and food
- Vietnam Film Festival - the city hosts the country's largest film fest over a five-day period, with screenings in the main cinemas
- New Year's Eve - December 31st, the city goes full out to party during the West's new year