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Celebrations were almost prohibited in the strong-communistic period. Only political feasts were an exception. Since Doi Moi the Vietnamese got back to feasting again. Festivals involve impressive wealth of colors, a lot of spectators and a colorful program.

The Vietnamese calendar is a mix of the sun calendar (Western Gregorian year of 365 days) and the moon calendar. A moon year has 355 days. The Vietnamese moon calendar is a match with the old Chinese moon calendar and they started counting 2637 years before our calendar. The sun calendar is established through the republican revolution of 1912.

Vietnam celebrations & festivals include,

Tet, the Vietnamese New Year. People feast for a whole week (three official festival days): family meetings, annual fairs, parades and lots of presents. Since a few years fireworks are forbidden. If one can afford it, people let the champagne corks pop. This is for the Vietnamese our form of Christmas. When you travel through Vietnam in this period, you should take full hotels, transportation, sights and closed shops into account.

Thanh Minh, the fifth day of the third month is dedicated to the ancestor honouring. Graves are decorated with flowers, incense candles and paper objects.

Phat Dan, on the eight day of the fourth month the Vietnamese celebrate the birth date of Buddha. Religious people spend this day in the pagoda that is decorated with lanterns. In the evening processions are held.

Tet Doan Ngu, the highest point of the sun Is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month. The Vietnamese believe that their energy reaches its highest point. They offer gifts to the angry spirits that spread diseases. They throw dolls into fire as a sacrifice for the god of death.

Trung Nguyen, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month people celebrate the movement of the soul. In houses and temples people give sacrifices in form of gifts and food to the restless souls of forgotten dead.

Trung Thu, this is a feast for children on the fifteenth day of the eight-month. In a procession the children walk through the streets with lanterns in the shape of boats, unicorns, dragons and more.

Birth date of Confucius, the 28th day of the ninth month.

Thong Tan Tet, this is the celebration of the harvest on the tenth day of the tenth month. Children will give their parents presents, patients to their doctors, pupils to their teachers and so on.

Oc Om Bok, on the fifteenth day of the tenth month the Khmer people in the south of Vietnam have their traditional celebration of the harvest. They hold spectacular boat races, in Soc Trang for example. In the next night they have the ceremony in honor of the moon, Le Cung Trang.

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