Set in the spectacular surrounds of Bo Lu field in Bac Kan province, Long Tong is one of the largest agricultural festivals in northern Vietnam. Literally meaning ‘going to the field’, the daylong festival includes various religious rituals alongside stilt walking, archery, ball games and all the usual farm animals.
One noteworthy festival of the remote H’Mong ethnic group is Gau Tao or San Sai Festival, which roughly translates to ‘walking on the mountain’. This is a chance for all the villagers to dress up, showing off their best clothes and new costumes over the course of three days. Elsewhere, you'll see games, singing and traditional ceremonies.
One of the most spectacular Buddhist festivals in northern Vietnam, this epic three-month event in My Duc District is split into two parts: ceremonial rituals and entertaining activities. Expect monks giving blessings, alongside beautiful dances and flower shows. Pilgrims also take boat trips and go mountain climbing.
As part of the Tet New Year celebrations, villages hold rice cooking contests on the first day of the lunar year. You won’t find any electric rice cookers here; contestants must use dried sugar cane for fire whilst floating in bamboo boat. Expect the action to start at sunrise, with over 200 people all cooking to the sound of a drum.
The three-month Yen Tu Festival, held within a majestic mountain range in north-eastern Vietnam, starts on the 10th day of the first lunar month. After holding a small ritual at the base of Yen Tu Mountain, tens of thousands of pilgrims journey to a shrine at the summit in an effort to realize personal dreams or get rid of sorrow.
This lively two-day dance festival in Sapa District (Lao Cai Province) is held as part of Vietnamese New Year (Tet). The elaborate dance styles on show represent heavenly figures who are supposed to come down to earth to join in the Tet celebrations. Vibrant colors and statue bathing are also on display throughout the village.