One of Vietnam’s characteristics is its centuries-old traditions, which find inspiration in both Chinese and Indian civilizations. Many different festivals are celebrated in Vietnam, some on a national scale and others more local. Some of the holidays have moving dates, but many are following the Gregorian calendar. These days should be kept in mind when working with Vietnamese business partners, as they might make communicating more difficult. Here are some of the upcoming holidays in Vietnam in 2021.
Holidays in Vietnam in 2021
By law, employees have a right to ten paid days off for holidays each year. Employed foreigners have one additional day off on the day of their country’s National Day. Banks, government departments, and institutions, as well as schools, are all closed. Most Vietnamese people return to their hometowns to celebrate. If a holiday falls on the weekend, employees will likely get the following Monday off as a substitute.
Day off: January 1
Similarly to many other countries all over the world, New Year’s is celebrated in accordance with the Gregorian calendar.
Days off: February 11–17 (observed)
Traditionally, a new year in Vietnam starts according to the lunisolar calendar. It’s not as regular as the Gregorian, so the Vietnamese New Year’s is on a different date every year. In 2021 it starts on February 12. This is when the year of the buffalo begins, following the year of the rat. It will last until January 31, 2022. Sometimes, dates in the Vietnamese and Chinese calendars don’t overlap.
It’s best not to travel to Vietnam at the beginning of the year. The Tết holiday is celebrated for a couple of days, starting from the last day of the old year until the fifth day of the first lunar month. Around that time, hotel prices rise, and national parks and museums might be closed. Another thing is that the streets will most definitely be jammed since this is where the loud and colorful parades are held.
One of New Year’s traditions is eating Bánh chưng, a cake made of sticky rice, mung beans, and pork. All the ingredients are cooked and stuffed in banana leaves. Vietnamese people usually spend the Tết on pilgrimages and family meetings.
The celebration is sometimes also called Hội xuân, meaning the Spring Holiday, as the New Year also signifies the arrival of spring.
Hùng Kings’ Festival
Day off: April 21 (observed)
The Hùng Kings’ Festival is one of the most important Vietnamese holidays. It’s celebrated in the Hùng Kings’ Temple in the Nghia Linh mountains. The holiday is set to worship the legendary kings of Vietnam and was first officially admitted in 2007. It falls on the period from the 8th to the 11th days of the third lunar month, and the 10th day is considered the most significant. On that date, you can witness the Vietnamese culture by viewing traditional parades, wrestling, dances and performances with swords.
According to legend, the Hùng kings were children of Lạc Long Quân, the dragon king of the seas, and Âu Cơ, the beautiful fairy goddess of the mountains. They taught the Vietnamese people how to grow rice and make cakes out of it, which is why these two, as well as fruit, are traditionally given as an offering to the kings.
Day off: April 30
Victory Day is celebrated on the anniversary of Saigon’s emancipation on April 30, 1975. Sometimes the holiday is also called “Liberation Day” or “Reunification Day”, as its point is to celebrate Vietnam’s final unification. Cultural events such as musical performances, art exhibitions or theatre plays are organized for the occasion.
Day off: May 1
International Labour Day is widely celebrated all over the world on May 1. As it’s right after Victory Day, it’s treated as an extended holiday period in Vietnam. In 2021, May 1 falls on a Saturday, so the following Monday, May 3, will most likely be a day off.
Independence Day – National Day
Day off: September 2
Independence Day commemorates the creation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. It’s celebrated with official festivities and military parades, as well as artistic performances.
Other holidays in Vietnam 2021
There are also holidays in Vietnam that are not considered days off work. These are, among others:
- Day of Creation of the Communist Party of Vietnam: February 3
The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) is an integral part of Vietnamese national identity.
- Perfume Pagoda Festival: February 17 – April 25 (observed)
This holiday is celebrated locally in a town located 70 km from Hanoi. It’s the longest-lasting Vietnamese festival, and its most crucial part lasts from the 15th to the 20th day of the second lunar month. During the festival, Vietnamese people go on a pilgrimage to the Perfume Pagoda, an XV century temple, in hopes of earning the Buddha’s favor.
- Buddha’s Birthday: June 7 (observed)
Celebrations are especially grand on that day, including parades and temple rituals.
- Family Day: June 28
This holiday was created to celebrate Vietnamese families.
- Remembrance Day: July 27
On this day, prominent personalities pay tribute to fallen Vietnamese soldiers.
- Women’s Day: October 20
Some of the customs on Vietnamese Women’s Day are to commemorate famous women for extraordinary achievements, as well as to gift jewelry or flowers to closer acquaintances.
See also the calendar of holidays in China 2021.