How to Get a Cultural Experience in Ho Chi Minh City

Hùng Kings Temple, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam | Img. By : Jacklee (Own Work), CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The Vietnamese love for celebrations spills over to Ho Chi Minh City as well. There are the regular public events that see much pomp and festivities taking place in the streets; add to this the many unofficial fiestas and you have a city that is a constant party central. Read on for information on what galas are taking place when and where for a healthy dose of culture in old Saigon.

1. Tet — Tet Nguyen Dan
Tet is a celebration that takes place between late January and early February; to be more precise the days are defined as the last two days of the concluding lunar month to the third day of the fresh lunar month. Similar to the Chinese New Year this is Vietnam’s biggest holiday and is a predominantly family based celebration. During this time families get together to relax, enjoy good food, drinks and companionship. This generally means that many Vietnamese leave the city and head back to their villages in order to spend time with family. You will find the vibes are warm and welcoming around this time of year with many places closed for holidays, it is also the ideal time for witnessing coinciding festivals such as the Spring Flower Festival.

2. King Hung’s Commemoration
This is the day that Vietnam pays tribute to the nation’s 18 Hung Kings in recorded history. The festival is celebrated on the 10th day of the third lunar month. The holiday is widely celebrated in North Vietnam with southerners enjoying the holiday vibes even more. If you head over to Suoi Tien Park in District 9 which is just 25 minutes from Diamond Island Luxury Residences, check out the Hung Temple dedicated to the kings venerated as gods. At the temple, you will see devout worshipers offering prayers, flowers and food to the god kings. Besides the worship of Hung Kings, the temple acts as an amusement park where families may enjoy a fun day out.

3. Liberation Day
This is a very poignant celebration that is held on the 30th of April every year. The event marks the day the Viet Cong captured Saigon. It is also a celebration steeped in controversy as the country is divided in terms of ‘celebrating’ this day. Attitudes differ amongst the veterinary population from HCMC and also amongst those that fled the country in fear of the war. Still, it is interesting to hang around and observe the varied attitudes and remembrances that go into this day that marks an important point in the country’s history.

4. May Day
This international festival is celebrated in Ho Chi Minh City as well on the 1st of May. International Workers Day sees the streets filled with rallies and workers enjoying the day off and other benefits that come as part of the official holiday.

5. National Day
A day you will want to leave the confines of your comfortable Ho Chi Minh service apartment and explore the streets. National Day is a country wide celebration marking the day Vietnam received independence from the French in 1945. This is a time when elegant floats are paraded across the country and culture and tradition are rife amongst happy celebrations.

6. Buddha’s Birthday
A very religious holiday celebrated on the 4th lunar months, 15th day. A day that is considered holy; celebrations are limited to silent prayers hushed meditations and revered thoughts. Prayers are offered at temples across the city while the Nghia An Hoi Quan Pagoda in Cho Lon of District 5 is known to hold the best rituals and festivities.