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Vietnam has a population of more than 90 million people, comprised of 54 different ethnic groups that possess historically rich cultural backgrounds and interesting folk arts. The country has more than 1,000 historical, cultural, and architectural sites which have been officially classified as "Heritage Sites". Five of these sites have been recognized as world cultural heritage sites by UNESCO (United Nations Educational and Scientific Cultural Organization), including Halong Bay, Phong Nha - Ke Bang National park , the ancient capital of Hue, the ancient town Hoi An, and My Son Holy Land. It will become clear from excursions to these sites of Vietnam which is a country with a long-established history.


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Ten festivals should not to be missed in February

VietNamNet - During the first month of the lunar year (February), all regions in the country are jubilant with a lot of traditional festivals.
 
1. The husband-catching festival in Lam Dong
Husband-catching festival in Lam Dong.
Husband-catching festival in Lam Dong. 
 
From the 1st day of the lunar year to the end of the third month of the lunar year is the time for the husband-catching festivals of the ethnic groups of Chu Ru, Cil, Co Ho ... in Lam Dong province in particular and in the Central Highlands in general.
The festival takes place at night. If a girl likes a guy, she will tell her family. The girl’s family will visit the guy’s home to propose marriage. If the guy agrees, the husband-catching rite will be held on the day before the wedding. The girl will go to the boy’s home to give him a ring. Seven days after the wedding, she will take off her ring and give it to her mother-in-law and vice versa.
 
2. Dong Da Festival - Binh Dinh province
 
Dong Da Festival
Dong Da Festival
 
The Dong Da – Tay Son Festival is held to commemorate leaders of the Tay Son movement, especially hero Quang Trung - Nguyen Hue and celebrate the victory of Ngoc Hoi - Dong Da.
The festival takes place from the 4th to the 5th of the first lunar month, at the Quang Trung Museum in Phu Phong town, Tay Son, the central province of Binh Dinh.
In addition to traditional ceremonies, the festival has many cultural activities such as Tay Son martial arts demonstrations and Tay Son war drum performances, boat races, traditional games, and traditional opera singing contests.
 
3. Ba Den Mountain Festival, Tay Ninh province
The cable-car system to Ba Den Mount.
The cable-car system to Ba Den Mount.
 
The Ba Den Mountain Spring Festival 2014 opened on the 4th day of the Lunar Year and will last until the end of February. This is a famous traditional festival in the southern province of Tay Ninh and in the southeastern region. Visitors can reach the Ba Den Temple on the mountain top by foot or by cable cars.
In addition to making a pilgrimage in the early New Year, the 968m Ba Den Mountain is an interesting challenge for many young people.
 
4. Huong (Perfume) Pagoda Festival in Hanoi
On the way to the Perfume Pagoda.
On the way to the Perfume Pagoda.
 
The Perfume Pagoda Festival this year opened on February 6 and will last until the end of the third lunar month. Located in Huong Son commune, My Duc district, Hanoi, the Huong pagoda festival is one of the longest festivals in the country. Coming to the festival, visitors will not only make a pilgrim to the land of Buddha but also have a chance to enjoy the romantic beauty of Huong Son.
 
5. Long Tong Festival, Tuyen Quang province
Long Tong Festival is honored as intangible cultural heritage of Vietnam.
Long Tong Festival is honored as intangible cultural heritage of Vietnam.
 
Long Tong is a traditional festival of the Tay ethnic group in the northern province of Tuyen Quang. The festival is held on the 8th day of the lunar year to wish for a new year of good weather, bumper harvests and happy families. In this day, all families prepare the items made from agricultural produces to offer to gods, such as rice cakes, boiled pork and eggs, five-color sticky rice.
Besides rituals and ceremony, the festival has traditional games like nem con (throwing cloth balls), walking on stilts, puppetry, cock fighting, martial art performance, swinging, tug, stick pushing, crossbow and then singing competitions.
 
6. Go Thi Thung Horse Racing Festival, Phu Yen province
Go Thi Thung Horse Racing Festival
Go Thi Thung Horse Racing Festival
 
The festival is held on the 9th day of the New Year, at Go Thi Thung, An Xuan Commune, Tuy An district of the central province of Phu Yen.
The race is for baggage horses and the jockeys are farmers but at the festival, visitors will see exciting races in the cheer of thousands of spectators. In addition to horce races, the festival also has folk games.
 
7. Yen Tu Festival in Quang Ninh
Dong Pagoda on Yen Tu Mount.
Dong Pagoda on Yen Tu Mount.
 
As one of the Buddhist centers of Vietnam, Yen Tu festival attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims every year. In the 10th day of the New Year 2014, the giant statue of King Buddha Tran Nhan Tong will be inaugurated.
 
8. Cau Ngu Festival in Hue City
Cau Ngu Festival
Cau Ngu Festival
 
The traditional Cau Ngu Festival, Hue of Thai Duong Village in Huong Hai Commune of Huong Dien District is planned annually on the 12th day of the 1st month in fond memory of the village tutelary spirit Truong Quy Cong. His pseudonym is Truong Thieu, and he was once a native of the North who came to the village to settle, train the locals how to fish, and trade junks. Description of the Cau Ngu Festival- On the eve of the Cau Ngu Festival, Hue the entire village makes offerings and rituously worship Truong Quy Cong.
This is accompanied by the “fish worshipping ceremony” where people pray for peace and for abundant growth of fish. At an interval of three years, games representing sea fishing activities are held which includes the “fish catching” game and “net-casting” game. It may be mentioned here that the “net-casting” act is a form of amusement which is accompanied by rituals to honor the merits of the village spirit.
After these games, people generally go to watch the rowing boats.
 
9. Lim Festival, Bac Ninh province
Lim Festival
Lim Festival
 
Lim Festival is a major festival in Bac Ninh province. The festival is held on the 13th day of the New Year in Tien Du district.
Quan ho is the special old kind of songs of Bac Ninh province. From the daily manner to the behavior, “quan ho people” are moderate and elegant. The tradition of making friends is maintaining the beautiful way of life. Friendships which are made between who have got married are kept for the whole life time.
The songs are performed by two women from one village and two men from another village. There are several songs in different situation such as: invite guest to have drink, bid farewell and promise for the next met. Quan ho festival often sticks on the festival of pagoda in that land. Therefore, pagoda is the place for welcoming and greeting visitors of Quan Ho. From the various kinds of folk songs, Quan Ho inherits, synthesize and develop new tunes.
Coming to Lim festival, people could be able to watch the singing activities in the hill, behind the pagoda, on boat and in the private house. In addition, Lim festival is considered the competition of weave fabric among the girls. They both sing and compete or join in other games such as cock fighting, bird competition, wrestling, etc.
Apart from singing in the hill, on boat, behind the pagoda, there is also another competition which is cooking the vegetable foods. There is always an offering in the mutual of Lim festival while the singing is on. The pagoda holds a competition for people to cook the vegetable foods for offering to ancestors. In a meal of vegetable food, there are always sticky rice, truncated cone, sesame sweet, soft green-lentil cake, kinds of jam, sour and sweet salad.
Lim festival is worth to be the representative of lyrical folk songs of Vietnam.
 
10. Tran Temple Festival, Nam Dinh
Tran Temple Festival
Tran Temple Festival
 
The 2014 Tran Temple Festival will open on February 11, the 12th day of the first lunar month, at the Thien Truong Temple in Loc Vuong ward in the northern province of Nam Dinh. The festival is held annually to commemorate the Kings of the Tran dynasty (1225-1400).
The seal opening ceremony, the main ritual of the festival, will take place on the 14th night of the first lunar month (February 13). Each year, people flock to the ceremony to pray for gook luck and happiness.
New feature of this year’s festival will be the water procession and fish worshipping rituals on the first day of the event, which honor fishing during the times of the Tran dynasty.
Guests will enjoy other activities during the Tran Temple Festival including lion dances, dragon dances, cheo (traditional opera) and chau van (spiritual) singing, human chess, wrestling and martial arts performances.
The 2014 Tran Temple Festival will last through February 15.

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