Vietnamese Tet and Hanoi’s Festival Season 2024: Exciting Programs for Locals and Tourists

On the morning of February 2, 2024 (or the 23rd day of the Lunar New Year), various activities took place at the Hoang Thanh Thang Long Heritage Site: offering prayers at the Diên Kính Thiên Temple, releasing carp fish, and setting up a tall bamboo pole...to kick off the Year of the Rat Lunar New Year and the Spring Festivals of 2024...

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On February 2, the Thang Long Imperial Citadel Heritage Conservation Center, along with several historians and a large number of elderly people in Ba Dinh district, gathered at Kinh Thien Palace within the Thang Long Imperial Citadel to perform the opening rituals of Vietnamese Lunar New Year.

After reporting to heaven and earth, the ritual procession released fish into the pond at archaeological site 18 Hoang Dieu to bid farewell to the Kitchen Gods. Afterwards, a splendid nem tree was erected in front of the Doan Mon Gate of the Thang Long Citadel.

SPECIAL ASPECTS OF THANG LONG IMPERIAL CITADEL’S TET

In order to serve people and tourists for recreation during the Lunar New Year of the Gia Thinh zodiac sign, the Thang Long – Hanoi Heritage Conservation Center organized a program to celebrate the 94th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of Vietnam (February 3, 1930 – February 3, 2024) and welcome the Gia Thinh New Year 2024.

The Tet program includes the exhibition “Vietnamese Tet Welcome the Gia Thinh New Year 2024” with many unique traditional ceremonies from February 2 (December 23 in the Year of the Quy Mao) to February 18 (the 9th day of the Gia Thinh Tet) with the meaning of “saying goodbye to the old, welcoming the new”. The program consists of a series of rituals such as the Ong Cong Ong Tao ceremony, the god balance ceremony, the raising of the thud, the offering of the first tea, the New Year opening ceremony, the seal opening ceremony, etc.

Offering incense at Kinh Thien Palace.

This year’s traditional folk Lunar New Year space recreates the Tet activities of a typical urban family in the capital city, with customs such as ancestral worship, hanging Tet paintings, writing Tet couplets, setting off firecrackers, making banh chung (a traditional Vietnamese cake), asking for the first calligraphy letters of the year, giving New Year’s greetings, celebrating birthdays, and enjoying traditional Tet flowers.

The imperial palace Tet exhibition will introduce people and tourists to the official First Day of the Lunar New Year ceremony during the Le Trung Hung period. According to the ancient tradition, the First Day ceremony is held early in the morning of the 1st day of the lunar January, with a solemn and dignified ritual taking place in the Kinh Thien Palace courtyard.

Releasing fish to bid farewell to the Kitchen Gods.

This year, the Thang Long – Hanoi Heritage Conservation Center will for the first time show the 3D film “Le Chinh Dan during the Le period.” The film will provide visitors with a 360-degree experience, reenacting the solemn and unique atmosphere of the First Day ceremony in the ancient imperial palace, with rituals such as the parade of the effigies into the Kinh Thien Palace courtyard, the parade of the queen mother’s throne to the Kinh Thien Palace, and the speech.

What’s special is that in order to serve people and tourists for recreation during the Lunar New Year of the Gia Thinh zodiac sign, the Thang Long – Hanoi Heritage Conservation Center, in coordination with the Hoan Kiem district People’s Committee and the Dong Xuan Joint Stock Company, will inaugurate the “Hanoi Electric Car Tourism” service at 9:30 am on February 5 (the 26th day of the quy mao lunar December).

The electric car route will go from Dinh Tien Hoang (starting point – Bo Ho Electric Car Station) – Hang Dao – Hang Ngang – Hang Buom – Ma May – Hang Bac – Hang Ngang – Hang Duong – Dong Xuan – Hang Giay – Quan Thanh – Nguyen Bieu – Hoang Thanh Thang Long (final stop), with a ticket price of VND 245,000 per car for 7 passengers. The return route will be from Hoang Thanh Thang Long (starting point – Gate No. 9 of Hoang Dieu Street) – Hoang Dieu – Hoang Van Thu – Hung Vuong – Phan Dinh Phung – Hang Cot – Hang Luoc – Hang Ma – Hang Chieu – Dao Duy Tu – Ma May – Hang Bac – Hang Bo – Luong Van Can – Le Thai To – Hang Khay – Dinh Tien Hoang (final stop), with a ticket price of VND 245,000 per car for 7 passengers.

From February 1 to February 9 (from December 22 to December 30), the units will implement a promotion program offering free one-way trips from Hoan Kiem Lake to Thang Long Citadel, with 10 continuous operating cars throughout the day.

PREPARATIONS FOR FESTIVALS IN HANOI

The 2024 Spring Festival season is about to begin. According to the Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports, the city has more than 1,200 traditional festivals of different scales, with the majority being held at the beginning of each year on the occasion of the Lunar New Year and the arrival of spring.

Among them, many major traditional festivals in Hanoi start on the 5th and 6th day of the first lunar month: the Ngoc Hoi – Dong Da Victory Commemoration Festival (Dong Da district); the Perfume Pagoda Festival (My Duc district); the Soc Temple Festival (Soc Son district), the Hai Ba Trung Festival (Me Linh district), the Co Loa Festival (Dong Anh district), etc. Many localities have prepared plans for organizing these festivals with attractive contents.

Erecting a nem tree in front of Doan Mon Gate in Thang Long Citadel.

To ensure the safety and civility of the 2024 festival season, the Hanoi People’s Committee has issued directive No. 4367/UBND-KGVX and plan No. 19/KH-UBND dated January 15, 2024, on the management and organization of festivals in the city in 2024.

Accordingly, this year’s festivals will be organized in a frugal, dignified, effective manner, without superstitious and unwholesome activities, in accordance with the traditional customs and cultural values of the nation, meeting the needs of people’s enjoyment and spiritual life improvement, preserving and promoting the cultural heritage values, and contributing to the development of the city’s economy, society, and tourism.

Hanoi’s localities have planned to organize traditional festivals with many new and appealing points. In Dong Da district, the organization of the 235th anniversary of the Ngoc Hoi – Dong Da victory festival, which takes place on the 5th day of the first lunar month, is ready. The new feature of this year’s festival is the organization of separate parking lots without fees, while restaurants and food vendors are not allowed to ensure safety, civility, and environmental sanitation.

The Soc Temple Festival in Soc Son district will start the ceremonial procession an hour later than usual, with an expanded experiential space that includes artistic performances by local residents.

As one of the festivals attracting tens of thousands of visitors in the early days of the new year, preparations for this year’s Perfume Pagoda Festival (My Duc district) have been made early. Nguyen Ba Hien, Head of the management board of Huong Son scenic relic site, said this year’s festival has the theme “Safety – Civility – Friendliness”. The organizing committee has set up 5 festival organizing subcommittees and periodic interdisciplinary inspection teams throughout the festival.

According to representatives of Me Linh district, the opening ceremony of the Hai Ba Trung festival in 2024 will take place in the evening instead of in the morning as usual. Afterward, a 3D mapping film will be shown to praise and commemorate the contributions of Hai Ba Trung. Representatives of Soc Son district said that they will ensure the success of the “rat-catching” activity at the Giong Festival, in accordance with tradition, without any disorderly snatching.

Vietnamese New Year Exhibition at Thang Long Citadel.

Tran Thi Van Anh, Deputy Director of the Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports, said that there are still some unpleasant phenomena during the 2023 festival season, such as pulling tourists at the Perfume Pagoda or the appearance of illegal gambling at a festival in Phu Xuyen district.

This year, the Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports has sent a request to localities to strengthen the work of ensuring security and order, regularly organize inspection teams to detect and handle strictly any unwholesome and exploitative activities during the festivals, encourage religious establishments to limit the burning of votive paper and not put loose change on the altars.

“One of the new contents of the organization of festivals in 2024 in Hanoi is that the Culture Department has issued criteria for the construction of cultural environments during traditional festivals. In 2024, Hanoi aims to have 70% of festivals meet the criteria for building cultural environments, promote historical and cultural values, and contribute to the development of the cultured Hanoian image. The city has announced a hotline (0965.404.557) to receive and handle information reflecting festival-related issues,” emphasized Tran Thi Van Anh.