Experience Ninh Binh Unique Festivals: A Traveler Guide
When asking about what Ninh Binh is famous for, few people mention the special traditional festivals here. In fact, one of the top things to do in Ninh Binh is to participate in local celebrations. These festivals are held at famous tourist spots in Ninh Binh, making it easy to combine into your itinerary. Each season offers different festivals that are well worth experiencing. Read this Ninh Binh festival guide with a list of typical festivals along with their timing. If you visit during these times, take the time to experience these interesting celebrations.
Top Summer Festival in Ninh Binh
Golden Tam Coc Festival
- Location: Tam Coc - Bich Dong
- Time Duration: May - June
The Golden Tam Coc Festival is an annual festival held at the Tam Coc - Bich Dong tourist area, Ninh Binh province. The festival aims to celebrate the beauty of the golden rice fields, one of the most famous tourist attractions in Ninh Binh.
The Golden Tam Coc Festival is usually held in late May and early June each year when the rice fields are golden yellow the most. In 2023, the festival took place from May 27 to June 4.
The Golden Tam Coc Festival has many attractive activities that attract a large number of tourists to participate, including:
Opening ceremony: The opening ceremony was held solemnly at the real-time stage on the golden rice field of Tam Coc. The opening ceremony has activities such as art performances, dragon dances, lion dances, ...
Visitors will experience the feeling of sitting in a bamboo boat winding through the golden rice fields, admiring the beauty of Ninh Binh's nature.
Top Spring Festivals in Ninh Binh
Spring is festival season. During this time, Vietnamese people celebrate Lunar New Year. There are many spiritual activities and unique decorations in Ninh Binh temples and pagodas. Here are some of the top special festivals in Ninh Binh that you should consider joining.
Hoa Lu Festival
- Location: Truong Yen - Hoa Lu
- Duration: 8th to the 10th days of the third lunar month (March - Lunar Calendar)
The Hoa Lu Festival, which was recognized as a national traditional festival in 2015, is the most significant celebration in Ninh Binh province. This annual festival is held in Truong Yen commune, Hoa Lu district, from the 8th to the 10th days of the third lunar month. It serves as a commemoration of the remarkable achievements of King Dinh Tien Hoang and King Le Dai Hanh.
Over a millennium ago, Dinh Bo Linh successfully established the first centralised feudal state in the country by defeating 12 warlords. He then selected Hoa Lu as the capital of Dai Co Viet and adopted the title of Dinh Tien Hoang.
The Hoa Lu festival's ceremony comprises two solemn rituals: the sacrificial ceremony and the water procession. In addition to witnessing these rituals, visitors can engage in the festival's traditional games, including human chess, boat races, tug of war, cockfights, swingings, and sporting competitions.
Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival
- Location: Bai Dinh Pagoda
- Duration: from 1st until the end of March (Lunar Calendar)
Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival is a spring festival that takes place from the afternoon of the first day of the Lunar New Year, opens on the sixth day of the Lunar New Year and lasts until the end of March, marking the beginning of pilgrimage festivals to the ancient capital of Hoa Lu in Ninh Binh province.
This festival comprises two main components: the ceremonial and the festive. The ceremony involves a solemn palanquin procession, the burning of incense to pay homage to the Buddha, and offerings to the revered Cao Son god. Following the ceremony, visitors are encouraged to partake in traditional games or enjoy the captivating "ca tru" songs, "cheo," or "Xam" singing styles, all of which bear the distinct cultural identity of the ancient capital.
Trang An Festival
- Location: Trang An Complex Landscape
- Duration: 18th-21st March (Lunar Calendar)
The Trang An Festival is a series of cultural and religious activities combined with tourism, closely linked to the mountain deities in the ancient capital of Hoa Lu.
Vietnamese people living in Trang An World Heritage site hold a deep reverence for nature. Every year on the 18th day of the third lunar month, the festival is celebrated. The primary purpose is to honour the sacred deities Quy Minh, Cao Son, and the Giant who guard the four directions of Hoa Lu, as well as the founding kings of the Tran Dynasty who established the Vu Lam Palace, and the military leaders of the Dinh Dynasty who stationed in Trang An.
The festival lasts for three days, and its most distinctive feature is the procession held right on the river. Visitors have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere of the festival and explore historical relics, caves, forests, mountains, and the waterways of Trang An.
Thai Vi Temple Festival
- Duration: From the 14th to the 17th day of the 3rd lunar month
- Location: Hoa Lu District - Near Tam Coc Boat Habour
Thai Vi Temple Festival is held annually from the 14th to the 17th day of the 3rd lunar month in Van Lam Hamlet, Ninh Hai Commune, Hoa Lu District. As one of the spiritual festivals in Ninh Binh, the Thai Vi Temple Festival is organized to commemorate the significant contributions of the Tran Dynasty kings to the nation. The unique feature of this festival is the grand procession, which involves not just one group but over 30 groups from various communes in Hoa Lu District and Ninh Binh Province.
Following the procession is the essential ritual ceremonies held in front of Thai Vi Temple. Lastly, the festival includes various traditional folk games such as human chess, lion and dragon dances, wrestling, boat racing, and more.
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Top Winter Festival in Ninh Binh
Christmas in Ninh Binh
- Location:Phat Diem Cathedral
- Duration: 23rd - 25th December
Christmas is also a wonderful time for tourism in the Northern region, thanks to the cool weather and festive atmosphere. Tourists visiting Ninh Binh during this holiday season should not miss Phat Diem Cathedral. Originally hailed as the most beautiful Catholic structure in Vietnam, thanks to its unique architecture made of stone and ironwood, the cathedral becomes even more enchanting with warm Christmas lights.
While Christmas Eve and Day are officially celebrated on December 24th and 25th each year, you can explore and admire the cathedral adorned with decorations from the early days of December. Even if you don't participate in the religious ceremonies, you can still feel the Christmas spirit through the skilful and entertaining cultural performances held in the cathedral's courtyard.
In conclusion, the unique festivals in Ninh Binh provide a wonderful opportunity to explore the distinctive and magical culture of the locality. These events not only commemorate the rich history but also offer a fantastic chance for both locals and visitors to enjoy the lively and colourful atmosphere of Ninh Binh. From the majestic landscapes to the vibrant ambience filled with traditional music and dance, these festivals truly paint a vivid picture of the soul of this province. By taking part in these special occasions, you not only witness the artistic beauty but also become a part of the community spirit, highlighting the unique cultural identity of Ninh Binh.
If you don't visit Ninh Binh during the festival season, you can still experience the unique beauty of nature or explore Hoa Lu Ancient town at night.
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