Vietnam uses both the solar or Gregorian calendar (dương lịch) and lunisolar calendar (âm lịch) like most other Asian countries. However, most practical matters in daily life are based on and move in time with the solar calendar.

The lunisolar calendar is used to establish important seasonal holidays, important historic events, or to celebrate Vietnamese festivals and traditions. Some holidays vary from year to year because of the time difference between the lunisolar and solar calendars.

Tết Nguyên Đán or Tết (Vietnamese New Year) is the most important annual holiday and the only time of the year when people return to their ancestral hometown to celebrate the New Year with family and friends.

The window for Tet varies from year-to-year; from the last two days of the last lunisolar month, to the first three or four days of the new month (January or February depending on the year). Expect to find most businesses closed for a week from the beginning of this period. A lot of expats and foreigners also come from all over to see the activities that takes place during this season. You can find demonstration and rituals being done in temples and the street flooding with colorful traditional food and items for Tet.

Other than official public holidays, some foreign offices and embassies may observe extra bank holidays according to their countries of origin but if you’re looking for long weekends to schedule your vacations, you won’t find much of that here.

Holiday Date

English Name

Vietnamese Name

Significance

1 January

New Year

Tết Dương Lịch

The worldwide New Year is of course celebrated in Vietnam. Most businesses and government offices are closed on this day.

Last two days of the last lunisolar month – the 3rd to

5th day of the first lunisolar month.

Vietnamese New Year

Tết Nguyên Đán (often shortened to Tết)

Celebrates the arrival of spring. Official public holidays last for four days, but some businesses and shops give more days leave. The specific date also changes per year as it is based on the Lunar Calendar. It is also called the “Feast if the First Morning of the First Day”

Tenth day of the 3rd lunisolar month

Hùng Kings’ Festival

Giỗ tổ Hùng Vương

Festival with the purpose to pay tribute to the Hùng Kings, traditional founders of the nation. Commonly combined with adjacent weekend to create long holiday.

30 April

Reunification Day

Ngày 30 tháng Tư

Commemorates the liberation of HCMC (formerly Saigon) and the 1975 reunification of Vietnam

1 May

International Workers Day or Labor Day

Ngày Quốc tế Lao động

May Day or Labour Day usually marked by marches and parades.

2 September

National Day of Vietnam

Quốc khánh

Vietnam Independence Day, celebrated by some with visits to Ba Đình square and Hồ Chí Minh Mausoleum.

For information on Vietnamese traditions go to Vietnamese New Year Traditions

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