Compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors, Vietnam only has nine public holidays. During these holidays, most offices are closed and workers get the day (or days) off. If a holiday falls on a weekend, the following Monday is considered a holiday in substitution. Other substitution holidays are also observed.
For 2013, these holidays will take place during the following dates. Tết is the only holiday which changes its date each year given that it follows the Lunar calendar.
International New Year’s Day (Tết dương lịch) – January 1, Tuesday
Vietnam celebrates the coming of the new year based on the Gregorian calendar the same way other countries do.
Lunar New Year (Tết Nguyên Đán) – February 11, Monday to February 14, Friday
This is Vietnam’s most important holiday and translates to “Feast of the First Morning”. It marks the first day of spring, which falls on the first day of the first month of the lunar calendar and occurs at the same time as the Chinese New Year. Nearly all offices and establishments are closed as the people celebrate, many of whom go back to their ancestral homes and towns to be with family.
- February 13 and 14 are substitute holidays for the Lunar New Year holidays that fell on February 9, Saturday and February 10, Sunday.
Hung King Festival (Giỗ tổ Hùng Vương) – April 19, Friday
The Hung King festival is celebrated to commemorate the ancient Vietnamese rulers who held political and religious power in ancient Vietnam. This is a relatively new holiday that the government decreed in 2007.
Reunification/Liberation Day (Ngày giải phóng) – April 30, Tuesday
Celebrates the end of the Vietnam War when Saigon was captured and the start of the transition period of the country’s reunification.
International Labour Day (Ngày Quốc tế Lao động) – May 1, Wednesday
Vietnam also values the importance of the workforce in both the social and economic aspects. This day is celebrated along with the rest of the world. Some demonstrations and public meetings occur on this day as well.
National Day/Independence Day (Quốc khánh) – September 2, Monday
Commemorates the day when President Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam’s independence from colonial forces.
Photo by Maurice Koop