Cam Ha Ornamental Kumquat Festival: Third week in January 2018
Held in honor of the artisans and farmers of Hoi An and the long-standing craft of growing the city’s hallmark fruit, the Kumquat (known in Vietnamese as “quat” or “tac,”), this relatively new festival is held in rural Cam Ha, a few kilometers outside of Hoi An's old town.
During the festival, local farmers hold a ceremony to express their gratitude to God and his deities for blessing them with an auspicious climate and a bumper crop.
Though more of a local event, gardeners from all over the globe are welcomed to watch as seasoned artisans demonstrate their dexterity in the different phases of kumquat plant cultivation, including grafting shoots, nurturing and shaping the plants into desired figures, at two competitions during the event.
Pro Tip: There will also be many stalls selling homemade jams, syrups and candied Kumquat. These specialist products are only available during Tet and are not only delicious, but also highly regarded as the best in Vietnam, making them a great Tet present for hosts, family and foodies.
Photo credits: Getty Images
Flower & Food Streets: Friday 9th February (throughout Tet)
Like the run-up to Christmas families are feeling a little festive, Mum's overwhelmed in the kitchen and friends gather to break bread and toast the oncoming new year over dinner. To cater for this mammoth surge in demand for seasonal street food Nguyen Truong To (just north of Le Loi) is converted into one big outdoor dining venue - and the feeder roads, one massive flower market. The food is delicious and the atmosphere festive - do eat here at least once. Vegetarian dishes are bountiful as well as seasonal specialities like Bánh Chưng (steamed pork in banana leaves) and numerous forms of xôi (sticky rice). Vast quantities of La Rue (served warm over ice) and rice wine (you don't have to say yes) will also be pushed upon you and while it's wonderful to get caught up in the celebrations, you might want to consider your intake - the toilet ladies, is a tree.
Hoi An Tet Festival: 15th February (opening ceremony) to 20th Feb
On the 15th Feb (Tet eve) it is customary for people to visit their local/family temple, assembly hall or pagoda. This means the old town remains open to motorised transport. Though the temples are open, out of cultural respect save your visit for after the 17th Feb. Ancient houses also serve as family homes, so expect them to close on significant days. During the Old Town Tet Festival Celebrations (15th Feb to 24th Feb) all visitors to the old town are asked to buy an entrance ticket (valid for the length of your visit). However, ticket booths are likely to be closed from the afternoon of the 15th and throughout the day on the 16th Jan.
Commemoration of the Founder of Tailoring: Monday 28th January
Giỗ tổ nghề may - Hoi An tailors day of worship.
Hoi An has over 320 households with over 800 employees participating in the garment industry in the form of tailors, cutters, fabric suppliers - every part of the tailoring chain. Today they celebrate a special anniversary - the death anniversary of the queen of tailoring - Nguyen Thi Sen, a concubine of King Dinh Tien Hoang who over a thousand years ago introduced the villagers of the northern province of Trach Xa the craft of tailoring ceremonial gowns.
In Hoi An the death celebrations are met with fire-crackers and ancestral offerings like displays of betel nut, the burning of incense - some even go to the length of roasting a whole roast pig, (if it's been a really good year) outside their homes and businesses.
Pro tip: This is a very good day to get your tailoring done - you might even get an extra special gift.
Happy New Year 0:00 Saturday 28th January
Get out your corsets and feather boas—Premier Village Resort is celebrating it’s second birthday in grandiose style this Saturday with a Masquerade Black & White Ball. The glamourous event will be hosted in Nautica, the resorts ocean-view beach club -- the perfect backdrop for a steamy evening of hot musicians, DJ’s, dancing and decadent dining: Foie gras, an oyster bar and cheese station to name but a few.
The dress code for the evening is sexy/formal black and white, and if your Halloween Donald Trump mask is ready for action, we recommend you keep it in the closet for this glittering gathering.
The pièce de résistance of the ball will be the grand draw, with all profit from the event being awarded to the Quang Nam Orphans and Newborns charity.
Traditional Tet Activities: Friday 27th January to Monday 6th Feb
There's nothing we like more than a bit of wet weather whinging, especially when those soggy days fall on the weekend. Fortunately, (for the central coast at least) overcast with a chance of showers is a damn good excuse for AFL fans to join the official grand final party at The 3Dragons Sports & Gastro Pub located in Hoi An’s gorgeous French Quarter (a stone throw from the shops ladies).
Doors open on Saturday at 08:00 for pre-game warm-up beers and the kick-off (Swans v Bulldogs) is at 11:30.
Entrance is free and there will be raffles and a handball competition for the kids.
3Dragons, 51 Phan Boi Chau, Hoi An
Kim Bong Carpentry Village Festival: Thursday 2nd February
This uber-cool container barbecue beer hall comes with edgy graffiti and a menu designed by award-winning Louisiana pitmaster, Al Harris. During October they will be offering some incredible soft opening offers -- like todays' offer of a 'Combo of Six' - BBQ ribs, Holy Pig Steak and Half Chicken with three sides, three signature cocktails, three beers (everything in that picture to your left) for 850,000vnd
GRAND OPENING PARTY: Sat 22nd Oct. 16:30 -22:00
For more details on their daily offers and apply for an invite, go here
Cocobay, Truong Sa Road, Ngu Hanh Son District, Da Nang. 16:30 - 22:30.
Cau Bong Festival: 22nd February
On lunar January the 7th each year the village of Tra Que celebrate the new year with a huge festival - a necessary ritual to pray for abundant crops, good weather and prosperity.
The festival dates back over 500 years and begins with a large procession to the temple, led by the oldest men in the village and a group of women in flamboyant long silk robes bearing trays of fruit. During the festivals opening ceremony many offerings put on the altars - such as fruit, rice, salt, flowers, paper clothes and spiritual objects to sacrifice (a young rooster with beautiful feathers). The festival continues all day with planting demonstrations, traditional food stalls, vegetable and herb displays and a boat race.
Nguyen Tieu Festival: 2nd to the 4th March (first full moon of the New Year)
Held annually on the 14th to the 16th of the first Lunar month, the Nguyen Tieu festival is considered the most auspicious event of the year, especially for the Chinese community. It is a celebration of the first full moon of the year (Nguyen means 'first' and Tieu, 'Light'), is of Chinese origin and the forebearer of Hoi An's monthly full moon lantern festival introduced in 2003.
The festival is not only a full moon event, but a time to worship the ancestors, the founders of the city and the souls of the dead, and to wish for a peaceful and prosperous year.
From dawn and throughout the first day, local residents flock to village pagodas, temples and assembly halls (the Guangdong and Chaozhou the most significant in the old town) to present offerings and prayers to honor Emperor Shen Nong and the tutelary gods in return for good luck for their family and beloved friends.
For visitors the real draw doesn't happen until the sunsets when the temples are lit by hundreds of candles and the streets with traditional cultural performances, the most significant being poetry recitals - as according to legend, on the first night of a full moon every year a crowned doctoral candidate (Trang Nguyen in Vietnamese) would be summoned to the capital to read poetry to the King.
Festival events kick-off in the old town from 17:30
Long Chu Boat Race: 17th February
Like many festivals in Hoi An, Long Chu is a religious ceremony that concentrates on warding off ghosts and evil from the villages, while bringing luck and peace for the people.
The Long Chu (royal barge) is a one-metre long a bamboo dragon covered with coloured paper which is carried through the village and then set on a small boat or a raft, along with a boiled pig head, chicken, fruit, votive tablets and paper - Offerings which will float on the river after the worship service is over to chase away bad luck and evil. The festival is considered to be a religious firewall which keeps epidemics away from the village, as well as a religious precaution against ailments. An important part of the rituals is the casting of magic spells on 'ghosts' that carry these ailments. These ghosts are then cast into the river, to be discarded later in the sea. The local people will also hold parades and processions after these rituals.
At 08:00 on the Hoai River, Hoi An's fishermen take to their boats for the annual island boat race. Last year over 5000 people turned up to cheer on their team (teams descend from all areas of Quang Nam to take part in the event), meaning the riverside and bridges can get pretty packed unless you take your place early. An alternative vantage point to watch the race is from a boat on the river - you can hire one of the small sampans, but be warned, things can get a little wet (a popular old tradition is to throw water at the boat handlers to bring them good luck). In past events, visitors were also encouraged to join the race, so if you really want to be part of it, get there early to secure your ride.
Tip: This is a seasonal event and as Hoi An has just two seasons (wet and dry) the Long Chu festival is also held in July/August.
Cam Nam Corn Festival: Thursday 23rd February
Cam Nam will host its annual corn festival from 07:00 until approximately 14:00.
In previous years, the festival has been incredibly popular with local visitors and domestic tourists, attracting huge crowds to take part in a traditional blessing ceremony in honour of the God of Agriculture, folk games, sample local corn and Cam Nam speciality dishes and to take part in cooking and farming demonstrations.
If you are in town, it's well worth a visit - due mainly to the fact that it is one of the few undiluted cultural festivals yet to appear on the tourist radar.
TIP: To find the festival use this map.