The New Year is a busy time in Vietnam. The National New Year is in the first lunar month between the last ten days of January and the first twenty of February. Other festivals follow soon afterwards and one of them, Lim, is an annual event around the 12th and 13th of the first lunar month. It dates back 300 years and in common with many Vietnamese traditions, there is a determination that it survives into the future.
It takes place in Lim, Lien Bao and Noi Due in Tien Du District, part of Bac Ninh Province to the east of Hanoi, the Capital of the Country. It is a place where ‘’Quan Ho’’ singing features, a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage entry since 2009.
The second of the two days is the more important one. People gather to climb Lim Hill which is the centrepiece of the Festival. Representatives of the villagers offer incense at the Lim Pagoda. They worship Nguyen Dinh Dien who lived in the 18th Century and brought great honour to the town. He founded a festival but at that time it was held in the 8th lunar month.
One of the highlights is undoubtedly the singing. It is something that many tourists have on their list of things to see when travelling in Vietnam and if it can be combined with a festival, all the better. Traditional costumes are a feature of the singing with females dressed in the four panel traditional dresses called, ‘’au tu than’’, and hats, ‘’non quai thao’’. The males are equally elegant and several performances involve a male and female singing a love duet.
You will be offered betel nuts to chew during your holiday in Vietnam. If you are on a Vietnam holiday with kids, they are sure to want to try it.
There are many traditional games including bamboo swings, wrestling, rice cooking and human chess. The whole experience will be a delight for tourists who will learn more about this Red River Delta region in a matter of hours. If you want a souvenir, then perhaps buy some of the handicrafts; weaving is a local skill? The North of Vietnam is full of riches and anyone spending a holiday there will experience a great natural environment, bustling cities, UNESCO World Heritage sites like Halong Bay, and Festivals like the 300 year old Lim, quite a treat.