For the early birds, the Co Loa Festival in Dong Anh district started with a very formal event carrying incense to Thuong temple to pay tribute to King An Duong Vuong, the founder of the ancient kingdom of Au Lac and the ancestor of Vietnamese people. Later, Nguyen The Thao, the Chairman of Hanoi People’s Committee and guests planted a tree in the 500-hectare Co Loa Vestige Area, to carry on a Tet tradition that was started by Uncle Ho.
In the neighbouring district of Soc Son, the Giong Festival at Soc Temple also attracted a crowd. The event was in honour of the God Giong, who used his supernatural abilities to defeat Vietnam’s enemies and restore the country to peace.
At the temple, the early morning crowd witnessed one of Tet’s biggest traditional rituals, offering tributes of six precious gifts from six regional wards to the God Giong. It was followed by a parade with big bowls of elephant grass, betel and areca.
On the same morning, in the rural district of Me Linh, officials from Vietnamese Communist Party and the locals celebrated the Hai Ba Trung Temple Festival. The festival paid tribute to two sisters, Trung Trac and Trung Nhi, who rose up the cruel actions of General To Dinh of the Han Dynasty and won back over 65 citadels in Linh Nam (a part of North Vietnam now).
The Tet spirit was at its greatest at Vietnam Museum of Ethnology in Cau Giay district. The museum was turned into a Vietnamese playground for the Tet holidays with ethnic minority games including a bamboo swing, tug of war and stilt walking (Kinh people), throwing a sacred ball through the ring (Tay people), and gong music festival (Gie-Trieng people).
Other traditional events included Ba Chua Kho Temple Festival in Vu Ninh District of what used to be the northern province of Bac Ninh, now a part of Hanoi; the 583rd anniversary of the Xuong Giang victory (a victory by King Le Loi’s army over the Minh Dynasty in 1427) at Xuong Giang Victory Historical Monument in the northeastern province of Bac Giang, and the Spring Festival in Duom Temple which paid tribute to general Duong Tu Minh, who maintained peace at the country’s border during Ly Dynasty.