Cultural Festival to Feature Traditional Tet at Hue Citadel

The Hue Imperial Citadel will offer free entry to its monuments on the first three days of the Lunar New Year with many attractive and unique cultural programs. The Lunar New Year holiday, Tet, is Vietnam’s biggest and most important festival.


The Hue Imperial Citadel, which is located on the banks of the poetic Huong River is one of the relics belonging to the Complex of Hue Monuments. The citadel, a UNESCO heritage site, is imbued with culturalu, historical, and architectural relics of the Nguyen Dynasty, Vietnam’s last royal family (1802-1945).

According to the Hue Monuments Conservation Center, during the 2023 Tet, many cultural events will be held at the Imperial City of Hue from January 1 to January 28.

Photo by Văn Long Bùi from Pixabay
Photo by Văn Long Bùi from Pixabay

On January 1, 2023, the opening ceremony of Hue Festival 2023 and the re-enactment of the Ban Soc ceremony will take place. Ban Soc was a ceremony to distribute calendars for royal mandarins during the Nguyen Dynasty, held at the end of the lunar year. Ban Soc ceremony will be enacted with ancient rituals. The Ban Soc ceremony is an opportunity for tourists to experience the heritage on New Year’s Day.

Ban Soc Ceremony under the Nguyen Dynasty (also known as the calendar announcement ceremony). Photo: Minh Hien
Ban Soc Ceremony under the Nguyen Dynasty (also known as the calendar announcement ceremony). Photo: Minh Hien

On January 10, a commemoration of King Gia Long will be held at Thien Tho mausoleum. It also has an introduction to “Ham Nghi – exiled emperor, artist in Alger” by Ms. Amandi Dabat, a fifth-generation descendant of the late Emperor Ham Nghi, and the opening ceremony to the exhibition space “Emperor Ham Nghi, life and art” at Te Tuu house, Hue Royal Antiquities Museum.

Hue Royal Antiquities Museum, established in 1923, is one of the first museums in Vietnam. The museum is the place where many collections of ancient Hue are on display and preserved. Most of them are royal antiquities in ranges of porcelain, enameled bronze wares, royal attires, royal seals, musical instruments used in offering ceremonies, glass paintings, red lacquered and gilded and mother-of-pearl inlaid woodwork, etc. In addition, there is also a collection of unique and diversified Cham sculptures.

Hue Museum Of Royal Antiquities (Photo: Culture Pham Travel Team)
Hue Museum Of Royal Antiquities (Photo: Culture Pham Travel Team)

The festival will include a ritual ceremony erecting the cay neu (Tet bamboo pole) at the Trieu Mieu and The Mieu temples and Long An Palace on January 14. Here, a program called the “Ancient fragrance of Tet cakes” will also be held, featuring competitions to make the banh Chung (square sticky rice cake) and banh tet (round glutinous rice cake). These cakes are an indispensable part of traditional Tet celebrations in Vietnam.

On January 21, visitors will have a chance to watch the NYE fireworks, dragon dances, and performances of Hue royal court music at Hue Flag Tower (Kỳ Đài).

Located in the complex of Hue Imperial Citadel, the Hue Flag Tower has attracted a lot of tourists to visit. Associated with the ups and downs throughout history and the unique beauty of architecture, it deserves to be the most impressive cultural tourist relic of the ancient capital.

Photo: Culture Pham Travel Team
Hue Flag Tower. Photo: Culture Pham Travel Team

On January 22-24 (the first three days of the Lunar New Year), there will be many cultural programs to celebrate Tet in the citadel. These days, the heritage site offers free entry to its monuments.

On January 28, the Tet pole will be taken down at the Trieu Mieu and The Mieu temples, marking the official beginning of the New Year.

Food offerings to ancestors in Hue on Lunar New Year's Day (Photo: Internet)
Traditional dishes in Hue on Lunar New Year’s Day (Photo: Internet)

During Tet, Hue restaurants and hotels serve traditional dishes to visitors. Hue specialties during Tet are Banh tet Lang Chuon, pork bundles, spring rolls, salted onions, sweet and sour pickled palanquin, etc. Besides, there are sweet desserts such as ginger jam, coconut jam, green bean soup, etc that have been associated with the traditional Vietnamese Tet.

Phuong Nguyen