Lim Festival happens annually on January around 12th-13th on the lunar calendar. The festival occurs in Lim Town, Tien Du District, Bac Ninh Province, Vietnam. It is the festival of Quan Ho Sing, which has been one of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2009.
Lim is the name of a Hill in Lim Town. Lim festival is a festival of ancient villages around Lim Mountain. It started a long time ago, but it has been popular since 18th century. In 18th century, in North Vietnam, Mr. Nguyen Dinh Dien, a high official of Le dynasty restored many temples, pagodas and festivals including Lim Festival. Locals respected him as a god. Lim Festival in Bac Ninh aims to express gratitude and respect of the locals to the god. It is also an occasion to remember the origin of Lim Festival as well.
The thirteen of Lunar New Year is the main festival day. Early morning locals gather and join a procession up to Lim Hill – the center of Lim Festival. The locals joining the procession wear colorful traditional formal uniforms. The procession lasts about 1 km. On Lim Hill, the villagers participate in a traditional ceremony at Lim Pagoda, which is the place to worship Mr. Nguyen Dinh Dien. In the ceremony, there is “quan ho” sing liturgy to praise the god for his great merit.
Recreational activities of Lim Festival begin earlier, usually from 12th day of Lunar New Year. Of course, the most attractive activity is “quan ho” singing performance. Each year, thousands of tourists come to visit Lim Festival and enjoy that Intangible Cultural Heritage. On Lim Hill, several stages of villages in Bac Ninh Province are built. Visitors can enjoy “quan ho” singing at different stages and interact with singers in traditional costumes. Female singers (called “lien chi” in Vietnamese) are beautiful in “ao tu than” (four-panel traditional dress) and “non quai thao” (“quai thao” hat, so-called “non ba tam”). Male singers (called “lien anh” in Vietnamese) are elegant in “ao the” and “khan xep”. They sing love duets together in pair of one male and one female. Do not miss the taste of betel chewing while enjoying the smooth and lovely melody of “quan ho” folk songs. Moreover, on the lake in front of Lim Communal House, visitors can catch the scenery of “quan ho” singing performance on a dragon boat. Coming to Lim Festival, visitors will experience a unique speciallty of legend land of North Vietnam.
Besides, Lim Festival is also space for various folk games such as “danh du” (bamboo swings), wrestling, cocks fighting, tugging war, blindman’s bluff, human chess, pot beating, etc. Especially, visitors can know more about the culture of Vietnamese people in Red River Delta region with the competition of weaving.
Lim Festival in Bac Ninh is one of the most famous traditional folk festivals in North Vietnam. If you have a chance to travel to Bac Ninh Province in January on the lunar calendar, do not forget to join this full of attraction festival.