7 cultural markets come only once a year in Vietnam

Khau Vai love market

There is no jostling as well as no bargaining scene. Everyone, from sellers to buyers, comes here just to pray for luck and look forward to a year full of fortune.

1. Khau Vai love market (Chợ tình Khâu Vai)

Near the end of the third lunar month, on the Ha Giang rocky plateau, everyone whether woman or man, old or young people, and visitors from around the world gather at Khau Vai Market, which is in Khau Vai village that located 200km from Ha Giang city, to join a unique love market in Vietnam.

Held only on the 27th in the 3rd lunar month, this traditional night market of the Mong people has existed for a long time. At the beginning, it was a place for people who had unfinished love to reunite with each other for one night. In the next morning, when the market was over, they came home to get back with their husbands or wives, without any jealousy or reproach. Today, Khau Vai love market is a place for people to gather, make friends, as well as exchange goods.

2. Nam Dinh Vieng Market (Chợ Viềng Nam Định)

Vieng Market, a long-standing market, also takes place only once a year, on the 7th night and the 8th day of the 1st lunar month, in Nam Truc and Vu Ban District in Nam Dinh Province. This special market attracts thousands of travelers each year to come here to “attract good luck, sell out bad luck”.

Since people go to the market simply for good luck, with a wish to have a favorable year of rain, wind, and prosperity; therefore, both sellers and buyers when shopping are not serious about trading. Previously, Vieng Market only sold farm tools, especially famous for knives, axes, plowshares, … Nowadays people have brought to market many diverse types of products to make it even more exciting.

3. Hanoi Antique Market (Phiên chợ đồ cổ, Hà Nội)

Held annually only from 23 to 30 in the 12th lunar month, this market meets at the crossroads of 5 streets of Hang Ma, Hang Luoc,… In addition to pottery, items on sale here are diverse: antique and bronze imitation items dating from dozens to several hundred years ago, along with all kinds of worship, Buddha statues or bronze statues, bronze tops,…. Although it is called a market, it only has some small stalls with no signs. Customers come here mainly to buy home decorative items or just to stroll and hang out on the Tet holidays. This is also a year-end rendezvous for antique enthusiasts.

However, you must notice that real and copycat products here are mixed up. Thus, only knowledgeable people can distinguish and accurately price the item.

4. Bac Ninh Yin Yang Market (Chợ Âm Dương, Bắc Ninh)

The market takes place from the night of the 4th day to early morning of the 5th day in Lunar Tet in O village, which is Xuan O village, Vo Cuong Ward, Bac Ninh City. Local legend has it that this is a rare opportunity for the dead and the living to meet, considered as an occasion to do good deeds to the dead.

Next to a sacred temple, the market begins at night on an empty ground without any vendors. Many market-goers often bring a chicken as a scapegoat. They don’t bargain, and we just heard them whisper small and loud. This is a form of cultural activities imbued with spiritual beliefs which is very typical of the Kinh Bac region.

5. Thanh Hoa Thieu Market (Chợ Thiều, Thanh Hóa)

Thieu Market is held in Thieu Xa village, Cau Loc commune, Hau Loc on the morning of the 26th day in the 12th month following the lunar calendar. The main items sold in the market are rural products such as glutinous rice, coconut leaves, dong leaves, and vegetables,… For wishing luck, people who go to the market also do not bargain for the best price.

Previously, Thieu Market was held right next to the river bank to facilitate waterway transportation. Thieu Xa village now unified to hold this market in Thieu pagoda. Thus, travellers would have an opportunity to learn not only about the culture but also admire the ancient features of the pagoda.

6. Bich La Market (Chợ đình Bích La, Quảng Trị)

Held from the night of the 2nd until the dawn of the 3rd, this market has existed for hundreds of years, as a traditional custom of people in Trieu Phong district.

On Lunar New Year, everyone comes here simply to pray for luck. Absolutely no bargaining or haggling back and forth happens.

Items sold in the market are just local produce such as betel nut, salt, tea, sugarcane,.. to wish for a lucky year with a lot of fortune

7. Go Market (Chợ Gò) – Trường Úc, Bình Định

Unlike other markets, Go market meets on the first day of Lunar New Year. It is held like a festival as well as a unique cultural exchange place in Binh Dinh, the land of martial arts.

Goods brought to the market are just fish, vegetables or fruits in the local’s garden. Though that is just a lovely excuse for shoppers to meet, and wish each other a happy new year.

(Source: Du Lich 24 | Translator: Vuong Gia Linh)

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