Religion and religious festivals are an important part of Vietnamese culture. Vietnam is thus a country that is known for its festivals and parades. One of the very important ceremonies that are celebrated in Saigon - Ho Chi Minh City is the festival that is celebrated on Buddha’s birthday
The Buddhist religion is widely prevalent in all of Asia and Saigon - Ho Chi Minh City is no different. In fact a massive 50% of the Vietnamese population is Buddhist. Thus Buddha's Birthday Festival, is a festival of immense importance. Buddha’s birthday is also said to be the day he achieved enlightenment.
This day is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the fourth lunar month and prayers and offering are made all over Vietnam. In Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon this day is celebrated lavishly in the Nghia An Hoi Quan Pagoda Saigon. The temple is decorated extravagantly and monks move out in several processions along the streets, and colorful lanterns are used to decorate all the pagodas. The smell of incense permeates everywhere and adds to the festivals' spiritual nature.
In Indonesia and Thailand, celebrations are held on the night of the May full moon, but it is advisable for tourists to the visit the temple for the festival a little earlier in Vietnam. In fact going to Saigon - Ho Chi Minh City a week before the actual full moon is a rather good idea.