1. Overview

Bac Ninh is the smallest province in Vietnam, nearly 40 km from Hanoi; travel time is about 1 hour. Transportation from Hanoi to Bac Ninh is quite convenient; it can be by motorbike, private car, taxi, or bus. Associated with Quan Ho songs, Bac Ninh is one of the prominent places among northern tourist destinations. In particular, this place is also blessed by nature, with countless beautiful natural scenes and many ancient architectural works, along with the unique Lim festival that you should experience when coming here.

Bac Ninh Lim Festival is a traditional festival that everyone knows or has heard of. The Lim Festival is a festival of ancient villages located around Lim Mountain and both banks of the Tieu Tuong River. The Lim festival delicately represents the cultural and artistic features, along with the spiritual beliefs, of the people of Kinh Bac. Every year, a large number of tourists from near and far gather here for the festival. Here you can participate in the procession, experience traditional folk games, and enjoy the smooth Quan Ho folk songs filled with love for the countryside.

2. When is the best time to travel to Hoi Lim? Where is Lim Festival held?

The most appropriate time to explore Hoi Lim is from about 12 to 14 of the first lunar month every year, of which the main day of the festival is the 13th of the first lunar month. This is the time with the most attractive cultural activities during the festival, so you should come to Bac Ninh on this day. 

The Lim festival, also known as the Lim village pagoda festival, is often held in three areas: Noi Due commune, Lien Bao commune, Lim town, Tien Du district, Bac Ninh province. Among them, the top of Hong Van Mountain (Lim Mountain) is where the main festival takes place.

3. History and origin of Lim Festival

According to history, the origin of the Lim festival originates from singing festivals and ancient pagoda festivals related to Truong Chi singing in the legend of Truong Chi, My Nuong. Since then, people have remembered the image of the Lim Festival as a festival in Vietnam characterized by Quan Ho folk songs. 

The Lim Festival took place throughout the 19th century—the first half of the 20th century—and maintained many unique cultural and artistic activities in the Kinh Bac region. When the two resistance wars against the US and France broke out, this festival had to be suspended for many decades. In the years after the reform, the Lim festival was reopened annually on the 13th day of the first lunar month.

With many solemn ceremonies and artistic performance activities, the Lim Festival is a place for cultural and religious exchange among the people of Tonkin. This is also an opportunity to honor the art of Bac Ninh Quan Ho folk singing, an important cultural asset of the Vietnamese people.

4. Who does Lim festival worship?

According to folklore, Lim Pagoda is the place to worship Mr. Hieu Trung Hau, also known as Nguyen Dinh Dien, a governor of Thanh Hoa. He was a person who made many great contributions to the court and developed the Lim association from the scale of the village communal house into the general association (regional association) as it is today. 

Nguyen Dinh Dien is also known as the founder of the Quan Ho singing custom. Before his death, he built a mausoleum on Lim Mountain and named it Hong Van Tomb. After Mr. Nguyen Dinh Dien passed away, people sincerely worshiped him to commemorate his great contributions.

5. Rituals of the Lim Festival

All activities will take place on the 12th and 13th of the first lunar month.

5.1. Ceremony part: special rituals in Lim festival

5.1.1. Incense offering ceremony

The incense offering ceremony is one of the important rituals at the Lim festival, held at Hong An Pagoda on the 12th day of the lunar calendar. This is also the Mausoleum of General Nguyen Dinh Dien, who is considered the founder of the Quan Ho singing custom. The incense offering ceremony aims to pray for peace, happiness, and good harvests for people in the Kinh Bac region.

5.1.2. Procession during Lim festival

At 7:30 a.m. on January 13, the procession will officially begin. The procession was attended by thousands of people in solemn costumes. The procession marches in order from each village, each float, each Quan Ho group, each dance group, and each music group. The procession will start from Dinh Ca village communal house to Lo Bao village communal house. The atmosphere on the main holiday is extremely bustling and crowded, attracting thousands of visitors to witness the majestic procession scene.

5.1.3. Sacrifice during the Lim festival

This is the final ritual in the ceremony, held on the afternoon of the 13th at different locations. This ritual aims to worship tutelary gods, dukes, and famous women who have contributed to the country.

5.2. Festival part: what attracts tourists about Lim festival?

After the end of the formal ceremony, the festival with many interesting activities was also eagerly awaited by many people. At this time, visitors can freely experience folk games and useful cultural activities.

5.2.1. Interesting folk games

Some typical games at the Lim village festival include wrestling, dap nieu, human chess, to tom diem, fairy swing, rice cooking, weaving competition, martial arts, etc. These games contribute to making the Lim Festival more exciting and promote to tourists the typical regional cultural features in Vietnam.

5.2.2. Singing festival

Besides folk games, Cheo singing at Lim Festival or Quan Ho singing at Lim Festival are the most special parts. This is an opportunity for young men and women to interact, learn, and express their feelings through sweet songs. The singing festival takes place on the Tieu Tuong River, creating a romantic and beautiful scene. After singing Quan Ho on the boat, the evening of the 12th will be the time for the Lim festival dance and poetry competitions at communal houses and pagoda yards. Men and women dressed in four-piece dresses, hats, dresses, turbans, etc. have created a lyrical and poetic artistic space.

See more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8nq1or-BcQ

6. Explore cuisine at Hoi Lim Bac Ninh

At Hoi Lim Bac Ninh, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy and explore the unique cuisine of Quan Ho homeland with many delicious and attractive dishes, specialties and flavors of Kinh Bac region such as Dap Cau burnt liver pho, Tich Nghi fish porridge, banh da ke, banh phu the Dinh Bang, Van village’s heirloom wine, Cho village’s sticky rice cake, tuong Dinh Do, Ho chicken, Ninh Xa spring rolls served with fragrant fig leaves, etc. Restaurants as well as delicious traditional eateries are often concentrated in Lim town, Bac Ninh city. That’s why you can take the initiative to experience the unique cuisine of this land.

7. Means of transportation and routes to Lim festival from Hanoi

To find the simplest and fastest route to Lim Festival, you can start from Hanoi. The distance between these two locations is only about 40km; you can choose different means of transportation depending on your preferences and schedule.

  • Motorbike: you move in the direction of Hanoi – Long Bien to Duong Bridge, or follow National Highway 1A, then go to Dinh Bang. Continue going straight, and you will meet the Lim festival venue. 
  • Passenger bus: Take a bus from My Dinh bus station or Giap Bat bus station to Bac Ninh; the fare is about 2.84 USD to 4.05 USD per trip. When you get off at Phu Thinh intersection or Tien Du intersection, you continue to catch a motorbike taxi or taxi to get to Lim Pagoda. 
  • Bus: You take bus route number 54 from Long Bien; the ticket price is about 12.16 USD per trip. This is a quite safe and economical means of transport, suitable for those who do not know where the Lim festival is held.

8. Useful experience when going to Lim festival you need to know

You should come to the Lim festival 2-3 days in advance because the main festival day (January 13) is usually very crowded and bustling.

If traveling by bus or taxi, you should book one week in advance to avoid running out of tickets or trips. 

When going to the Lim festival, you should wear comfortable, simple, and weather-appropriate clothes.

Families with young children need to follow the regulations in the festival area to ensure their children’s safety. 

Do not approach restricted areas without permission from Lim Association management. 

Maintain general hygiene and avoid jostling to ensure security within the festival grounds.

After attending the Lim festival, visitors can also visit famous destinations in Hanoi to make the trip more complete. You can experience some more of our Hanoi tours below:

Hanoi City By Jeep

Hanoi Street Food Tour

Half-day Afternoon Hanoi City Tour

Hanoi City Day Tour

Handicrafts Villages Surrounding Hanoi Area

Half-Day Evening Hanoi City Tour

Discover Hanoi And Surroundings In Style

Hanoi Culinary Tour Package

9. Conclusion

Metta Voyage has just shared with you about Hoi Lim, the most famous traditional festival in Bac Ninh. Metta Voyage hopes this information will help you better understand the typical festival of Kinh Bac and gain more useful travel experiences. And don’t forget to visit our blog to discover many other exciting travel experiences.

10. Contact us

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