Reunification day, aka Liberation day or Victory Day, on 30 April 2013, is a holiday in Vietnam that commemorates the anniversary of the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong seizure of Saigon, now better known as Ho Chi Minh City. In the west, the event is known as the ‘Fall of Saigon’, but this term is never used in present day Vietnam. Historically this signalled the official end of the Vietnam War and sparked the beginning of the reunification period, where North and South Vietnam were merged into present day Vietnam.
Why Reunification Day is an important holiday
Reunification Day is one of the most important holidays that the Vietnamese celebrate. The Vietnam War raged for close on 20 years. The conflict involved the US Army as well as Cambodia and Laos, who all took sides. The war resulted in the deaths of millions of Vietnamese men, women and children. Reunification Day is a time of sombre reflection of their nations' violent history and it also marks the beginning of a much more peaceful and united Vietnam.
How Reunification Day is observed
During Reunification Day, there are many ongoing celebrations throughout Vietnam which observes the period with an official public holiday.
Some festivities include:
- Houses and offices fly the Vietnamese flag.
- There are red banners displayed prominently throughout all major cities
- Both fireworks and firecrackers are common during celebrations.
- Weeks of preparation go into readying town and city streets for large public parades.
- Also, many large music shows are held, where many patriotic songs are played
What can travellers expect?
Reunification Day is a public holiday so some smaller tourist-based establishments and banks may be closed. As most people enjoy a day off, the streets will be busy with public gatherings and the roads will be even more busy than usual as locals travel to meet up with friends and family. The Vietnamese are very warm and welcoming and will appreciate your respect and enjoyment of their holiday.
- The prices of hotels will rise due to the increase in demand, because of the long weekend it is a popular vacation time for the Vietnamese.
- Many attractions such as museums and monuments will be closed, as well as government buildings.
- Since many Vietnamese choose to vacation at this time, some shops and restaurants may also be closed.
- Travelling can also be strained as more people will be on the streets and using public transportation and some streets will be closed.