Happy Independence Day: Vietnam Gears up for its annual party

Every year at this time, the flags start appearing across the city as local Vietnamese prepare to celebrate their Independence Day. Immediately after the end of the Second World War, a power vacuum was evident in Vietnam. Capitalising on this, the Việt Minh launched the “August Revolution” throughout the country and seized government offices. Emperor Bảo Đại abdicated on August 25, 1945, ending the Nguyễn Dynasty. On September 2, 1945 Ho Chi Minh, leader of the communist Viet Minh organisation, declared Vietnam’s independence from France and renamed the country the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

It is a time for Vietnamese to reflect and party, and for holidaymakers and expats to join in. I really enjoy seeing the city start to transform itself in readiness for the events that will be taking place across town. Every taxi puts a flag on the roof as do all public buildings and indeed many private ones. There is also more than the usual number of Vietnamese fall T shirts in evidence. Officially, the government puts flags and bunting up just about everywhere, but the locals soon get into the spirit of things as well.

This will be my third one and I have always had a good time. Independence Day in Vietnam is always a happy time as the locals celebrate a monuments day in their history. There is always lots of good natured nationalism on show and thankfully very little of the nastier side of nationalism that plagues many other countries.

The events come to a head with one of the Vietnamese favourite pastimes, a firework display. At the drop of a hat, fireworks shows are held here and many thousand make their way to the riverfront to watch. traffic comes to a complete standstill as millions flood into D1. During the day other events are held. There is a rally on the edge of the Ben Thanh market roundabout as a huge stage is erected on the edge of the park whose name, September 23rd Park, celebrates a brief but brutal rebellion against the reinstatement of French control in Saigon, just three weeks after Ho Chi Minh had declared independence on September 2nd.

Have fun and enjoy a great day, if you are Vietnamese then you have my congratulations and best wishes, to all expats the same and to holidaymakers, best wishes and enjoy your little piece of history. It’s a great time to be in this wonderful city.