The Vietnamese Tet Lunar New Year Festival epitomizes the very essence and cultural identity of the country and brings in renewed energy and momentum in everyone. The whole country has entered 2012, the ‘Year of the Dragon’ with new hope and happiness for a prosperous year as the Vietnamese people believe the dragon will bring in good luck and better prospects in all aspects of life may it be economy, politics or even national defense.
Hanoi, Bac Ninh welcome a chilly cold New Year
Undeterred by the cold weather and light rain, thousands of people came to attend New Year Eve celebrations round Hoan Kiem Lake late into the night of January 22.
|President Truong Tan Sang delivers his New Year message|
This year the streets from Dinh Tien Hoang, Ly Thai To, Lang Ha to Giang Vo, Nguyen Chi Thanh…were adorned with colourful banners, flowers and lights.
At the hour of midnight, fireworks burst forth at 29 traditional spots in Hanoi lighting the dark sky with hundreds of thousands of people enthralled in the spectacle. Hundreds of policemen and soldiers were deployed to keep order in the city and allow all to enjoy the festive atmosphere happily and joyfully.
Since early hours today morning, the first day of the New Year people have flocked to temples and pagodas to pray for health and prosperity for their family members and friends.
Last night, thousands of people also flocked to the biggest flower festival ever held in the capital city. The event was held in front of Ly Thai To Statue next to Hoan Kiem Lake.
The four-day festival titled “Rendezvous of Streets and Flowers” was organized along Dinh Tien Hoang Street and around the lake. Young and old visited Dinh Tien Hoang Street over the past two days to contemplate the artworks and creative floral sculptures and take photos. Some even brought laptops along with them to make video films.
The beauty of Hanoi was recaptured with a giant flower work titled ‘Xe Dap Hoa’, featuring bicycles carrying flowers in the early morning hours along Thanh Nien Road by the side of West Lake.
|Minority Mong ethnic girls in traditional costumes at the of spring festival in the northwestern provinces|
Artisans from around the nation were called in to complete the display for the New Year.
For Vietnamese people, the bright colour of peach blossoms brings a message for humanity, of redemption, hope and optimism in the New Year.
Meanwhile, in neighbouring Bac Ninh Province, the 2012 Spring Flower Festival opened near Ly Thai To Statue at the centre of the Park. Quan ho, a traditional folk song tune could be heard everywhere in Bac Ninh, where relics have been recognised by UNESCO as intangible cultural heritage.
The northern countryside is represented with flowery villages where quan ho (folk songs of Bac Ninh) are being performed, and flower vendors and ao dai (Vietnamese traditional dress) women can be seen taking in the festivities.
The festival also features traditional music such as ca tru (ceremonial singing), cheo (traditional opera), cai luong (renovated opera), dragon dances and folk games together with a flower arranging competition.
|Fireworks welcome the ‘Year of the Dragon’ over Saigon River in HCMC|
The Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has worked with the police to avoid traffic jams during the festival. Security will be tightened to prevent people from plucking flowers like in previous years.
Spring festivals in the northwestern provinces
After enjoying several warm days, the mountainous tourist hotspots in the northwestern provinces such as Lao Cai turned cold with foggy conditions and icy winds.
Despite the cold, people enjoyed Tet by going to the markets and joining in the festivities.
In front of the iconic church in town, many people from the Dao ethnic minority group can be seen selling dong (phrynium) leaves while the Mong people sell peach blossom branches along the 4D Highway.
As usual, people from the vicinity gather to buy fresh vegetables to cook their favorite foods during the Tet New Year holidays.
These days, the famous tourist town of Sa Pa in Lao Cai Province is flowing with foreign tourists. Most of the three star and other luxury hotels have been fully booked.
Foreign tourists love to explore ethnic villages, majestic scenery and local culture.
Hoi An hosts festival and cultural activities for Tet
More than a thousand people gathered round the ancient streets of Hoi An, the central city and an important Port of the 18 century in Vietnam.
To prevent the damage and chaos seen in previous years, the traditional display of den long (lanterns decorated with colors) will not be in the centre of the road but along the footpaths. This will also allow a freer flow of pedestrians who last year jammed the street and trampled the flower beds.
The highlights include a flower festival on Tran Hung Dao and Nguyen Hue Streets, a New Year cake-making competition at 1 Nguyen Truong To Street, lantern competition at An Hoi Statue Garden, fireworks, traditional and modern dance performances, and a photo exhibition.
The festival also recreates images of some of the nation's heritage, including the Old Quarter of Hoi An with its lanterns and the Chua Cau (Japanese bridge), one of the oldest bridges in Vietnam.
The display and the competition of den long began on January 22 at 10 pm, focusing on the country's cultural heritage.
"It's an ideal occasion to entertain people, promote tourism and honour the country's heritage sites," said an official of the municipal Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, which organized the event.
The festival features 73 art works, four with big flower scenes.
Highlights of the festival include the artwork “The Legend of Vietnam” featuring a dragon-phoenix couple, illustrating the story of Lac Long Quan and Au Co, the legendary creators of the Vietnamese people; Thanh Giong; and lanterns with maps of Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos.
In the nearby cities of Da Nang and Quy Nhon people welcomed Tet with colorful fireworks and art shows.
A variety of cultural performances, exhibitions, calligraphy displays, and other activities will also take place during the festival.
In addition, the city has organized numerous Tet flower markets in many of its districts for people to visit during the festive season.
In the central highland province of Dac Nong, reporters also noted the atmosphere of Tet in the banquets offered on Lunar New Year Eve. Tet being of paramount importance to the Vietnamese people spiritually as this is the time for them to worship their ancestors and also enjoy a family reunion. The feast also demonstrates the Dac Nong people’s economic development year by year.
Ho Chi Minh City greets Tet with flowers
Since early yesterday morning (Jan 22), hundreds flocked to the flower and book streets on Mac Thi Buoi, Nguyen Hue and Ngo Duc Ke to take in the festive and colourful sights.
Ngo Duc Ke Street, named “Con Duong Tuong Lai” (Street of the Future), will sell books and documents on the city’s projects for the next few years. The street will also sell children’s and braille books, and will have a playing area for children and some book cafes.
The highlight of the display will be books featuring Vietnam’s historical sea & island sovereignty over Paracel (Hoang Sa) and Spratly (Truong Sa) islands.
Nguyen Hue Flower Street will end its display on January 26.
Meanwhile, the 2012 Spring Flower Festival opened at Tao Dan Park in Ho Chi Minh City yesterday.
More than 8,000 items including various kinds of flowers, ornamental fish, dried trees, grafted stones, rock-gardens, and bonsai plants are on display at the festival.
Another highlight, the Song Lan Mo Hoi (Two Unicorns inaugurating the Festival) sits in front of a statue made with various kinds of fruits from the southern parts of Vietnam.
The 90-minute opening ceremony was broadcast live on Hanoi television last night. The festival will end on January 2 with an art performance entitled Hon Sen Viet (Vietnamese Lotus Soul).
The festival, which will last until January 28, will also feature the country’s biggest pair of dragons made from flowerpots, models of famous landscapes across the country and rare, valuable flowers and plants.
On the first day of the New Year, the travel company Vitours will welcome 32 Australian visitors on a two-week trans-Vietnam tour and the Vietravel Company will welcome nearly 50 Chinese and Japanese tourists during the first days of Lunar New Year.
The company’s director welcomed the visitors at the airport and presented them with lucky money.
They will be introduced to Vietnamese Tet customs and enjoy the traditional dishes and elegant, subtle and delicate cuisines. The Tet banquet represents both the city’s sophisticated gastronomic traditions and the excellent cooking skills of its women.
On the first day of New Year, Saigon tourist received more than 50 foreign visitors from France and Belgium who will tour Chau Doc, Sadec, Vinh Long, My Tho, Ho Chi Minh City and Cu Chi.
The Super Star Aquarius, with more than 2,000 passengers and crew on board will also dock at Da Nang port on the same day.
At 7 am today, State President Truong Tan Sang led a delegation to visit and offer Tet greetings and wish a Happy New Year to members of the HCMC Party and leaders from the People’s Council, the People’s Committee and the Fatherland Front.