Hoi An ancient town with lanterns, Vietnam
On the last day of the Lunar New Year, the ancient streets of Hoi An were filled with the thick scent of incense and anticipation. The typically relaxed locals were fluttering around hastily making arrangements before one year ended and another began.
Dust and dirt were swept outside while shopkeepers piled up offerings -- traditional cakes, fresh fruit and flowers -- on tables inside. But customers still had to be assisted. This is high-season for tourists, so tailors and souvenir shops have to make the most of it!
Among the most popular items for tourists are silk lanterns. Like the town itself, Hoi An’s silk lanterns are a blend of Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese elements. The silk lanterns are iconic – almost every café and restaurant in town incorporates lanterns into the interior design. You can find a myriad of shapes and designs in every kind of colour you can think of.
Catering for those who like to travel light, craftsmen have designed lanterns that easily fold up into bags or suitcases. There must be Hoi An lanterns swinging from ceilings in every corner of the globe.
After the sun goes down, Hoi An takes on an evocative, magical appearance. In an effort to create a tranquil ambience, authorities have long since banned motorbikes from the old town’s streets in the evening. Everyone just ambles around as lanterns rock in a gentle breeze.
During Tet this year the town was even more breathtaking than usual as the inaugural lantern making contest was held. Students, craftsmen and artists from around the town entered designs and the best 79 lanterns were displayed in the An Hoi Statue Garden on the bank of Hoai River.
The rest of the lanterns were hung throughout the town. It was truly a festival of lights that left tourists and locals in a happy, dreamy daze,..
By Hoang Van and Duc Hanh report/timeout
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