Culture Activities during Tet in Hoi An

Nga Do
Tet is the annual Lunar New Year festival in Vietnam. It coincides with the Chinese New Year. For tourists who plan to stay in one city, Tet is colorful, friendly and fun--but the whole country is on the move going home for the holiday and a lot of places close for the holidays. So travel at this time is challenging.  Hoi An is an absolutely stunning town especially with all the lanterns in the streets and lights by the water during Tet. Its big enough and very well catered for travellers even in Tet New Year. Some businesses still open.  

The highlights of New Year’s Eve will be a lion dance, lantern parade and flowered car parade to invite tourists to join the holiday. At the sacred moment of transferring from the old year to the new year, there will be a fireworks display at the provincial culture and sports center in HoiAn river, Cham island and Cua Dai bridge in Hoi An City while temples, churches and pagodas will ring their bells and beat their drums at the same time to welcome the new year.

At Hoai River Square, the second Hoi An lantern contest will take place on February 2, promising locals and tourists works of artistic lanterns or artistic installations of lanterns. The event also aims to honor the traditional craft of lantern making of Hoi An.  

Lanterns are strung up everywhere and people stroll outside among the ancient houses and storefronts. For Tet, boats on the river launch hundreds of colored paper boats with candles. The bridges are decorated with dragons and lanterns, and there are free outdoor musical performances by visiting musicians and local schoolchildren.

It's a lot of fun if you spend the holiday with the locals and experience authentic celebrations. And it is especially pretty traveling around that time with all the decorations and lanterns hanging in the streets, "chuc mung nam moi" greetings. 

During the holiday, there will be many cultural, sports and entertainment programs such as a Chinese chess competition, Hoi An martial arts contest, music contests for young voices, young music bands, young dance bands and fashion shows. There will also be traditional folk game tournaments such as tug of war and day gay (pushing stick), modern games, calligraphy, photos and fine art works.

Tips: You will get a hard time purchasing tickets to bus and trains...since all locals will travel to their hometown. Thus, book air ticket in advance is good idea

If you go, make sure you have plans for the actual holiday, and don't expect to be able to catch a bus or travel elsewhere on a whim.

Have a great trip and enjoy Tet! Good luck.

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