The history of Hoi An’s lanterns

Nga Do
Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, sits in the heart of central Vietnam. It is a quaint, old-timey village with shallow and murky rivers flocked by the local fishermen. Moreover, Hoi An is renowned for its lantern festival where the whole town is lit up with countless of lanterns and candle-lighted paper boats.

The history of Hoi An’s lanterns
Photo by mailanmaik
Lanterns first made their appearance in Hoi An in the late 16th century when the Chinese and Japanese settled there. Originally, the lanterns had the practical use of lighting up homes. Because they were so beautiful, they were also used as decoration in the old houses. Now they’ve morphed into a quasi-tourist attraction to great effect. Stalls upon stalls at the markets sell replicas to hungry tourists.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Hoi An was a bustling commercial port. Merchant ships from Asia and Europe would dock there to exchange goods with the city. Silk had become one of Hoi An’s top commodities and the lanterns had become very popular as a way to decorate homes. So the lanterns were put into production. Locals began to hang lanterns out as well, in hopes of bringing good luck and coziness to the town. It worked.

The production of the lanterns go throughmany stages: the selection of bamboo, bamboo processing to make the frame, selection of the silk fabric, decoration on the fabric. Using silk fabric makes the lanterns more luxurious and beautiful.

In 1998, town authorities decided that the 14th of each lunar month would be a night of lantern festivities. On that night, lights in houses and businesses are replaced with colorful lanterns and local residents have a chance to show off their specialties made of rare woods and sophisticated designs that had been passed down by generations. Today, lanterns of all quality and variety are available for tourists around the world to purchase.

If possible, excursion Hoi An on the first, 14th, 15th lunar month to experience the drop light flower in Hoi An ancient town. Then all the houses in the Old Town will turn off the lights and they will hang the lanterns in front of the house. Especially they will drop the lights posted on the Thu Bon River. Festivals usually start early from about 16h are the roads along the Hoai River in the old town has banned traffic, and to 18h, the lantern has been lit.

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