Hoi An Lantern Festival - Vietnam's Most Lit Feast

The Hoi An Lantern Festival is the perfect time for solo travelling, family trips and romantic vacations as it is the best opportunity to experience the blissful ambience of the town of Hoi An. Hoi An showcases the creativity of local artists and their skilful products through the Hoi An Lantern Festival.

When Is the Hoi An Lantern Festival? 

Observed on the fourteenth day of each lunar month, the Hoi An Lantern Festival is the night of the brightest and fullest moon. Celebrations begin during dusk and end at around 9:00 PM. 

Dates:   
February 8, 2020

Where Is The Festival Celebrated? 

Hoi An Lantern Festival
Banks of the Hoai River
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Most of the Hoi An Lantern festive celebrations takes place on the banks of the Hoai River, the Japanese Covered Bridge and the Cau An Hoi Bridge.

The Best Time to Visit Festival?

February to August is the preferred time to visit the Hoi An Lantern Festival, and more so recommended is during February. As February is the first full moon of the lunar new year, the Hoi An Lantern Festival celebrations biggest and more exclusive during this time.

Hoi An Lantern Festival Highlights

Hoi An Lantern Festival
Rows of elegant Hoi An lanterns during the festival
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With candles placed at the bottom of colourful lanterns that convey prayers for peace and health, these skilful art pieces make the central aspect of the Hoi An Lantern Festival. Electricity is minimally used throughout the city during the Hoi An Lantern Festival to grow focus on lantern lights. The banks of the Hoi An river come alive with folk performances, bamboo flutes, fiddles, drums, poetry and Bai Choi.

What Is the Hoi An Lantern Festival?

Hoi An Lantern Festival
Collections of various lanterns and lamps for the Lantern Festival
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Celebrated on the eve of a full moon every month the Hoi An Lantern Festival observes the full moon as one of the most sacred Buddhist events. As the Buddha was born, attained wisdom and departed the earth on the same day, today, the full moon is a reflective time; upon one's own life and their familial relationships.

Hoi An Celebrations
Delightful lanterns are released onto the Hoi River as part of the full-moon-night tradition in Hoi An. Hoi An locals, offer ancestral prayers and devotion to God, which is believed to bring good fortune, peace and love. The Hoi An Lantern Festival hosts arrays of exciting cultural events on the banks of the Hoi An river.

What to Eat At Festival? - Street Food

Plenty of street food stalls comprising of Japanese and Chinese influenced cuisine, and other international foods are set up for the Hoi An Lantern Festival.

Must-try

Hoi An Lantern Festival
The delicious Cao Lau
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Cao Lau - A delicious blend of Japanese (thick noodle or udon), Chinese (rice crackers and porks) and Vietnamese (broth) cultures. 

Pop-Food
1. Banh Bao - Steamed rice dumplings with mushrooms and pork
2. Banh Dap - Steamed rice pancakes, rice crackers and anchovy sauce
3. Banh Xaoi - Mango cake
4. Xi Ma - Pudding made out of black sesame

Hoi An Lantern Festival Traditions

Sampan Boat Ride

Hoi An Lantern Festival
Sampan Boats
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The best way to release lanterns without lamp-traffic on the Hoai River is through the Sampan, a Vietnamese canoe. Sampan boat rides are an excellent way to know more about the ancient town of Hoi An through conversations with the ferrymen.
Prices: VND 10,000 (negotiate as much as possible) 

Bai Choi 
Bai Choi is a gripping folk game of Central Vietnam comprising of poetry, music, acting, literature and painting. With complex card-drawing and singing rules of the game, Bai Choi is said to have originated among the peasants in the Quang region. Bai Choi Songs Bai Choi songs mostly revolve around themes of everyday life, work, patriotism and love for the community. Performed during the Hoi An Lantern Festival, Boi Choi performances add to the lively festive atmosphere and offer a peek into the Vietnamese culture.

Traveller Tips 

1. A great photo opportunity, the Hoi An Lantern festival is generally a crowded festival.
2. Cau An Hoi Bridge or Japanese Covered Bridge or even sampan rides are recommended for beautiful photos of the candlelit water.
3. Keep photography equipment and belongings close and safe, ensure nothing falls into the river.
4. Lantern prices are negotiable as sellers are known to quote higher figures, with one costing around VND 5000.
5. Make sure you pack quality walking shoes as vehicles are banned in the old town area during the Lantern Festival, and you may have to walk quite a bit.

Hoi An Lantern Festival
A sky full of stars
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With an array of exciting activities catering to all ages, Hoi An is prettiest during the Lantern Festival. The lantern-lit full moon night makes for a mesmerising atmosphere that draws mass travellers and visitors each year.

This post was published by Ruthvi Reddy

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