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Updated Feb 8, 2010
Lanterns, food to fire Hoi An for Tet Festival
Xem anh phong to

Tet (Lunar New Year) is upon the nation and Hoi An, in the central province of Quang Nam, is preparing big celebrations for this important festival, promising a good time for locals and tourists.

The Banh Tet (traditional sticky rice cake) Festival will open on February 11 with activities to welcome the Year of the Tiger. Last year, more than 30 organisations joined in a competition for wrapping banh tet, and 6,000 cakes were donated to poor families in the city.

This year, the organising board is encouraging teams to make all the traditional cakes of Quang Nam, not just banh tet.

Fifty organisations have registered to join the competition, and it's expected that more than 1,300 poor families will receive these gifts this year.

The contest will help popularise Hoi An's specialities and its traditional culture, says Vo Phung, director of the Hoi An Culture, Sports and Tourism Centre.

The venue opposite to the Old Quarter, where banh tet is boiled, will be a destination for tourists if they want to gather around the cooking fire and learn more about this tradition, he adds.

The Hoi An Lantern Festival will take place from February 13 to 27 and will highlight the new year festivities.

Lantern exhibitions, artistic performances, fireworks displays, a flower garlands festival, street festivals and a competition to make artistic lanterns will be held during the festival at various venues, such as along the Hoai River, in the Old Quarter and at the An Hoi Garden of Statues, says the organising board.

Le Tru Tich (New Year's Eve), a special midnight ceremony that will take place on February 13 will see out the old year and bring in the new one. It will be marked by a series of activities throughout Hoi An's streets. A masquerade, carnival, processions and lantern dancing will take place.

During these celebrations, gongs and other festive items at temples, pagodas and vestiges in the city will be beaten. This year, the first day of the Lunar New Year is very special because it is also Valentine's Day. Hoi An's Youth Union and volunteers will sell flowers and gifts to raise funds for poor students in the city.

In a blaze of fireworks, the organising board, locals and tourists will join a dance to wish each other good tidings. A performance of Vietnamese oddities, beginning on February 15 at Hoai River Square, will end up the Tet festivities. There will be performances of Mai Dinh Toi, with odd musical instrumentals, and the inner powers of martial artist Quoc Cuong.


VNS

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