That Hoi An ancient town is considered as one of the 20 best places for nightlife in the world is definitely not taken for granted. As soon as the night falls, the fascinating and illusionary beauty of this town is completely revealed.
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Nightlife in Hoi An starts at 6 p.m every day when all lights and lanterns are lighted up. It could be so wonderful if you take a walk along glistening streets on both sides of the Hoai river to enjoy the fresh atmosphere. In such sparkling brightness, hearing the echo of traditional folk songs, seeing perennial lanterns hanging outside ancient houses, you will feel like yourself is wandering in a fairyland. It could be said that the lantern is one of the most typical things that form the traditional and cultural values of Hoi An. Every single lantern tells a different story about the old time of the place that is used to be a hectic and busy trading port where gathered Chinese, Japanese and Western merchants after their journey from the Silk Path.
Hoi An at night
Night market in Hoi An can fulfill not only the expectation of a shopaholic but also the excitement of sightseeing lovers. The market has about 50 booths stretching along a 300-meter street which creates a typically local sale space. There are various types of products sold here including colorful lanterns, silks, ceramic products, and handmade ones like “tò he” (a traditional toy of Vietnamese children made from glutinous rice powder), postcards… In addition, food is another attractiveness of the night market. Many local dishes that can be tasted here, for instance, Cao Lầu, Quang noodle, black sesame sweet soup…
Colorful lanterns at the night market
When being tired of walking, you can just get on a boat to enjoy your night on the romantic Hoai river. Along the riverside, there are many cafes that you may be interested in visiting. You can listen to the traditional music performed by playing live bands while enjoying drinks and delicious foods. Remember to choose a table near the balcony towards the river, it must be absolutely fantastic!
Every 14th night of the Lunar month is the most wonderful time in Hoi An when tourists can take part in the monthly full-moon festival. As soon as all the electric lights are switched off, the whole town becomes sparkling in the beauty of colorful lanterns and lotus candle lights. The festival has been hold by the local government of Hoi An since 1988. Among those full moon festivals, there are some most special ones, namely, Nguyên Tiêu, Vu Lan, and Mid-autumn festival.
Sparkling Hoi An in a full-moon festival
Nguyen is “the first” and Tiêu is “night” so Nguyen Tieu means the first full-moon night of the lunar year. This is one of the most important occasions in Hoi An, especially to the Chinese community since it carries great spiritual meanings: worshiping the ancestors, praying for prosperity, lucks, and happiness. Thus, the festival is celebrated jubilantly and lasts about two to three days with many generations in a family joining in. On these days, people visit pagodas and temples to organize formal offering rituals to their Gods and wish for good things to come.
During this time, tourists can feel the cozy atmosphere pervading everywhere from a single house to all streets in the town. You also have a chance to float flower lanterns with your wishes in it on the Hoai river and taste the traditional food of the occasion - “chè trôi nước” (sticky rice dumplings).
Every year, the Vu Lan festival is held on the 15th of July in the lunar calendar. This is the time for Vietnamese people to express gratefulness and appreciation to their mothers and wish them a happy long life. Moreover, this day has another meaning of forgiveness for evil souls and salvation for every living people, which is the main objective of the Ghost day festival. On this day, people often visit pagodas offering incenses to pray for their mother and people who passed away.
At night, there are a lot of interesting activities such as light dance ritual, singing and dancing festival…that attracts both locals and foreign tourists.
According to Vietnamese tradition, the festival is celebrated in the middle of autumn or the 15th night of August in the lunar year. It is believed that the moon at this time is the fullest, most beautiful, and brilliant one among those in the year.
Through the Mid-Autumn festival, people show their thankfulness to the moon for its year-round services. Moon cakes are known as the indispensable food of the occasion which is a thin crust filled with salted egg yolks, pumpkin seeds, sweetened dried pumpkin, slices of sausages…or only green or red bean paste.
The festival is totally livelier and more bustling than monthly full moon ones since there are several activities occurred. In the evening, children go down the streets with their hands holding colorful lanterns in various shapes. There are also parades that involve children beating drums and gongs followed by people perform Lion and Unicorn dance.
Dragon dance in Mid Autumn festival
To sum up, each of Hoi An’s festivals has its own uniqueness but all of them play important roles in forming a priceless cultural and traditional value of this ancient town. Such a charming destination like this totally deserves your visit. There are a lot of interesting Hoi An tours await you to discover.
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Image sources: Internet