Tet celebrations in Hoi An
We sat at the sloping shore, amidst thousands, overlooking the river. Before us a small boat on the black water and next to us a lot of crates with festive content, ready to go bang. The people in the boat had one great mission: fill the river with small, bright, colorful, paper candleholders. They sent a shining stream of light onto the water, taking the wishes of all of us, waiting in anticipation, with them - into the year of the monkey. At midnight some people attempted to release a candle onto the river themselves, failing miserably, falling into the water, to our entertainment. Then the fireworks went off and it was like they tried to recreate a supernova: it was easily one of the most magnificent things man has ever imagined and then actually made. Gazing at the sky, through the palmtreeleaves, with my men, it made for a pretty magical night.
On our way back to our hotel we were accompanied by thousands of people on motorbikes, heading to one of the temples to start off their new year in the best way possible. On the pavements people burned colored paper and fake money as an offering for their dead ancestors. Children paraded around proudly in their new clothes, with red money-envelopes in their hands.
Hoi An was the perfect place for Tet celebrations: this charming town is always covered in a overflow of colorful lanterns, now taking the decorations to the next level. Approaching Lunar New Year, people put large plants with yellow flowers, or a Marumi kumquat (a sort of mandarin tree) outside their houses, much like we put a Christmas tree inside our houses.
It was a real treat to be part of this most important celebration in Vietnamese culture.