Happy New Year! Today is New Year’s Day for people that celebrate the Lunar New Year.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be in Asia for the Lunar New Year? I had always wanted to see a Lunar New Year Celebration in the Far East and I finally had that opportunity in 2018.
There are many activities that are part of the Lunar New Year Celebration in Vietnam and I do not intend to try to explain them in this post. This is the first of 3 posts that I will have this week on the celebrations of the Lunar New Year in Vietnam. These posts will be dedicated to only the activities that are seen in the public and will not discuss all of the activities that are done at home by the families.
Probably the only thing that most people know about the Lunar Year is that each year is represented by a Zodiac Animal. There are 12 different Zodiac Animals in the Vietnamese Calendar and these animals cycle over a 12 year period. The Vietnamese animals are similar to the Chinese animals but are slightly different. The Vietnamese calendar use a Cat instead of the Chinese Rabbit.
The focus of this post is the celebration that is exhibited on Nguyen Hue Street in Ho Chi Minh City. Nguyen Hue Street has a large divided section between the traffic lanes and it is utilized as a walking street. Each year before the Lunar New Year the walking area is decorated for the New Year Celebration and the primary focus is the year’s zodiac animal. In 2018 the animal was the dog.
The walking area is turned into a sidewalk park with lots of flowers, lanterns, cultural decorations and of course Dogs. Lots of dogs! The photo below gives an idea of the layout of the celebration but don’t expect to see it like this photo unless you are there right at sunrise the on New Year’s Eve. I was actually there well before sunrise and there were already many people there waiting for the gates to be open to the public.
Dogs, dogs, dogs! The main focus was the year of the dog and a majority of the displays were dog related. It was amazing to see the creative designs and beautiful colors on the dogs. The following set of photos show many of the displays that included dogs.
Of course, there were lots of other displays that did not involve dogs. Almost all of the designs included flowers and many of them were influenced by the Vietnamese culture. Some of these displays are shown in the next set of photos.
All of the decorations were beautiful in the day and at night but I wanted to show a couple of displays that give a view of the difference between how they look in the daytime and at night.
The main event was New Year’s Eve celebration and the fireworks show that started at midnight and lasted for around 30 minutes. Nguyen Hue Street and all of the area along the Saigon River were packed with people for the New Year’s Eve celebration. It was definitely standing room only but the atmosphere was a very family event. Many families spent the evening wandering along Nguyen Hue Street looking at the displays and taking pictures and everyone stayed until the last firework had ended. A few of the photos in the following set shows the crowds that came to celebrate New Year’s Eve at Nguyen Hue Street and they also show the family environment of the celebration.
My final set of photos show just a few pre-dawn pictures of the walking area before it was opened to the public and my last photo is one of the most colorful displays when it was lit up at night.
I hope this post give you an idea of one of the activities that happens during the Lunar New Year Celebration in Ho Chi Minh City. If you are ever lucky enough to visit Vietnam during the Lunar New Year Celebration then seeing the Nguyen Hue Street decorations and being at Nguyen Hue Street for the New Year’s Eve Celebration are must do activities.