Friday, February 27, 2015

Celebrating Tet in Hanoi

We spent our Chinese New Year holidays of 2015 in Vietnam and Laos. Vietnam also celebrates the lunar new year, known as Tet, so this means some shops and sites are closed down (thus a sort of wacky schedule on our part, going from Hanoi to Halong Bay to Laos before returning to spend time in Hanoi). But, it also means it is a time of celebration and a chance to observe local holiday practices.

It was enjoyable strolling around the old town and lake, watching the crowds enjoying their New Year's eve out together.
Families and friends gathering by the lake for company and fireworks 
Sitting together enjoying snacks and drinks
Old buddies relaxing

Altar to ancestors, with offerings
Most stores had their own altars
Our neighborhood temple
Honoring the ancestors with burnt offerings (joss paper)

We were invited back to the sister property of our hotel (Oriental Central), where we had eaten a quick dinner, to watch the fireworks with staff and some customers on their rooftop deck. They had chairs all set up and free snacks and beer...a nice welcome to town! It was a bit smoggy, but still festive.

An elaborate altar at someone's home, viewed from above (most homes also have a Tet tree and certain flowers, plants and fruit for luck, prosperity, etc.)
Happy New Year!

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