Although the Mid-Autumn Festival is still half a month from now, thousands of local and foreign tourists are rushing to the lantern quarter on Luong Nhu Hoc and Phu Dinh streets in HCMC’s District 5 during the weekend to admire the beauty of sparkling lanterns in different shapes and vibrant colors, pose for stunning photos and immerse themselves in the joyful and jubilant atmosphere.
Nestled in the heart of Cholon area where many Vietnamese of Chinese descent reside, the long-established lantern street has been seen as a special cultural trait not only for the Chinese community in Saigon but also local youths and those from abroad on every occasion of the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Numerous households in the quarter sell their own products of traditional paper lanterns aside from electronic lanterns produced by China.
According to some lantern shop owners on Phu Dinh Street, this street is often overcrowded with visitors on two weekend nights as young people, couples and parents with their kids go there to browse for colorful lanterns of diverse types, shapes and sizes.
It is expected that the quarter will be even more bustling at the festival, which falls on October 4 or the 15th day of the eighth lunar month.
Tu Gia Minh, who has sold lanterns on Phu Dinh Street for more than 15 years, explained to the Daily that although there are large numbers of visitors to the street, only a few of them are actually buying lanterns while others come to enjoy the atmosphere and take photos.
The trading activity has been on the downtrend and is no longer as prosperous as its heyday about five to seven years ago, he added.
Hue Man, a 22-year-old Chinese-Vietnamese girl who is running a lantern stall on Phu Dinh Street, said lantern prices this year have seen a slight rise, ranging from VND60,000 to VND150,000 each lantern, adding that what makes her worry most is the unfavorable weather conditions these days with sudden rains on weekend nights as this is the best time for business.
Meanwhile, Hoang Hai Hung, a 34-year-old blue-collar worker residing in HCMC’s District 11, said the lantern street in District 5 has become an integral part of Saigonese every Mid-Autumn Festival.
However, the district authorities should take measures to ensure traffic safety and order, and create convenience for locals and foreign tourists to come to visit the lantern street.
Along with famous tourist sites such as Thien Hau Pagoda, Soai Kinh Lam Market, and Binh Tay Market in Cholon area, the lantern street in the heart of District 5 has helped create unique cultural traits of the Chinese Vietnamese community in Saigon that are still preserved for decades.
The lantern quarter surrounded by Luong Nhu Hoc and Phu Dinh streets in HCMC’s District 5 attracts many tourists on weekend days
A little girl poses for a photo with sparkling lanterns
Colorful lanters in different shapes and colors are sold from VND60,000 to VND150,000 each
Visitors are seen browsing for colorful lanterns
A foreign tourist uses his smartphone to capture the stunning lanterns