Hoi An Lantern Festival: Vietnam Full Moon Festival Guide

Hoi An Lantern Festival is a distinct feature of Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province in Central Vietnam, and held on the 14th day of every lunar month. This is also an opportunity for local and foreign tourists from all over the world to come and admire the unique beauty of the Hoi An Ancient Town. The Lantern Festival in Hoi An is a special event that attracts not only local Vietnamese, but also many foreign tourists, who come to see a more alluring Hoi An when the old town is lit up with many colorful lanterns. This is an unique experience that tourists should not miss out on in their Trip to Hoi An.

Hoi An Lantern Festival

But actually, you can see lantern festival in Hoi An every night now. As all of local houses, souvenir or cloth shops, bars and restaurants, massage and spa places always decorate their fronts with a lot of colourful lantern to make the city more attractive to tourists at day and night time.

1. When is Lantern Festival in Hoi An City held?

Hoi An lantern festival is held on the dates of 14th of every lunar month, time from 6 pm to around 10 pm when the moon is at its fullest and brightest. Many people choose to get there early, often before 6 pm, to enjoy the sunset and dinner in the restaurant or on boat cruise before the glimmering colorful lanterns steal the show. The festival is celebrated in and around the ancient town, particularly in areas near Thu Bồn River, Japanese Covered Bridge, and An Hoi Bridge. On this night, Hoi An Ancient Town becomes beautiful in the magical light of lanterns.

Hoi An Lantern Festival Guide

2. History of Lantern Festival in Hoi An Vietnam.

The lantern festival tradition of Hoi An dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries, when Hoi An City was a bustling trading post in Central Vietnam. The Chinese and Japanese who settled in Hoi An for living and doing business brought many colourful lanterns and hung them in front of their door as a reminder of their homelands.

Hoi An Lantern

As time went by, lantern making became a staple of family businesses, festivities, and celebrations. Vietnamese locals began to hang lanterns out as well, in hopes of bringing good fortune and happiness. The colorful lanterns have eventually been considered a symbol of Hoi An. Around 1988, local authorities made a decision to organize the lantern festival on the full moon day of every month. In particular, residents are encouraged to replace electrical lights with the warm glow of lanterns. Since then, the festival has become one of the most anticipated events for locals and tourists.

3. How does Hoi An Lantern Festival take place?

On the day of the festival, from around 5 pm to 10 pm, all the vehicles in the town are temporarily stopped. Meanwhile, all the houses, restaurants, and cafes turn off their electric lights. The whole neighborhood is bathed in the light of the full moon and thousands of lanterns, creating a magical glow.
Coming here at this time, you can freely wander around and soak in the peaceful ambiance.

Hoi An Full Môn Lantern Festival

This is also the perfect time to enjoy many impressive performances, which are held along the river with music or poetry recitals. Additionally, there are many traditional activities organized, such as folk games. At Hoi An lantern festival, you can not only feast your eyes but also delight your taste buds. A variety of mouth-watering street foods are waiting for you to try.

4. Things to Do and Expect at Hoi An Lantern Festival.

As the name suggests, the biggest feature of this festival is the lanterns. Cute, multi-coloured lanterns are lit with candles and placed on the Thu Bon river with a wish for happiness, luck and love. Below are the top things to do and expect when you visit Hoi An lantern festival:

  • Admire the shimmering beauty of Hoi An at night:

With vehicles and electric lights turned off on the festive day, Hoi An's charming streets are yours to explore. Even if you do not have enough time to see all the attractions, you can still enjoy the magical atmosphere of the town’s biggest celebration by simply wandering around and admiring the hanging lanterns that brighten up Hoi An.

Hoi An Lantern Festival Dates

If Hoi An has amazed you with its tranquil beauty during the day, Hoi An on the festive night will don a different beautiful coat, which will promisingly give you a mind-blowing impression.

  • Take part in many traditional activities:

As you walk through the ancient town, you will see locals playing board games, folk performances, and live music. The music often features beautiful folk singing, poetry recitals, and local instruments such as bamboo flutes, fiddles, and drums.

In addition, during Hoi An lantern festival, Bai choi, a traditional performance that combines music, poetry, and acting, is extremely well-liked. It was listed in UNESCO's intangible heritage list in 2017. The performance includes music and poetry recitals, presenting the pride of the locals in their daily life and work.

Hoi An Lantern Festival Time

In between all the singing, there is a card drawing game that is similar to bingo. You can participate in the game to be deeply immersed in the atmosphere. If not, seeing others play is still enough to feel the festive mood of Hoi An lantern festival.

  • Boat and Release lanterns on poetic Thu Bon River:

At the riverbank, you can buy paper flower lanterns to release them on Hoai River, which is one of the most anticipated activities in Hoi An lantern festival. The flower lanterns here are made of colorful paper, meticulously cut and folded, and cost about 5,000 - 10,000 VND each.

Hoi An Lantern Festival

You can get on a sampan, a traditional wooden boat, to travel along the river and release your lantern on the water. Each lantern, under local belief and custom, represents a wish for happiness, good fortune, and inner peace. The floating lanterns will turn an entire stretch of river into sparkling reflections that flutter in the middle of the night.

Adventure Journey

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Hoi An Lantern Festival: Vietnam Full Moon Festival Guide Hoi An Lantern Festival: Vietnam Full Moon Festival Guide
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