Bringing Hoi An Lanterns To The World
Hoi An Ancient Town still maintains its unique beauty that can be found in every corner. Visitors can enjoy the warm welcome from the locals, the natural scenery, stunning beaches, architecture, and fine cuisine here. From the 1980s to the present, Hoi An has grown to be a popular tourist destination, with Hoi An lanterns being a highlight of this mesmerizing town.
|Catherine, an Australian female tourist, was fascinated by Hoi An lanterns. Photo: Hoang Bin
According to the world's leading tourism information site Tripadvisor, learning to make lanterns in Hoi An is one of the 10 most attractive experiences for tourists when coming to Vietnam in 2023. The list is based on feedback from tourists who have experienced it.
Catherine is an Australian tourist who traveled alone to Hoi An. According to the schedule, after 2 days in Hoi An, she would go to Cambodia with her friends, but a new activity made Catherine decide to stay in Hoi An for another week.
Before leaving the place, the tour guide introduced her to the process of making handmade lanterns, from sharpening bamboo slats, shaping the frame, cutting fabric, applying glue, and gluing the lantern. During the following week, Catherine regularly came to Hoi An's oldest lantern manufacturing facility, which was owned by artisan Huynh Van Ba, to make products by hand according to her imagination.
|Foreign tourists making their lanterns. Photo: Hoi An
The artisan shared that Catherine is one of many tourists who are fascinated and captivated by the charm of Hoi An traditional lanterns.
From the excitement and passion of tourists with lanterns, Hoi An has instructed them to make lanterns of their own. Many tourists, after experiencing it, choose to stay a few more days to complete their work, bringing it back home as a gift from Hoi An.
A well-known monthly cultural event in the Ancient Town is the Hoi An Lantern Festival (also known as Hoi An Full Moon Festival, Hoi An Full Moon Lantern Festival, or Hoi An Light Festival). It celebrates the full moon on the 14th day of the lunar month. On these occasions, all shops, restaurants, and homes will turn off their lights. The locals will decorate their facades with lanterns of different shapes, sizes, and colors.
|Lanterns are a common product of traditional craft villages throughout Vietnam, especially in Hoi An. Photo: Hoi An
The locals light the lanterns to wish for good fortune, wealth, joy, health, and fair weather. People also release lanterns on the river and make wishes.
Lanterns bring Hoi An's image to the world
Lanterns are a common product of traditional craft villages throughout Vietnam, especially in Hoi An. Hoi An lanterns can be found in restaurants, festivals, and homes, mainly during the traditional Tet Holiday or Mid-Autumn Festival.
Hoi An lantern symbolizes "shining." Quang Nam’s people consider light to be a symbol of humans. Therefore, offering lanterns at a shrine also means praying for the gods' protection.
In addition, Hoi An lanterns have different meanings depending on their hue. For instance, red lanterns represent fortune and wealth.
Hoi An lanterns come in a wide variety of shapes and styles. Each lantern is meticulously handcrafted, showing the local artisans' great care for this traditional product.
|Hoi An lanterns come in a wide variety of shapes and styles. Photo: Vinpearl
To make Hoi An lanterns, the artisan must be skilled and the material, which is bamboo, must be carefully chosen. The artisan cooks the bamboo, soaks it in salt water for ten days, and dries and chamers it into lanterns of different shapes and sizes. A cloth is used to cover a Hoi An lantern, which color is also the color of the lantern's light.
Besides training classes for tourists, Hoi An authorities have also promoted and brought handmade lanterns to the world through cultural exchange. Nguyen Van Son - Chairman of Hoi An City People's Committee said that 2023 is the third time the Hoi An lantern festival will be held in Wernigerode City (Saxony-Anhalt state, Federal Republic of Germany) to celebrate the 10th anniversary between the two cities.
During the 3 days of the festival, the houses, shops, and central square of Wernigerode City are lit up by hundreds of exquisite handcrafted lanterns from Hoi An.
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