Hoi An Tops List of Seven Lantern Festivals

Hoi An Lantern Festival is the only monthly event on this list of AFAR Media, besides popular names like Thailand and Japan.
November 17, 2022 | 14:32
Hoi An Tops List of Seven Lantern Festivals
Colorful floating lanterns are also a distinct feature of Hoi An, which hosts the lantern festival on the 14th day of each lunar month, when all electric lights of the town are switched off. Dreamstime

From a floating lantern festival in Hawai‘i to Vietnam’s monthly full moon festival, AFAR Media has selected seven radiant lantern celebrations around the world.

Top of the list is Full Moon Lantern Festival in Hoi An town of Vietnam. In Hoi An, the Full Moon Lantern Festival is held on the 14th day of the lunar calendar every month to celebrate the full moon.

In Buddhist tradition, the full moon is considered an ideal time to meditate, reflect, observe rituals, and honor deceased ancestors. At sundown, homes and businesses across the city turn off their electricity and allow lantern lights to illuminate the area.

Hoi An Tops List of Seven Lantern Festivals
Locals and visitors can release lanterns onto the river, an act that is thought to bring happiness and health. Photo: Kobby Dagan/Shutterstock

Besides the lanterns hanging along the old town, releasing lanterns is also an exciting activity not to be missed. Meant to wish for peace, happiness, and good luck, floating lanterns are a popular activity among visitors to this ancient town. The flickering light drifts on a section of the Thu Bon River carrying wishes of peace and luck, becoming a symbol of the land of Quang.

The craft of making lanterns in Hoi An probably appeared at the same time as the town was at its most developed, around the 15th century. Usually made from a bamboo frame and Vietnamese silk, lanterns come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors.

According to VNA, Hoi An has about 40 lantern-making workshops, creating jobs for many local people. Its lanterns have also been exported to many countries worldwide and become a unique souvenir for tourists.

Nowadays, tourists can visit lantern makers and learn all of the stages of making unique products that are made with the talent and ingenuity of local craftsmen.

Through these cultural features, visitors will also have a chance to understand more about the artistic beauty and beliefs of the people in the province.

The ancient city of Hoi An in Quang Nam central province and Wernigerode, its twin town in Germany, will host the third ‘lantern festival’ in Wernigerode on August 27, 2023.

Hoi An Tops List of Seven Lantern Festivals
Hoi An is renowned for its beautiful ancient town decorated with a colourful array of hanging lanterns.

Not only the lantern festival in Hoi An, AFAR also lists impressive lantern festivals around the world such as the Spring Lantern Festival in Hong Kong (China) or the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival in Taiwan (China), and Nagasaki Lantern Festival of Japan. This is an opportunity for visitors to experience the Lunar New Year in Asian culture.

In this list, Thailand is also mentioned twice with the Yi Peng sky lantern festival in Chiang Mai taking place on the “full moon day” of the 12th lunar month according to the Thai calendar. In the past, this festival carried many religious meanings, but now it has become the most popular tourist attraction in the land of the Golden Temple.

Loi Krathong held at the same time as the Chiang Mai sky lantern festival in Thailand is also on this list. However, this festival features traditional Krathong baskets made of banana leaves, filled with candles and traditional incense being released into the river.

In addition, the Nagasaki Lantern Festival (Japan) is also a destination not to be missed every spring. In addition to lanterns, here, visitors can also admire lion dance performances, street parades in Nagasaki Prefecture.

The Lantern Festival in Oahu (Hawaii, USA) is the only name on the list that is not from Asia. This activity is within the framework of the memorial ceremony to honor and remember the deceased loved ones of the indigenous people here.

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