Thousands of HCM City residents and visitors flocked to Tet festivities on Nguyen Hue Flower Street which opened Feb. 11.

Hanoi is also a blaze of colour as imaginative floral decorations draw gasps of appreciation from locals and visitors.

In HCM City , the theme this year is Xuan binh minh (Dawn of Spring). In past years it has had themes such as Hoi nhap and phat trien (Integration and development) and Tren duong hoi nhap (On the way to integration).

The HCM City People’s Committee said this year’s theme reflects the country’s yearning to recover from the global economic slowdown and conveys the hope for an improved situation.

Nguyen Thanh Tai, Deputy Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee launched the street of flowers alongside other city leaders, including Committee Chairman Le Hoang Quan, People’s Council Chairwoman Pham Phuong Thao and Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Vinh Ai.

“We’ve made achievements in the last two years by launching stimulus policies like interest subsidisation to counter the economic downturn,” Quan told the Vietnam News, adding that the city had gained valuable experiences through the harsh times.

He pointed to a steady quarter-on-quarter growth as evidence of the city emerging from the downturn, noting that it enjoyed a growth rate of 7.5 percent in the first month of this year compared to last January’s negative growth.

The street is divided into six areas – Vang thai duong (The Sun) near Uncle Ho’s statue; Xuan yeu thuong (Spring with Love and Compassion) from Cay Lieu roundabout to Mac Thi Buoi street: Binh Minh hoi tu (Converging Dawn) from opposite Sunwah Tower; Suc manh doan ket (Strength of solidarity) from Huynh Thuc Khang street to Ngo Duc Ke street; Goc que huong (Country’s angle) from Ngo Duc Ke street to Hai Trieu street: and Huong ve Thang Long – Hanoi (Towards Thang Long-Hanoi) from Hai Trieu street to Ton Duc Thang street.

Each of the areas is specially decorated with flowers and a montage comprising models of ancient houses, rickshaws, and traditional objects made of bamboo, wooden, mangrove, stone and so on.

The highlighting is the Huong ve Thang Long-Hanoi area, which is decorated with kettledrums and thousands of varieties of flowers and aims to convey the best wishes of the entire nation for the 1,000 th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi.

Durand, a French tourist who is visiting Vietnam for the first time, said she had never seen so many flowers like this before.

A visitor from the US , Casey Sharer, who is married to a Vietnamese woman, said HCM City ’s flower streets, especially Nguyen Hue, were extremely crowded but he loved the exciting Tet atmosphere here.

Since Tet, which falls on Feb. 14 this year, coincides with Valentine’s Day, organisers have put up many heart-shaped and shoe-shaped symbols of love made from thousands of flowers.

According to the organisers, the street is covered in more than 7,200 sq.m of fresh flowers of around 130,000 kinds, including more than 1,000 varieties of orchids.

An important change this year is that the flowers have been put at a height so that people can see them even when it is very crowded.

Chiem Thanh Liem, chief of organiser of the flower display – which is managing the street –said the city had learnt from past experience when crowds prevented people from seeing the flowers.

Nguyen Thanh Tai, deputy chairman of the city People’s Committee and chief organiser of Tet festivities this year, said the city hoped to create a meaningful Tet atmosphere for locals, Viet Kieu (overseas Vietnamese) and foreign visitors.
This year, Nguyen Hue street would remain bedecked in flowers for a seventh day rather than the usual six. No vehicles would be allowed on it during this period, according to Tran Hung Viet, deputy general director of Saigon Tourist.

Under the city People’s Committee’s management, Nguyen Hue Flower street was presided by Saigon Tourist, designed by the HCM City Architecture University and created by Binh Quoi Tourism village, Tree and Park Company and the HCM City Public Lighting Company./.