Almost 3 million locals and foreigners flocked to Hoan Kiem Lake to join a flower festival, the 2nd of its kind in Hanoi , which was held from Dec. 30 to Jan. 3.

Not only an event to welcome the New Year, the festival was also one of 80 events to be organised by the Culture, Sports and Tourism Department to celebrate the millennium anniversary of Hanoi in 2010.

The festival ended on the evening of Jan. 3, with a tea offering ceremony in front of the statue of King Ly Thai To. Artisans presented know-how to embalm tea with lotus fragrance, infuse and enjoy tea of different kinds.

The closing ceremony was of more significance as visitors had a chance to enjoy traditional folk songs from Kinh Bac (now Bac Ninh province) – the native land of King Ly Thai To who founded the capital city of Thang Long a thousand years ago.

Organisers said three new Vietnam Guinness Records, which were put on show at the festival, were recognised.

The records were granted for the longest train on an ao dai (traditional dress), the biggest rattan vase of lotus flowers and the biggest shell-inlaid wooden block presenting a royal proclamation by King Ly Thai To.

While flower designer Nguyen Manh Hung used up to 1,000 flowers to form the 10m-long train on the traditional dress, artisan Nguyen Phuong Quang from Hanoi ’s Chuong My district spent more than two years on the 6.5m-high rattan vase.

The 1.9m high and 1.3m-wide royal proclamation was completed by veteran artisan Tran Ba Nam from Hanoi ’s Phu Xuyen village, who spent three years on the work.

The royal proclamation made by King Ly in 1010 states that the country’s capital will be relocated from Hoa Lu (in Ninh Binh province) to Thang Long (the former name of Hanoi ).

During the five-day event, visitors were enabled to see some of Hanoi ’s typical images, including the Temple of Literature and Long Bien Bridge . Replicas of these works were created from flowers and displayed at the festival.

At the festival, visitors saw a 6m-high tower with nine dragons curving around and up, created from flowers and fruits, which represents 215 years of power of the Ly dynasty.

A tulip carpet, created from 22,000 tulips donated by the Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, Gerda Verburg, attracted many visitors.

A flower show, entitled One Thousand Years of Thang Long – One Thousand Flowers Bloom took place on Dec. 31 at the festival. The contest gathered competitors from 29 districts in the city./.