Thousands flock to flower festival

Thousands of people flocked to the biggest flower festival ever held in the capital city.
Thousands of people flocked to the biggest flower festival ever held in the capital city, which opened on the night of Dec. 30 in front of Ly Thai To Statue next to Hoan Kiem Lake.

The four-day festival, titled Rendezvous of Streets and Flowers, is being organised along Dinh Tien Hoang Street and around the lake.
Artisans from around the nation were called in to complete the display for the New Year.

The display, the third of its kind, focuses on the country's cultural heritage.

"It's an ideal occasion to entertain people, promote tourism and honour the country's heritage sites," said Nguyen Khac Loi, deputy director of the municipal Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism, which organises the event.

The festival features four big flowers scenes.

Highlight of the festival is the work The Legend of Vietnam, featuring a dragon-phoenix couple illustrating the story of Lac Long Quan and Au Co, the legendary creators of the Vietnamese people.

The work was designed by artisan Manh Hung, who won a gold cup for his displays at the Festival Gardening World Cup in Japan this year.

Another highlight, Song Lan Mo Hoi (Two Unicorns Inaugurating the Festival) sits in front of the statue. It is made of various kinds of fruit found in the south of Vietnam .

The festival also recreates images of some of the nation's heritage, including the Old Quarter of Hoi An with its lanterns and its Chua Cau (Japanese bridge), one of the oldest bridges in Vietnam .

The northern countryside is represented with flowery villages where “quan ho” (folk songs of Bac Ninh province) is performed, flower vendors and “ao dai” (the traditional dress of Vietnamese women).

The beauty of Hanoi will be recaptured with a giant flower work titled Xe Dap Hoa, featuring bicycles carrying flowers in the early morning on Thanh Nien Road by the side of the West Lake .

To prevent the damage and chaos seen from previous years, the displays will not be in the centre of the road but along the footpaths. This will also allow a freer flow of pedestrians who last year jammed the street and trampled the flower beds.

Young and old people have been visiting Dinh Tien Hoang Street for the past two days to contemplate the artwork and take photos. Some even brought laptops to make videos.

"I am so happy to be in Hanoi at this time and proud of the city during such festivals," said student Nguyen Thi Hoa, singing an old song about the capital.

The festival also features traditional music such as “ca tru” (ceremonial singing), “cheo” (traditional opera), “cai luong” (renovated opera), dragon dances and folk games together with a flower arranging competition.

The Dutch Embassy in Vietnam , which is sponsoring the event, provided 4,625 pots of lilies for the event.

The Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism has worked with the police to prevent traffic jams during the festival. Security will be tightened to prevent people from plucking flowers like in previous years.

The 90-minute opening ceremony was broadcast live on the Hanoi television last night. The festival will end on January 2 with an art performance entitled Hon Sen Viet (Vietnamese Lotus Soul). /.

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