HCM CITY The city is preparing for a colourful Tet holiday, with a sea of flowers along Nguyen Hue Avenue and streets illuminated with flower lanterns.
Activities including a glutious rice cake cooking contest and shows of traditional arts staged in front of decorated buildings as well as a fireworks displays at several locations, are all part of the preparations.
The street festival, organised by Saigontourist under the city s People s Committee s directions, is in its sixth consecutive year.
The street of flowers on Nguyen Hue Avenue, which is one of the city s most beautiful avenues running from City Hall to the bank of the Sai Gon River, draws droves of local revellers during the biggest festival of the year.
The avenue continues to be a highlight of celebrations this Lunar New Year under the theme Spring of Dawn, which reflects a bright outlook for the city coming out of the economic downturn.
The Flower Street is divided into six sections according to six different sub-themes, including the Sun, Spring of Love, Convergence of Dawn, Strength of Unity, A Countryside Corner and A Tribute to Ha Noi.
Various flowers and materials, including traditional yellow ochre flowers, orchids, chrysanthemums, bamboo and mangrove trees, will be modelled and arranged in shapes like hills, waves, forests and giant flowers along the avenue.
Highlights of the street will be sections called the Tiger, the horoscope icon of the year; Love in celebration of Valentine s Day which falls on the first day of the Lunar New Year; and Ha Noi which marks its 1,000th anniversary in October.
Images of tigers, hearts and dragons, the symbol of Ha Noi, will be represented throughout the street.
The Flower Street will be opened to the public from February 11 to 17, or until the fourth day of the Lunar New Year, and will be closed to traffic during that time.
Dong Khoi and Le Loi streets will be decorated and illuminated with lanterns in the shape of ochre flowers and cherry blossoms, while the welcoming gates at the ends of the streets will feature tigers and scenes of traditional Tet celebrations.
Door or window shows of traditional arts including puppetry, cong chieng (gongs), hat boi (classical opera), dragon and kylin dances, traditional music, children s clarinets, and men walking on stilts will take place in front of hotels and malls on Nguyen Hue, Le Loi and Dong Khoi streets.
The shows will be organised in procession along the streets before reaching locations for performances until the third day of the Lunar New Year.
All the city districts will send their entries to a banh tet (cylindrical glutinous rice cake) cooking contest which takes place on February 7 at Dam Sen Cultural Park.
Winners in the contest will go on to make special cakes to offer to national ancestors at the Temple of Hung Kings in District 9, while 10,000 banh tet will be donated to disadvantaged children in shelters and open houses across the city.
On the eve of the Lunar New Year, fireworks will be displayed at seven locations across the city, including District 2 s Thu Thiem Tunnel, District 6 s Binh Phu Park, Go Vap District s Cultural Park, Binh Tan District s Tan Binh Industrial Park, District 9 s Historic and Cultural Park, Cu Chi District s Temple of War Martyrs and Can Gio District Stadium. VNS