Tet Nguyen Tieu Festival in Hoi An

By MINH HAI - KIM BAO |

(QNO) - On the morning of the 23rd February 2016 (the Monkey year), thousands of people gathered in Hoi An Ancient Quarter under the light rain to welcome Tet Nguyen Tieu festival (first full moon of the Lunar New Year festival).

Pagodas and temples are crowded with people
Pagodas and temples are crowded with people

In Chinese, Nguyen means “the first” and Tieu means “night”. Nguyen Tieu is the 15th night of the first lunar month. Most of the Vietnamese people believe that the first full moon night  of the Lunar New Year is the most important among all the fullmoons throughout the year.  On this day, they go to the pagodas  or temples to pray for  sound minds,  lucks, good health and prosperity to their family and friends. 

Thurifers at a pagoda.
Thurifers at a pagoda.

Beside Lunar New Year festival, Tet Nguyen Tieu is a good opportunity for foreigners to experience Vietnamese spiritual culture.  Although this festival originates from China, it has been adopted in Vietnamese culture and plays a significant role in their cultural and religious lives. Therefore, Nguyen Tieu Festival is one of the important annual events of Hoi An city’s residents, particularly  the Chinese community …

Respectful prayers
Respectful prayers

During the festival this year, many traditional cultural and artistic activities such as Vietnamese poem recital, lantern festival, lion dance, lucky lottery games… took place. They made an exciting atmosphere, quite different from the usual tranquility of Hoi An ancient town, and give tourists interesting experiences of a Vietnamese multiform culture.

Receiving gifts from the Gods
Receiving gifts from the Gods

At night, visitors enjoy walking crowded streets under the light of colourful lanterns, join in the traditional games and enjoy street musical performances.

Touching the holy horse's legs to pray for health
Touching the holy horse's legs to pray for health
Buying
Buying "manna"
Praying and buying “gold” for luck
Praying and buying “gold” for luck
Picking
Picking "gifts from the God"

The Legend of  Tet Nguyen Tieu

Once upon a time, there was a swan flying to the earth from the heaven .  Unluckily it was killed by a hunter . The Jade Emperor was very angry and decided to punish all people on the earth. He ordered his soldiers to burn down everything on the earth on every January 15th of the lunar year.

Luckily, some Gods did not agree with the Jade Emperor’s merciless decision. They secretly helped  the earth get out of the danger by lanterns and fireworks to deceive the Jade Emperor. Since then , the   15th day of the first  lunar month has  become Tet Nguyen Tieu festival with the custom of hanging lanterns, hence Lantern festival. During the festival, all the family’s members get together to offer incense to ancestors  and  pray  for a better life, lucks and good health…

By MINH HAI - KIM BAO