It’s time of the year when everyone is talking about the upcoming new year and their plan and the Spring Flower Market in Hanoi this year! You might be thinking “what new year? It’s already January!”, but in Vietnam, their main calendar evolves around a slightly different system called Lunar calendar. Originally from Chinese influence, use of Lunar calendar is still common in some Asian countries like Vietnam and Korea.
With Lunar calendar, the dates are different from the calendar used in most other countries. So Lunar New Year is the first day of the year according to Lunar calendar and it is on 25th January 2020 for this year.
In Vietnam, Lunar New Year is called Tết and is the biggest annual event. It is a festive time of family gathering and joyful celebration of bidding farewell to the past year and welcoming a brand new year ahead. It is a custom for everyone to go back to their hometowns, visit their family and relatives and visit temples.
There are few symbolic things one could think of when it’s Tet and they are bánh chưng and colourful flowers!
Banh chung is a delicacy specially prepared for this time of the year. The main ingredients are sticky rice, pork and mung beans. The preparation requires great amount of work and time as well as lots of love. You’ll be able to see banh chung cake decorations all around the country and also see shops selling this for the annual festival.
Then the flowers are another quintessential of Tet holiday season. Flowers have lots of meaningful importance for Tet and mostly related to wealth and prosperity. Wealth and prosperity are considered valuable for this celebration as it is the beginning of a new year full of hopeful wishes for themselves as well as their beloved ones.
There are different types of lucky flowers depending on the region – due to climate and / or regional differences. But in Hanoi or northern Vietnam, peach blossoms, apricot blossoms and kumquat trees are very commonly seen everywhere. If you’re interested in different types of flowers for Tet festival, check out this article covering it in details.
Quang Ba Flower Market
One of the biggest and local markets in Hanoi is Quang Ba flower market. This flower market is a main hub for florists as well as pretty much anyone looking to buy beautiful flowers. Even outside of Tet holiday season, flowers play a crucial role in Vietnamese people’s lives because it’s common to buy flowers to offer at temples and home altars for ancestors.
Quang Ba market is the most active and bustling with people early in the morning around 5-6AM, which is the best time for you to visit if you want to capture the liveliest moment.
Hoa Xuan Market – Spring Flower Market
This year, Hoan Kiem district (in charge of Old Quarter region of Hanoi) is organising a special Spring Flower market in preparation for Tet festival. They’re going to block few of the streets in the centre of Old Quarter to open a walking street for flower market available for locals to shop for their Tet flowers and also attract foreign visitors to join the Tet holiday atmosphere.
It is a great opportunity for travellers to grasp a glimpse of local life and cultural insight and especially great for experiencing the extra hyped up vibe during Tet festival preparation.
The Vietnamese name for this market is Chợ Hoa Xuân meaning Spring Flower Market and the market is open from 9th January until 8pm on 24th January. The market is taking place on 5 different streets – Hàng Lược, Hàng Rươi, Hàng Khoai, Hàng Mã and Phùng Hưng – and these streets will be preserved for pedestrians only in order to ensure a more pleasant market experience.
Hang Ma street is the main street selling festive goods and decorations and Phung Hung street is where the mural painting street is. And the three other streets are streets connected to Hang Ma or Phung Hung.
If you’re a culture-lover and curious about Vietnamese culture, it’ll be an amazing experience. It’s even better since the district office blocked the market for walking street, so if you’re here in Hanoi during this time, go visit the market and join the locals!
Also, if you’re looking for ideas and guide on how to make the most out of your stay in Hanoi, you can check out my article on 1 – 3 day itinerary in Hanoi with places to eat and visit!