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Traditional customs for Tet in Hanoi Old Quarter

Traditional cultural activities will be hosted by the Dinh Lang Viet (Vietnamese Communal House) group and the Hanoi Old Quarter management board on January 18 in downtown Hanoi.

The one-day Tet Viet (Vietnamese lunar new year) event will include the erection of a cay neu (tall bamboo pole) and folk-art performance at the entrance of Ngoc Son Temple in Hoan Kiem Lake, Dinh Tien Hoang street.

The bamboo pole will be stripped of its leaves, except for a tuft at the top. Symbolic objects including bows, arrows, bells, gongs and other leaves to ward off evil spirits will be hung on the tree with the hope that the bad luck of the previous year will be chased away, and everyone has a happy new year.

Traditional singing will be on show at Kim Ngan Communal House in Hang Bac street, together with a display of folk art, like Dong Ho and Kim Hoang painting genres.

At a nearby ancient house on 87 Ma May street, artisans will make banh chung (square sticky rice dumplings), draw calligraphy and practise the lunar year-end worship ceremony.

At the Centre for Cultural Exchange in 57 Dao Duy Tu street, members of the group and visitors will exchange and perform music and singing.

Tet Viet, which has been hosted by the group every year since 2016 in So Village in Quoc Oai district, Le Mat village in Long Bien, has drawn thousands of participants and has been highly appreciated by cultural workers and tourists.

The Dinh Lang Viet (Vietnamese Communal Houses) group gathers dozens of people from all walks of life who are keen on preserving the ancient values of communal houses.

This year, the group chose to host the event at Hanoi’s Old Quarter as a cultural event to celebrate the 1,010th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi (1010-2020) to commemorate ancestors who built the capital, according to the group’s head Nguyen Duc Binh.

“We hope to draw many tourists so they can learn about traditional Vietnamese customs during the lunar new year,” he said.

Entrance is free to all activities, yet the group welcomes financial contributions from individuals and agencies. All its members are encouraged to wear traditional long dress at the event.