Ho Chi Minh City gears up for 2008 Tet festival
The 2008 Vietnam Tet festival, which is two weeks away, is a special occasion for residents and international travelers to experience Ho Chi Minh City in a completely different light.
The Ho Chi Minh City government has assigned the Saigontourist Holding Company to organize the city’s New Year’s festivities.
According to the organizer, all preparations for the festival have been completed. With VND15bil in sponsorships, including VND2bil dedicated to charitable purposes, the organizer promises to make the Tet festival a fun affair for all.
“We want everyone to associate Flower Street and the other Tet festivities planned with Ho Chi Minh City,” said Tran Hung Viet, deputy general director of Saigontourist. Last year, around 700,000 visitors visited Flower Street. This year, organizers expect an even larger turnout due to the extension of the display and more festivities planned around the area.
The following events are planned for the 2008 Tet Festival:
Flower Street Opening Ceremony
Nguyen Hue Flower Street will officially open to the public on February 5 at 7 p.m. To mark the occasion, an opening ceremony featuring a music program will begin at 8:30 p.m on Le Loi Street. At the ceremony, the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee will present certificates of merit to the festival’s major sponsors.
Nguyen Hue Flower Street will be open to the public for five days and six nights during the Lunar New Year beginning on February 5 at 7 p.m. and ending on February 10 at 10 p.m.
The flowers will extend from Nguyen Hue Boulevard to the Municipal Theatre and the intersection of Le Loi Boulevard and Pasteur Street. Organizers have also planned shows on Nguyen Hue Boulevard featuring 100 artists, circus performers and clowns. Coffee and drink kiosks will also be set up on the sidewalks to serve visitors.
Organizers will use over 100,000 flower pots, 55 types of flowers, 60 potted blossoms, music and symbolic animals to decorate the street. They have also invited artists from distant provinces to showcase their pictures and porcelain pottery products on the street. Visitors will be able to buy Flower Street souvenirs including key chains, handbags and T-shirts.
Banh Tet Festival
A special ceremony to reveal two 3.5 ton banh tet cakes (Vietnamese savory cake made from sticky rice, mung bean paste and pork) to the public will take place on February 10 from 7:30-9 p.m. at the traffic roundabout on Le Loi Street near Ben Thanh Market.
According to organizers, the site on Le Loi Street is large enough to hold thousands of people. The event will feature modern and traditional musical performances and will be broadcasted on the Ho Chi Minh City television channel. After the ceremony, Saigontourist staffers donned in ao ba ba (traditional clothing of the Southern people) will serve banh tet to attendees.
New Year’s Eve Concert
A special music program featuring a laser light performance and a countdown to the New Year will be broadcasted live on the Ho Chi Minh City television channel on February 6.
At the stroke of midnight on February 6, fireworks will be set-off at several locations throughout the city including the Ho Chi Minh Museum in District 4, Binh Hung Hoa B Ward in Binh Tan District, Binh Phu Park in District 6, the football field in Can Gio District and the Ben Duoc Revolutionary Martyrs Commemoration Temple in Cu Chi District and Saigon Hi-Tech Park in District 9.
Lights decorating the city’s four major thoroughfares - Nguyen Hue, Le Loi, Dong Khoi and Le Duan in District 1 - will be on display from January 26 to February 14.
Saigontourist subsidiaries located in downtown of Ho Chi Minh City will decorate the facades of their offices to add to the city’s festive ambiance. The company is recruiting other companies to participate in decorating as well.