Photos and text: Cong Dat
Hang Luoc Flower Market takes place over seven days, starting from the 23rd day of the last lunar month of the year. This is a traditional flower market, one of the most significant cultural activities in Hanoi at Tet.
Hang Luoc Flower Market has existed for more than 500 years. In the early days, people from the edge of the Imperial City gathered along To Lich riverside to purchase flowers and decorative plants. That lawn has become Dong Xuan market and today the flower market has moved a little north. In 1893 the portion of the river inside the city was completely covered, however the name Song To Lich (To Lich River) town remained. That street is also called Hang Luoc since it was famous for inhabitants who made combs (luoc).
Although there weren’t many kinds of flowers during Tet in the past, people could still choose from peach, kumquat, chrysanthemum, gladiolus, dahlia, violet, narcissus, and gerbera.
Nowadays, flowers of various types and colors are gathered from the flower villages surrounding Hanoi including Tu Lien, Quang Ba, Nhat Tan, Phu Thuong. Blooms also come from other parts of the country such as Hai Phong, Nam Dinh, Ho Chi Minh City, and Dalat.
Recently, flowers have been exported overseas and sold to Vietnamese living abroad. Along with flowers grown domestically such as peach, kumquat, and apricot blossom, imported flowers have gradually gained popularity.
The flower market is an ideal rendezvous spot. Some people attend all seven days, not to purchase anything but to enjoy the crowded spring atmosphere.
During the days right before Tet, no matter how busy Hanoians are, they try to attend the flower market to catch the early spirit of spring, meet each other, and enjoy the beauty of the blossoms. People find elegance in their hobby of flowers and plants. They might not buy nor sell, but simply attend the flower market to find joy in the colorful surroundings. In Hanoi, a tradition of flower lovers is celebrated during Tet when spring has come.
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