A night of full moon, lanterns and magic!

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Candle lit paper lanterns

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The river is aglow with a myriad tiny paper lanterns and the streets of the old town are lit up with  colourful silk lanterns hanging all over. The night of the lantern festival at Hoi An is a mesmerising, romantic experience!

The smiling full moon up above looks lustreless when Thu Bon river is afloat with hundreds of lanterns. The old town, shimmering and sparkling with the beautiful lanterns, takes your breath away! What a kaleidoscopic view!

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The  kaleidoscopic view across the river

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The river studded with a myriad starry lanterns…

just like looking through a kaleidoscope!

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‘One might swoon/ Drunken with beauty then, or gaze and gaze (like Toru Dutt said) at the delightful place. A stroll around  the dimly lantern lit streets and the riverside pavements is as beautiful an experience as gliding in a dream.

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Enchanting streets of the ancient town Hoi An

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Streets full of many coloured lanterns

 

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Electricity gets shut off on the full moon night and the enchanting lanterns transform the place into a dreamland. Many of the tourists find the age old custom (of honouring the ancestors on the full moon day by floating the paper lanterns) quite fascinating and gather along the river side. Still as the Vietnamese meaning of the name Hoi An suggests, it is a ‘peaceful meeting place’

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The streets after the electric lights are switched off

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The streets bustle with activities of setting altars laden with food, fruits, drinks, incense sticks, betel leaves and so on to honour the ancestors. Some others are busy lighting a fire and burning fake money as an offering to the ancestors so that their blessings bring the living luck and prosperity.

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Offerings for the ancestors on the auspicious day

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Burning fake money

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Tourists get ready to float multicoloured small paper lanterns with a tiny candle inside each. The riverside pavement is thronging with lantern sellers of all ages.

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Little lantern sellers along the riverside

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 Brighter than the lanterns…her beaming smile when we bought the lanterns!

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Gaily O gaily they glide and they shine!

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Small boats are ready to take you so that you can float these lanterns in the river thus bring  happiness and luck. We got into a small boat with three paper lanterns. The experience was so beautiful! The river with shimmering dots of many colours, the soft sound of the wooden oar lapping on the silent waters, the banks on either side lit up with lanterns …it is indeed a sight to marvel at and never to forget!

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A long wooden stick with a round base to float the lantern in the river

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Our boat and three little lanterns ready to glide in the river

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Even after the boat ride the intoxicating feeling lingered on. The heady scent of the night flowers on the roofs of the shops on either side of the streets added more romance and magic.

The sweet smelling night flowers

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 A pale full moon, lanterns and yours truly in one frame

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Hoi An on the lantern festival night was an unforgettable and most delightful experience and the day that followed had more in store!

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