With the Mid-Autumn Festival peaking, people have been flooding into Hanoi’s Old Quarter to shop, take photos and enjoy the festive ambience.
These days Hang Ma Street, which normally sells paper votive offerings and home decorations, has transformed into a busy shopping area with most houses and sidewalks turning into makeshift shops selling star-shaped lanterns and paper masks of animals and fairy-tale characters.
For many Vietnamese, the Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on September 13 this year, is the second most important festival after the Lunar New Year.
A little girl looks at the crowd from atop her father’s shoulders. It takes around 50 minutes to stroll around the 350-meter-long Hang Ma Street amid the slow moving stream of people.
A woman sells traditional toys such as star-shaped lanterns, paper masks, small drums, and lion heads on Hang Ma Street. Locally made toys dominate the market this year unlike in previous years when imported Chinese products were everywhere.
The street is crowded and narrow and too hot for many people, who buy portable fans to cool down.
Nguyen Huan, a local shop owner, said: “Small-sized star lanterns sell like hot cakes, my family sells hundreds each day.”
Authorities have banned vehicles from certain streets in the Old Quarter until September 13. They are not allowed to enter Hang Luoc, Hang Ruoi and Hang Chai streets and sections of Hang Ma and Hang Khoai streets from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The Mid-Autumn Festival, one of the most traditional and popular family holidays in Vietnam, is enjoyed by people throughout the country, regardless of their background or economic status.
It is an occasion for a children’s night out and family reunions. Children enjoy art performances like singing, plays and lion dances, light up the night with colorful lanterns and enjoy mooncakes.