Both sides of Hai Thuong Lan Ong in District 5, HCMC are brightened up by the red and yellow colors of parallel sentences, hand scrolls, lucky money envelopes, lanterns, man-made apricot and cherry blossom trees, and some other decorative items for the Lunar New Year (Tet).
According to local people, Hai Thuong Lan Ong is a key venue for selling Tet furnishing items, so it often attracts many locals and expats in the run up to Tet holiday.
For city dwellers, the street is a popular address for not only looking for items to decorate their homes during Tet but also getting the feel of a traditional Tet, Vietnam’s biggest and longest national holiday, which starts on February 16 this year.
Chinese people credited their business success and happy life to religious beliefs, so every Chinese family maintains the custom of hanging hand scrolls, lanterns or calligraphy paintings in red, a symbol of luck and prosperity according to Chinese belief, in front of their homes during Tet.
It comes as no surprise that some Chinese hand scroll writers are on hands to write words or phrases on a piece of red paper carrying the meaning of luck, peace, good health or prosperity, with prices ranging from VND90,000 (US$3.96) to VND150,000.
Kim Hy, a 70-year-old Chinese Vietnamese calligrapher, told the Daily that his business has been thriving during the last lunar month of year as the Vietnamese, including those of Chinese descent, come to ask for lucky words and sentences for their home decoration.
“The busiest time of the street starts from the 25th of the final lunar month as many people start entering the week-long Tet break and have much time to visit shops there,” he added.
Quach Minh, a 38-year-old man who has sold Tet decorative items on Hai Thuong Lan Ong street for nearly 15 years, says wall stickers of dog, the animal sign of the new lunar year, are a best-selling product, with prices starting from VND35,000.
|Dozens of stores along Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street in District 5 sell Tet decorative items|
|The trading venue attracts many tourists in the run up to Tet holiday|
|Customers inspect lucky money envelopes at a shop|
“The area turns more bustling and crowded than ever in the final days of the 12th lunar month when most shops are open round the clock, prompting business owners to stay overnight to watch over their stores,” Minh says.