Hoi An Lantern Festival 2023 – Unique cultural beauty

30/06/2023 thuy vy

The Hoi An Lantern Festival is one of the famous traditional festivals in Vietnam. The festival takes place on the 14th day of the lunar month which creates a vibrant and dreamy atmosphere. The streets and corners of Hoi An are adorned with thousands of lanterns, diverse in colors and shapes. The blend of light and ancient architecture creates a mystical space, taking people on a magical journey filled with colors and traditional music.

The Hoi An Lantern Festival is not only an occasion for locals to worship and pay tribute to their ancestors but also a festival that attracts many domestic and international tourists to participate and experience Vietnam’s unique traditional culture.


The origin of the Hoi An Lantern Festival can be traced back to the 16th and 17th centuries during the peak period of the trading port. Situated on the banks of the Thu Bon River, Hoi An was a bustling hub for international traders, mainly from China, Japan, and Europe. When they come to trade, they bring lanterns hanging in front of the door.

As the city developed, it became a meeting point for diverse cultures and traditions. During this time, the local community also started the tradition of hanging lanterns outside their houses and businesses to bring luck and ward off evil spirits.

Hoi An lantern festival-festival history

The Hoi An Lantern Festival – A long-standing festival that preserves its traditional essence.

Over the years, this custom evolved into a grand festival celebrating the full moon. The Lantern Festival in Hoi An is a time for people to express gratitude to their ancestors and wish for good luck in the coming year. Today, Hoi An Lantern Festival continues to honor that historical origin. In order to keep the spirit of solidarity and cultural exchange forever, along with the mesmerizing beauty of the lanterns that light up the streets of Hoi An’s ancient town.

Around 1988, the local government of Hoi An decided to organize a lantern festival on the full moon days of every month. The Lantern Festival in Hoi An is also known as the Hoi An Full Moon Lantern Festival. This is the most anticipated festival in the old town by locals and tourists from all over the world. Over time, it has grown into a magnificent commemoration, attracting people from all over the world to witness its splendor.

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Lanterns carry deep symbolism and meaning in various cultures, including the Hoi An Lantern Festival. Lanterns hold great symbolism in Vietnamese culture. These illuminated objects bear profound meanings, resonating with people’s beliefs and aspirations.

In the context of the festival, lanterns symbolize enlightenment and are believed to bring luck, and happiness, as well as drive away evil spirits. The gentle light emitted from the lanterns represents guiding light on people’s life journeys, dispelling darkness and bringing brightness.

The act of lighting lanterns is seen as a way to guide the souls of ancestors back to their homes during the festival. The captivating light of the lanterns illuminates the streets, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of another world.

Lanterns are also considered a form of prayer when people release lanterns into the night sky or float them in the river. They will carry your wishes, dreams, and intentions. The act of releasing lanterns is believed to bring positive energy, blessings, and the fulfillment of desires.

Hoi An lantern festival-symbols and meanings

Lanterns – Symbols of luck, optimism, and happiness.

Furthermore, the lanterns serve as a reminder of unity and connection when they are lit on the streets of Hoi An, which creates a shared experience for both locals and tourists. They symbolize harmony and the existence of a collective spirit, nurturing a sense of familiarity and bonding.

In general, the lanterns in Hoi An Lantern Festival carry a deep symbolic meaning. They represent enlightenment, hope, prayer, solidarity, and common aspirations of festival participants


The Hoi An Lantern Festival takes place on the 14th day of the lunar month. The preparation and decoration for the Full Moon Lantern Festival Hoi An require meticulous planning and attention to every detail to create a captivating atmosphere throughout the city. As the festival approaches, the local community and organizers work diligently to adorn the streets, buildings, and riverbanks with elaborate decorations.

The first step in the preparation is the creation of lanterns. Intricate designs and patterns are handcrafted onto the lanterns, showcasing the skills and excellent craftsmanship of local artisans. The most common motifs depicted are lotus flowers, a traditional symbol of Vietnam, along with various other distinctive patterns.

Each lantern is carefully assembled to ensure sturdiness and readiness for illumination. Once the lanterns are ready to be lit, the streets and buildings of Hoi An transform into a radiant spectacle.

Colorful banners and flags are hung along the streets, while lanterns are suspended from rooftops and verandas. The entire city is immersed in a sea of colors, creating a charming scene for both local residents and visitors. Traditional performances and music are organized to enhance the atmosphere of the Hoi An Lantern Festival. Musicians and folk dancers showcase their talents, adding to the festival’s allure.

Hoi An lantern festival-preparation

People hang lanterns on verandas in preparation for the festival.

Furthermore, the aroma of local street food fills the air as vendors set up stalls selling delicious Vietnamese delicacies to tantalize the taste buds of festival-goers.

The Thu Bon River, flowing through the heart of Hoi An, is an integral part of the festival’s decoration. Thousands of lanterns are carefully placed on the surface of the river, transforming it into a dazzling reflection of the night sky. The sight of floating lanterns creates a serene and elegant ambiance.

The preparation and decoration for the Hoi An Lantern Festival are not merely a visual feast but also a testament to the love the local people have for their city. Meticulous attention to detail and the art of craftsmanship create a truly magical atmosphere that captivates the hearts and imaginations of all who participate in the Hoi An Lantern Festival.

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Lantern-making workshops are an essential part of the Hoi An Lantern Festival, providing an opportunity for participants to learn about the traditional craft and create their own unique lanterns. These workshops offer hands-on experiences where both local residents and tourists can immerse themselves in the artistry and intricacy of lantern-making during their time at the Hoi An Lantern Festival.

Participants are guided by the knowledge and expertise of skilled craftsmen. They begin with an introduction to the history and significance of lanterns in Vietnamese culture. Then, participants delve into the process of making lanterns, starting with the selection of materials.

Bamboo frames are provided as the foundation for the lanterns. These frames act as the skeleton, providing structure and stability. Participants learn how to bend and shape the bamboo to achieve their desired lantern shape.

Once the frames are ready, participants move on to the decoration phase. They can choose materials to cover their lanterns, showcasing their own styles and creativity. With guidance from the craftsmen, participants learn various techniques such as cutting, folding, and attaching materials to the frame.

Hoi An lantern festival-lantern shop

Lantern-making stalls for visitors to experience this age-old craft.

Lantern makers pay attention to every detail, ensuring that the lanterns are visually appealing and finely crafted. Participants can incorporate traditional Vietnamese symbols or their own special designs, making each lantern a unique masterpiece.

Throughout the workshop, participants not only learn the technical aspects of lantern-making but also gain a deeper understanding of the cultural significance behind this ancient craft. They grasp the symbolic meaning and role of lanterns in festivals and celebrations.

At the end of the session, participants can take home their handmade lanterns as cherished mementos of their time in Hoi An. These lanterns serve as a testament to their creativity and the cultural experiences they have gained while visiting the ancient city of Hoi An.

The lantern-making process offers an interactive and memorable experience for people of all ages. It contributes to the preservation of traditional craftsmanship and allows visitors to connect with the unique heritage of Hoi An.

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The captivating highlight of the Hoi An Lantern Festival is the grand lantern parade. People parade with dazzling lanterns of various shapes and sizes through the ancient streets of the city. This enchanting spectacle takes place after sunset, creating a magical glow that envelops the surroundings and mesmerizes the viewers.

The parade features a vibrant display of lanterns carried by local residents, tourists, and performers. The lanterns sway gently, their soft light illuminating the faces of the people and creating a captivating scene.

Accompanied by traditional music performances, the lantern parade of the Hoi An Lantern Festival weaves through narrow streets, winding around buildings and historic landmarks. The rhythmic beat of drums, melodies of traditional instruments, and joyful cheers from participants create an intimate and festive atmosphere.

Hoi An lantern festival-Hoi An lantern

Hoi An with the shimmering magical beauty of the lanterns

Onlookers line the streets, enchanted by the mesmerizing sight. Many join the procession by lighting and releasing their own lanterns into the night sky, adding to the dreamy ambiance.

The lantern parade of the Hoi An Lantern Festival not only offers a visually stunning experience but also serves as a powerful symbol of unity and community spirit. It is a moment where tradition meets creativity, where past and present intertwine, and where the magic of lanterns illuminates lasting memories for all who witness it.


As dusk falls over Hoi An, the Thu Bon River becomes a spectacle of floating lanterns. Thousands of lit lanterns are released and set afloat on the river, creating a shimmering and mystical reflection on the water. This ritual is believed to bring good luck and release negative energy.

Local residents and tourists gather along the riverbank, each holding a glittering lantern lit by a candle. Participants gently release their lanterns onto the water, watching them float away, leaving a mesmerizing trail of shimmering light beneath the enchanting surface.

Hoi An lantern festival-drop lights posted

People releasing lanterns on the Thu Bon River and making wishes for all things good.

The lantern release ceremony carries profound symbolic meaning. It is believed to symbolize the release of worries and negative energy. Participants often make wishes as they release their lanterns, hoping for good fortune and blessings to come their way.

The sight of hundreds, even thousands, of floating lanterns illuminating the river is a truly magical experience. The gentle and warm glow of candlelight dancing on the water creates a serene and elegant atmosphere. The lanterns floating on the Thu Bon River during the Hoi An Lantern Festival present a vibrant and colorful spectacle. It is a cherished tradition that leaves a lasting impression on all fortunate enough to witness the captivating beauty of this ritual.

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1. Traditional performances

The festival will start from 6 p.m to 10 p.m when the sky turns dark. This is heaven and earth giving the spotlight to the lights so that it begins to fully show the captivating beauty of people. The Hoi An Lantern Festival is not only a grand visual Vietnam event but also a celebration of Vietnamese culture, featuring numerous traditional performances and activities that satisfy both the local residents and tourists.

At this Hoian festival, you will be able to participate in many interesting, unique, and completely free activities. The night space becomes extremely lively with the presence of traditional music and dances. In addition, there are performances of dragon masters and martial arts by members of professional dojos and skilled artists.

Throughout the festival, the streets of Hoi An come alive with parades, street performances, and vibrant cultural displays. Dragon dances, martial arts demonstrations, and traditional games contribute to the excitement and entertainment of the festivities, creating a lively and immersive experience for everyone.

Hoi An lantern festival-traditional performances

Brilliant traditional performance at The Full Moon Festival

The traditional performances and activities at the Hoi An Lantern Festival bridge the past and present, preserving and showcasing Vietnam’s rich cultural heritage. It is an opportunity for visitors to engage with the traditions, arts, and customs of the region, fostering a deeper appreciation for the local culture.

Traditional music and dance performances take center stage throughout the festival. Skillful musicians play traditional instruments such as the monochord, zither, and moon-shaped lute, creating melodious tunes that transport listeners to a bygone era. Accompanied by rhythmic drums and other traditional instruments, dancers gracefully perform traditional folk dances, narrating stories and showcasing Vietnam’s rich cultural heritage.

2. Traditional activities

Visitors have the opportunity to participate in traditional handicraft activities during their Hoi An Lantern Festival experience. Organized activities allow participants to try their hand at making lanterns and learn the techniques of this ancient art form. You can also engage in activities such as making rice paper, calligraphy, or traditional painting, gaining a deeper understanding of the craft and skills passed down through generations.

Food enthusiasts can savor the delicious flavors of Vietnamese cuisine through food stalls and cooking demonstrations. Local chefs offer a variety of traditional dishes, providing a culinary journey through the diverse tastes of Vietnam.

Hoi An lantern festival-Thu Bon river with lanterns

The Thu Bon River brimming with colorful lanternlights.

For those seeking spiritual experiences, the Hoi An Moon Festival offers the opportunity to take part in traditional rituals. Visitors can join locals in offering incense and tributes at ancestral altars, expressing gratitude and reverence to their ancestors. These moments provide a glimpse into the beliefs and spiritual practices deeply ingrained in Vietnamese culture.

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Experiencing the Hoi An Lantern Festival is a truly magical and immersive journey, taking visitors to a captivating and splendid world of culture. As you step into the ancient town of Hoi An during the festival, you will be greeted by a myriad of vibrant flowers, and gentle lights emanating from lanterns that illuminate the streets, creating a unique atmosphere.

Hoi An lantern festival-experiences

The Hoi An Lantern Festival is an incredible experience that should not be missed when visiting this place.

The Hoi An Lantern Festival is a wonderful experience to understand the essence of Vietnamese culture and the warmth of its people. It offers an opportunity to connect with the local community, learn about their traditions, and participate in age-old rituals.

As the festival draws to a close, you will carry cherished memories, a deeper appreciation for Hoi An’s heritage, and the spirit of the lanterns that continue to light your journey.


The Hoi An Lantern Festival, also known as the Full Moon Festival, takes place on the 14th day of the lunar month. While the festival occurs monthly, the most elaborate and lively celebrations happen during the spring and summer months. During this time, typically from February to August, the weather is pleasant with warm temperatures and lower chances of rain.

It’s important to note that the Hoi An Full Moon Festival is a popular Vietnamese event that attracts a large number of tourists. If you prefer a more intimate and less crowded experience, it’s best to avoid visiting during major holidays or weekends when the festival tends to be busiest. Instead, consider visiting on weekdays or during less peak times to fully immerse yourself in the festival atmosphere.

Hoi An lantern festival-best time to visit festival

The festival attracts a large number of tourists each year.

The Hoi An Lantern Festival in 2023 is scheduled on the following dates: January 5th, February 4th, March 5th, April 4th, May 3rd, June 1st, July 1st, July 31st, August 29th, October 28th, November 26th, and December 26th. To make the most of your time, plan your trip to Hoi An carefully! By strategically planning your visit during the Full Moon Festival, you can ensure a captivating and unforgettable experience in this enchanting celebration.

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Attending the Hoi An Lantern Festival is an exciting and memorable experience. To maximize your visit, here are some helpful tips:

  • Check the festival dates: The Hoi An Lantern Festival takes place on the 14th day of the lunar month, so it’s important to refer to the lunar calendar to plan your visit accordingly. Consider visiting Hoi An during the spring and summer months for the most elaborate celebrations.
  • Arrive early: The Lantern Festival in Hoi An can get crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. Arriving early allows you to explore the city and secure a good viewing spot for the lantern procession and other performances.
  • Dress comfortably: Hoi An can be hot and humid, especially during the summer months. Wear lightweight and breathable clothing to stay comfortable throughout the festival. Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be walking and standing for extended periods.
  • Bring insect repellent: Since the Hoi An Lantern Festival takes place in the evening, it’s advisable to bring insect repellent to protect yourself from mosquitoes and other insects.
  • Respect local customs: When you come to a festival, try to familiarize yourself with local customs and traditions. Not only to show respect to the community but also to show that you are a civilized person when traveling. Observe proper behavior during the festival, avoid touching or damaging decorations, and follow any instructions from the festival organizers.
  • Try local delicacies: The Hoi An Lantern Festival offers an excellent opportunity to sample Vietnamese cuisine. Explore the food stalls and indulge in local delicacies such as Banh Mi, Banh Xeo, and Cao Lau. Discover and savor new flavors while enjoying the festival atmosphere.
  • Participate in lantern-making workshops: Engaging in lantern-making workshops allows you to immerse yourself in the festival’s traditions and create your own lantern. These workshops provide a unique hands-on experience and a chance to learn about the art behind lantern crafting.
  • Capture the moments: Don’t forget to bring a camera or smartphone to capture the beautiful performances and memorable moments of the festival. The illuminated lantern-lit streets, vibrant processions, and floating lanterns on the river provide stunning photography opportunities.
  • Be patient and enjoy: The Hoi An Lantern Festival can be crowded and bustling with activities. Embrace the lively atmosphere, patiently navigate through the crowds, and take time to immerse yourself in the beauty and allure of the festival.

By following these tips, you can have a fantastic and unforgettable experience attending the Hoi An Lantern Festival, immersing yourself in the rich cultural and festive spirit of this captivating event.

Hoi An lantern festival-Tips

Elaborately crafted lanterns for visitors to admire and capture memorable photos.

The Hoi An Lantern Festival is an event that captures the hearts and imaginations of all who witness it. From the mesmerizing light of the lanterns to the vibrant processions, this festival is a testament to the rich heritage and spirit of Hoi An. It is a moment where tradition, creativity, and community intertwine in a harmonious symphony of light and joy.

As visitors release lanterns onto the river, make wishes, and immerse themselves in the festivities, they become part of a collective experience that transcends language and culture.

The Full Moon Festival leaves an indelible mark, a cherished memory, and a longing to return to the enchanting city of Hoi An. The city where lanterns continue to light up the night and ignite the spirits of all who embrace its magic. Let’s plan and prepare your journey to participate in the Hoi An Lantern Festival 2023 right now!

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