Before the Tet holiday which peaks on Feb. 12, this street is filled with the yellow shade of mai, a very popular flower in southern Vietnam that often blooms on Lunar New Year.
From Jan. 27, a section of Pham Ngoc Thach Street and the campus of the Ho Chi Minh City Cultural House of Youth (District 1) bustle with Lunar New Year atmosphere. Activities to celebrate Tet at the Cultural House of Youth have been held annually for 15 years.
Although most of the trees carry faux flowers, their bright yellow color symbolizing Lunar New Year creates a unique festive vibe.
People can rent ao dai here for VND50,000 ($2.17) an hour and buy props like faux mai flowers or peach blossoms at the many shops.
Quynh Nhu (pictured) rented an ao dai and brought along a bouquet of daisies to take some photos. “The yellow mai flowers are very beautiful, I feel like great photos can be taken in any corner here. I am very happy to have a set of photos on a spring day,” the 18-year-old said.
Thao Nguyen, a visitor, captures a happy moment with friends amid rows of daisies at the Cultural House of Youth.
Hien from Phu Nhuan District has many ao dai with a variety of colors and styles for rent at VND100,000 for two hours.
Shops sell traditional souvenirs like hand drums, fans, and flower branches priced from VND35,000 to VND100,000 an item.
Along with the flower street, caligraphy on Pham Ngoc Thach is also a familiar Tet draw. Every year, more and more young people come here to write caligraphy on red paper for luck.
In a white ao dai, Minh Anh, 23, dutifully transcribes visitor requests.
“I’ve been studying calligraphy for almost a year. This is my second year coming to the caligraphy street, mainly to improve my skills. It’s fun to give away good words for people on Tet,” she said.
The Tet event here also involves activities like traditional music performances, martial arts and traditional cuisine shows, all lasting until Feb. 16.
Vietnam has registered 366 domestic Covid-19 cases in 10 cities and provinces ever since infections returned to the community last Thursday.
HCMC has one case while Hai Duong, the country’s epicenter, registered 277 infections, Quang Ninh 42, Hanoi 21, Gia Lai 14, Binh Duong four, Bac Ninh three, Hoa Binh two, and Hai Phong and Bac Giang one each.
The city’s authorities said last Saturday that they would still allow festivals and events that have been planned, but with strict measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus.