If you are planning a trip to Hoi An but want to decide on a good time to go, consider planning around the Hoi An Lantern Festival. This will certainly be an enchanting time to experience Hoi An and is a popular reason why visitors are drawn to Hoi An. But if you’re not in Hoi An at the exact date, remember you can still witness glowing lanterns light up the dark streets on most evenings of the year, and even opt to purchase a lantern if you wish.
What is the Hoi An Lantern Festival?
For spiritual Buddhist and Confucian Vietnamese, the Lantern Festival, or Hoi An Moon Festival is very important. It is a monthly celebration falling on the 14th day of the lunar calendar, or around the time of a full moon. All of the lights in town are shut off and instead light comes from paper lanterns with candles floating down the river.
Lighting lanterns as offerings to send to spirits and ancestors is a tradition of Chinese origin. However, in Hoi An, it is more a practice for visitors to participate in.
When is the Hoi An Lantern Festival?
The exact date of the full moon changes because some lunar months are 29 days while others are 30 days. However, organizers in Hoi An have simplified this for everyone by holding the festival on the 14th day of the lunar calendar each month regardless of the full moon. A schedule for Full Moon Festival dates can be found here.
How is the Hoi An Lantern Festival Celebrated?
Around the river in the Old Town, locals will be selling paper lanterns with candles placed at the bottom. The tradition is to set your own lantern into the river as an offering to ancestors and God of the Land. It is quite magical to see hundreds of lanterns sparkling the river and surroundings. If you are feeling particularly festive, you can even take a short boat ride to experience the lanterns from another point of view.