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Hoi An Lantern Full Moon Festival 2024

Most Vietnamese holidays are celebrated according to the Lunar Calendar which has a full moon cycle. The full moon festival hence is of a big meaning and is a monthly event in Hoi An

Dates: 2024: January 24, February 23, March 23, April 22, May 21, June 19, July 19, August 17, September 16, October 16, November 14, December 14

Hoi An Lantern Full Moon Festival
Hoi An Lantern Full Moon Festival
Hoi An Lantern Full Moon Festival

Every full moon, the old town of Hoi An celebrates the moon deity with limited use of electrical lighting, using silk lanterns to illuminate the houses and streets instead. The historical center thus transforms into a spectacular fairytale from sunset​ to moonlight. The festival, featuring traditional food, poetry, and different nighttime events, attracts both tourists and locals.

When to see the festival

Hoi An Lantern Full Moon Festival takes place monthly—on the 14th day of each lunar month. The festivities kick off at dusk and continue until around 9 or 10 pm. People often gather at various restaurants at around 6 pm to enjoy their dinner before the light spectacle. The city often organizes music, poetry recitals, and folk games during the festival.

Where to see lanterns

The celebration takes part in the old district, to be more precise, in the area between the Cau An Hoi Bridge, also known as the Bridge of Lights, and the Japanese Covered Bridge connecting Hoi An with An Hoi. The festivities spread onto the neighboring streets, but the main highlight is definitely the flow of hundreds of colorful lanterns down the Thu Bon River. Locals traditionally light the lanterns with a wish for happiness and prosperity. Tourists may join in—the lanterns are offered for purchase at 5,000 to 10,000 VND, which is 25 to 50 cents.

Some of the best spots along the banks are located at the Cau An Hoi Bridge on the An Hoi side. You may choose any of the numerous street cafes lining the river banks as a good viewing point. The panoramic views from the Cau An Hoi Bridge are unbeatable, but the bridge usually gets too crowded.

The history of Lantern Festival

In the 16th and 17th centuries paper lanterns were introduced in Hoi An by Chinese and Japanese immigrants, who often hung them on their houses. Gradually, lanterns have become a part of local culture. It's an important symbol for the Vietnamese, who often use lanterns during celebrations and just to attract good fortune and luck. The Hoi An Lantern Full Moon Festival was officially established as a monthly event in 1988. The locals were also encouraged to use lanterns instead of electrical bulbs. The festival now attracts thousands of tourists to Hoi An.

The year-round Floating Lantern Festival

If you can't visit Hoi An during a full moon, you won't see the city go completely dark, but you can still enjoy the beautiful ambiance of the old town. The Floating Lantern Festival on the Hoai River is lit every night regardless of the lunar calendar. Candlelight paper lanterns float on the water between the Japanese Covered Bridge and the An Hoi Bridge. So, no matter when you visit, you can still enjoy the beloved Hoi An tradition.

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin