On Thursday morning (February 11, i.e. the last day of the lunar year), as early rays of sunlight seeped through the foliage, few locals flocked to the almost empty Hanoi streets to enjoy the year-end morning air by Hoan Kiem lake.
In contrast to the tranquillity in the Old Quarter, in the shopping streets and traditional wet markets, shopping and business activities are bustling.
On the last day of the lunar year, Hang Be Market is crowded with people shopping for all kinds of food to offer to their ancestors on the alter in the Tat Nien (year-end) ceremony.
Chickens used for worshiping rituals are presented attractively. This morning, such chickens at Hang Be Market cost between VND700,000 and VND1 million per chicken.
Old coriander is the best-selling item this morning. The habit of boiling old coriander leaves to bathe on the last day of the lunar year to welcome the Lunar New Year (Tet) has become a beautiful, sacred custom and a cultural feature of many Vietnamese people.
At 8:00 am, traders at Hang Ma Market start to open their shops, preparing for the last business day of the year.
Traditional Hang Luoc Flower Market is still deserted in the early morning. Spring peach blossom branches are rushed to Hanoian homes to welcome Tet.
Roses are carefully selected to display on the altars on the Tet festival.
At the corner of Hang Ga and Bat Dan streets, a group of friends chatting over coffee, reviewing the past year.
Shop owners on Hang Dieu Street cleaning their homes to prepare for the lunar new year.
In many families, the year-end offerings have been offered to the ancestors to see off the old year.
At noon, clothing shops on Hang Bong Street are still bustling with shoppers.