Viet Nam goes fireworks-free for Lunar New Year

Published: December 28, 2016

Da Nang, Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh have all scrapped fireworks displays planned for the coming Lunar New Year, following the Communist Party's call for austerity.

Fireworks over Sword Lake in Hanoi. Photo by Giang Huy
Fireworks over Sword Lake in Ha Noi. Photo by Giang Huy

A government statement last week suggested provinces and cities in Viet Nam skip traditional fireworks displays and allocate the money they'd burn to the poor.

Ha Noi’s tourism department quickly announced it would scrap a plan to pop off around 10 billion VND ($440,000) worth of fireworks at 30 spots around the capital. The pyrotechnic displays were to be funded by private businesses, who now can keep the money, it noted.

The country's sole licensed fireworks supplier is Z121, a chemical company that falls under the purview of the Ministry of Defense.

Mr To Van Dong, the Director of the company's pyrotechnics department, said municipal governments are free to back out of their signed purchasing contracts.

“Ha Noi will still be very joyful without big spending on fireworks,” Dong said during a press conference held last week.

Vice Chairwoman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee Nguyen Thi Thu had already pledged to drop firework displays planned for New Year's Eve (both Gregorian and Lunar).

Thu admitted that putting the kibosh on the privately-funded displays would come as sad news to locals and tourists, alike, but she pledged to devise alternative programming to cheer them up.

Da Nang, the central beach city that holds an annual international fireworks competition also dropped a planned 15-minute firework show for December 31.

Provincial leaders from north to south have all jumped on board.

Officials in Binh Dinh Province said they will allocate its fireworks fund to help victims of this year's record floods.

Lunar New Year, also known as Tet, is the most important holiday in Viet Nam. The upcoming Year of Rooster will start on January 28.

The government has declared a 7-day official holiday from January 26 to February 1.

The festival is usually an occasion for family reunion, visits to friends and the exchange of gifts. In a break from tradition, the Communist Party Secretariat instructed officials everywhere not to make official visits to cities and provinces during the holiday.

The Party's governing body has explicitly banned officials from giving gifts to high-ranking leaders, this year.

(Source: VnExpress/International)