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Vietnam: Hanoi’s 1,000th birthday festivities

Photo from the Flickr Page of haithanh used under CC License Attribution 2.0 Generic

Hanoi is 1,000 years old. The festivities to mark the historic occasion lasted for ten days from October 1-10. Bloggers share their observations and reactions about how the events were organized.

Aaron Joel Santos describes the scenes in Hanoi during the first day of the celebrations

Hanoi is turning 1,000 years old. In 10 days. But the festivities began this morning. Officially at 8am but by the time I left my house at 7.30 the streets were already an orderly mess. Roads blocked, traffic diverted, people hoarded, “No Entry” signs planted…This morning I headed into the maelstrom. And it was fun.

Everyone was in a good mood. I’ve made fun of these celebrations along with everyone else for I don’t even know how long, but in the end, a lot of locals seem very excited about it.

Vietnam Adventures blogs about the preparations for the event

So far from what I have seen, lights have been put up throughout the city, mainly on Dien Bien Phu Street and between West and Truc Back Lake. The lights are a big attraction at night and the streets are packed. A lot of work has gone into Ba Dinh square, in front of the HCM Mausoleum, where many of the celebrations will take place. Traditional performances occur on stages on the side of the road; I passed one on my way home from work with about 100 motorbikes stopped, watching on.

Ehrin Macksey narrates the activities during the Sunday anniversary

Girls dressed up in Ao Dai, event workers shifting out propaganda posters and military personal dotted the area around the mausoleum. People visiting from the countryside came to see what their capital had prepared for them on Sunday’s anniversary. Vietnamese people are at heart very kind and easy going people. I really had a great time walking, talking to them, having my photo taken with them and of course taking snap here and there. The only thing that was a little bothersome was all the police being rude and forcing people from watching the preparation of the parade from the street.

Amy Gottlieb notes the impact of Hanoi’s 1,000th birthday, historically known as Thang Long, on the residents of the city

Granted, I must admit – even with the disastrous traffic, the incessant road blocks, and the influx of tourists, the spirit of the city is contagious! The energy is palpable, as streets are abuzz; and people appear happier, in good spirits, and in festive moods.

Using the #hanoi1000 hashtag, here are some twitter reactions:

Jen_Vuongyen: RT @benjaminbland: I've never seen so many Vietnamese clutching maps: proof that the countryside has come to Hanoi for 1000 years celebrations
dragfyre: watching the big cultural/fireworks show in #Hanoi. pretty impressive. surprisingly, they ended off with Beethoven's Ode to Joy
danielleto: Miss my city Hanoi so much Happy birthday to you
fisheggtree: Just as a predicted here weeks ago, #hanoi1000 failed as a tourism draw due to too much inward focus & ignoring their foreign market
lovesyr96: RT @UkissHARD: HAPPY #HANOI1000 ~ Today is HANOI's 1000th great anniversary!!!We're so proud, no matter if we're Hanoi-ian or not ^^~ as long as we'r VNese
linhngjb: Good morning!!! just woke up! It's 10/10/10. Ha Noi – my city – is 1000 years old now!!!! happy Bday Ha Noi!!! So proud of u <3 #hanoi1000

Steve Jackson observes that many twitter posts reflect cynicism and disappointment of several netizens about how the events were organized.

The style of the celebrations may be questionable but this is a truly remarkable capital. However, I doubt I’m the only one who will be happy to see the end of #hanoi1000. I’ve really felt like I’ve missed the place over the last ten days.

Happy birthday Hanoi, I’m looking forward to seeing you get back to your old self.

Philip Arthur Moore points to the images indicating the 1,000th birthday party of Hanoi

Helicopters, people on rooftops, empty alleyways; sounds about right for Hanoi’s 1000th birthday party. I doubt I will go anywhere other than my balcony today. Crowds have a history of driving me mad, and if the last nine days have been any indication, Hanoi’s Old Quarter will be absolute bedlam for the next 18 hours

Referring to the deadly fireworks explosion a few days before the main event and the flooding in central Vietnam, Andy Engelson explains further why he was not too much enthusiastic with the celebrations

I tried to muster up the enthusiasm to go take some photos or attended events. But I couldn’t do it. The much-anticipated gala, in my opinion, was a huge bust. A fiasco. I’m happy it’s over. Can we all get back on with our lives, now?

Maybe it’s the completely boring series of events scheduled. I’m sorry, I’m just not into entertainment in the form of revolutionary film festivals, blaring patriotic music, and traffic jams. Did I mention traffic jams? I was happy miss the one yesterday the one that kept the president of Vietnam sitting in his motorcade for five hours. Hope he had a minibar

On the bright side criticizes the event planners

I've already expressed my disappointment leading into the celebration, the lack or organization, the lack of inclusion of the foreign community, both locally and internationally. And in this past week of celebrations, I have grown even more so. Some would say that the expats are being too negative and looking for bad things to say. But I'll tell ya…when a city turns 1000 years old, and you don't tell anybody how you are planning to celebrate or what festivities they can attend, when you don't even tell them what days they may not be able to get to their place of work due to road closures or close so many streets that the already insane traffic becomes monstrous, well then…I don't have a hell of a lot of sympathy. It's poor event planning and it's laughable.

Viet Tan used the occasion to dramatize their concern about the political and human rights situation in the country

Participants, from within Vietnam and overseas, passed out fliers, t-shirts and hats affirming Vietnamese sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly Islands. This civic action to raise public awareness is the latest effort by Viet Tan to promote Vietnamese national interests and advocate for social justice and democratic change through open and peaceful political activities.

Writing on Facebook, Doan Minh Ngoc muses about the need to protect Hanoi’s future

Well, if you love Hanoi from the bottom of your heart; because your childhood has been inextricably linked to Hanoi, then the post-celebration future of Hanoi matters more than all this short-lived hype and enthusiasm. You'll feel the urge to do actual things for Hanoi, not just lazing around the streets or wearing t-shirts. Or it's just me trying to think of my situation positively. Whatever.

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