The three-day Cho Que (country market in Vietnamese) will see the hotel’s open-air courtyard transformed into a bustling Vietnamese “street” market. Some 20 vendors will be dressed in traditional garb, selling special Tet holiday foods and local handicrafts such as conical hats, colourful silks and woven baskets. The market will be gratuit and open to the public from Jan. 19 to 21.
A dragon dance troupe will kick off celebrations on the opening day of the market, while Quan Ho, Vietnamese folk singers, will welcome guests with live musical performances. Along the walkway bordering one side of the hotel, food vendors will serve traditional Vietnamese foods including steaming bowls of pho, bun cha and sweet sugar cane juice.
Over the weekend, visitors will compete to see who will be crowned the best banh chung (traditional sticky rice cake) or top tò he (toy figurines made from glutinous rice powder) maker in town. Competitions for basket weaving and fruit carving will also be held. The winners will be presented with vouchers for the hotel’s delicatessen, L’epicerie du Metropole.
This year, children will also have the chance to learn how to play Vietnamese games including Ô ăn quan(Mandarin squares) and choi chuyen (bamboo jacks), or to have their portraits painted by local artists.
Tet is the most important festival in the Vietnamese calendar, marking the arrival of spring and new beginnings. During the seven-day celebration locals practice an array of customs including cooking traditional foods, cleaning out their homes, donning new clothes, visiting relatives, and giving li xi or lucky money to children.
In keeping with tradition, the Metropole will present guests with lucky red envelopes on Jan. 28, the first day of the Lunar New Year. Throughout Tet, the hotel lobby will be adorned with pink peach blossoms, red paper lanterns, and potted shrubs of kumquats, believed to bring good fortune. Moreover, the handicrafts and art of the mystical highland town of Sapa will be on display throughout the holiday.