More than 100 flower markets across Ho Chi Minh City officially opened to customers on Wednesday, as the Lunar New Year, or Tet, is now exactly a week away.
Decorating homes with flowers is a centuries-old tradition of the Vietnamese during Tet, the country’s largest holiday.
Traders thus traditionally transport flowers from famed growing areas such as the Central Highlands and Mekong Delta to the southern metropolis to embrace the Tet market when the holiday is around the corner.
The largest such markets are usually held at parks including Tao Dan, 23/9, Gia Dinh, and Le Van Tam, besides smaller ones citywide.
Some of the most common Tet flowers are chrysanthemum, tagetes, cockscomb, yellow apricot blossom. Kumquats are also available at these markets because they are used as a Tet decoration as well.
The newly-opened markets received many early customers.
An, a Nha Trang resident who sells flowers at Gia Dinh Park in Go Vap District, said he managed to sell four pairs of cockscomb and three pairs of chrysanthemum early on Wednesday.
The buyer, Phuong, said the flowers will be displayed at her company in District 3, adding “prices are a bit higher than last year.”
The trader explained that it was more difficult to grow the flowers due to unstable weather.
Traders have yet to fill the markets at Le Van Tam and 23/9 Parks, and most customers only took a tour rather than making purchases.
At these markets, prices do not seem to have changed much from last year.
“I sold four pairs of chrysanthemum and bluebell in the morning at VND150,000 [US$6.99] and VND100,000 [$4.66] a pair, same as usual,” said Tuyet, a trader who transported flowers from Sa Dec, known as the ‘city of flowers’, in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap.
A nearby seller, Nhanh, also said prices remain unchanged from the previous Tet.
“Growing costs did increase but they were offset by the slumping fuel prices,” he explained.
Elsewhere at the flower market in Phu My Hung residential area in District 7, hundreds of flower growers, mostly from Cho Lach and Cai Mon Districts of Ben Tre, also a Mekong Delta province, are showcasing a wide variety of flowers, kumquat and animal-shaped bonsai.
With the next lunar year being the Year of the Goat, Tinh Thi Dieu Hien and her husband shaped their kumquat trees as a pair of goats to attract customers.
It took the two four days to design the unique product, Hien revealed.
Due to the time-consuming creation, Hien only made one pair of the goat kumquat, and it costs VND8 million ($373).
The first day of the Lunar New Year falls on February 19, but festive preparations and the celebratory atmosphere go on one week before and after that date, as per tradition.
Besides the flower markets, Ho Chi Minh City also annually holds its iconic Flower Street.
The event, along with the Book Street, will take place on two parts of Ham Nghi Street in District 1 from February 16 to 22.