On October 10, 1954, the people of Ha Noi, with flags and flowers in hand, flooded the streets of the city to welcome triumphant Vietnamese soldiers.
They had just returned to the capital after their success against French colonialists at the battle of Dien Bien Phu.
Yesterday, sixty years after that memorable event, the people of Ha Noi gathered en masse to celebrate the event, known as Liberation Day.
All 36 streets in the Old Quarter were brightened with flower-shaped lanterns and golden-starred red flags.
At 9pm, the “oohs” and “aahs” continued non-stop for 15 minutes as fireworks filled the sky with resounding bangs.
People milled around 30 locations in and around the city as the show continued.
One elderly citizen said he remembered the day when Vietnamese soldiers marched into the city through a sea of flags and flowers.
“We felt so delighted and excited that our life would change from then on. We would live in independence and freedom,” he said as he stood in a sea of people around Ha Noi’s heart, Hoan Kiem Lake.
Last night, crowds tilted their heads to see the colourful displays and used “smart” phones and cameras to capture them.
A special TV programme titled Ha Noi: Belief and Hope linked up different venues around the city – Ly Thai To Garden by the side of Hoan Kiem Lake, Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam (the Temple of Literature), the Thang Tam (August) Revolution Square in front of Ha Noi Opera House, Thang Long Imperial Citadel, and Viet Nam Television headquarters.
The show was broadcast live on VTV channel 1.
At Ly Thai To Garden, the six decades of the capital’s history since the revolution were told by witnesses and through documentaries and art performances.
Thousands of people filled the open space (August Square) i n front of the Opera House for an epic musical performance called October in Ha Noi. The show presented leading Vietnamese singers, including Quang Tho and Thu Hien, Tung Duong and Dam Vinh Hung.
“Ha Noi today is so pretty today, especially if we look to the sky,” said Le Van Binh, a war veteran.
“Sixty years ago, Ha Noi people were also well-prepared for the day. One photographer developed table-sized photos of President Ho Chi Minh weeks to wait for the glorious moment on October 10,” Binh said.
The Temple of Literature was turned into a spectacular stage for an ao dai festival plus art installations. The show featured more than 250 different versions of the traditional women’s long dress by five designers from Ha Noi.
The 60th anniversary of Ha Noi’s Liberation coincided with the 15th year of the city being honoured with the title City for Peace by UNESCO.
On Sunday, to celebrate the event, a 300 metre-long painting of children hand in hand will be placed at the Ly Thai To Statue inside the Ly Thai To Garden.
On the same day, a display of images, publications, objects and documentaries featuring Ha Noi, its people and landscapes will be on show behind the Ly Thai To Statue.
The city’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Ha Noi Union of Friendship Organisations will also organise Culture Days of Peace with activities presenting the five criteria for a City for Peace – community equality, proper urban construction, environmental preservation, cultural and educational development, and care for the young generation.
The event will feature a circus, hiphop dances, unicycle riding, martial arts and a painting contest entitled I Love Ha Noi – The City for Peace.