News - February 1, 2019 | 01:33 am PT

Saigon flower street poised to make another grand entrance

Saigon’s Nguyen Hue Street has undergone its annual transformation into a floral paradise to usher in the Year of the Pig.

The Nguyen Hue Flower Street, a major Tet attraction every year, is almost ready to welcome admirers. Beautiful floral arrangements and a litter of pigs and a sounder of swine are set to hog a lot of attention as people celebrate the most important Vietnamese festival of them all. 

The Year of the Pig will start on February 5 this year.

The 720-meter flower street stretches from the City Hall on Le Thanh Ton Street to Ton Duc Thang Street by the Saigon River. A day before its opening, the iconic pedestrian street is awash with color.

Smiling pigs of all hues and sizes stand ready to welcome visitors to the flower street.

The father pig, who is 2.9 meters tall, wears the Vietnamese long dress, ao dai, and a striped scarf called khan ran, traditional attire of men in the southern region. The mother pig is also dressed in an ao dai  and a conical hat, cultural symbols of the Vietnamese people for centuries.

Workers prepare the "ocean" part of the flower street. There will be decorations mimicking seaweed and other marine species like jellyfish and turtles.

Mirrors are erected in a pond on the flower street. They will sparkle in the night with special light effects.

Workers put finishing touches to a rock formations rising from the seabed. The ocean scene is a highight of this year's flower street.

Women wearing the non la, or conical hat, arrange pots of different colored flowers.

"This is the second time I’ve joined the team to build the flower street. I have a feeling that every year, the flower street has its own beauty and more eye-catching designs than in previous years," said Minh Hai, as she arranges flowers around colorful cutouts of couples.

The grand opening of the flower street will take place at 7 p.m. on February 2, two days before Lunar New Year’s Eve and will close a week later on February 8.

An electrician fixes lights that will light up the flowers at night, while a yellow pig looks ahead. The flower street, which first opened in 2002, has become a major tourist attraction since.

Story and photos by Quynh Tran