We arrived in Vietnam shortly before the lunar new year celebration. The party lasted the better part of a week and involved toasting the good health and good fortune of our fellow revelers with gargantuan amounts of rice liquor and sometimes scotch. For the Vietnamese, of course, it involved a bit more: cleaning house, visiting the local pagoda, planting kumquat trees, and engaging in nonstop karaoke performances (as well as consuming gargantuan amounts of rice liquor and sometimes scotch).
The most impressive sight of the holiday was the view of thousands of sky lanterns floating through the air. The launching of a sky lantern is supposed to symbolize the letting go of stress, problems, and the like. But let's face it, it's pretty cool to soak a rag in oil and launch it into the air with you own mini hot air balloon.
This is our neighbors launching a sky lantern from their roof. The authorities are making a lot of noise about outlawing sky lanterns (apparently fires knocked out power in a few sections of Hanoi this year due to people letting go of their worries).