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Festival to see selection of national flower

HA NOI – A Spring Flower and Drinks Fair which has opened in Ha Noi will see some last-minute politicking for the selection of Viet Nam's national flower.

The fair will also feature a photo exhibition by HCM City-based photographer Tran Bich dedicated to the lotus, a leading candidate for designation as the national flower.

Bich is dedicated to photographing the lotus, and his images capture many shapes of the lotus, from bud to faded flower.

Orchids, peach and apricot blossoms are also in contention for the title of national flower, however.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will gather votes on the national flower, national costume and national wine during the festival, and the national flower will be announced on Friday at the Viet Nam Lotus Spirit Gala.

At the Lotus Spirit Gala, artisans from Ha Noi, Hue and HCM City will create crafts and artworks celebrating the lotus, including lotus lanterns and sculpture and silk lotus.

"We have used many materials to celebrate the lotus," said Ha Noi-based artist Nguyen Manh Hung. "Since it's not the season of the lotus in the north now, we have received fresh lotus from the southern province of Dong Thap."

The competition to select the national costume hasn't gone as smoothly.

"The ao dai is already the national costume for women, but it's difficult to choose the national costume for men," said Vi Kien Thanh, chief of the ministry's art, photography and exhibitions department.

Meanwhile, the selection of a national wine plan is still in the survey stage, Thanh said. Over the past three years, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Viet Nam Alcohol, Beer and Beverage Association have nominated ruou can (wine drunk from a jar), rice wine, coconut wine and apricot wine for the honour.

The Spring Flowers and Drinks Festival will continue through Sunday at the Culture and Art Centre at 2 Hoa Lu Street.

The fair will exhibit and offer prizes for wines and spirits made by both traditional and modern methods, offer opportunities to sample wines, tea and coffee, and will feature performances, folk games, an ao dai (traditional long dress) fashion show, and calligraphy exhibition, as well as recreate customs such as the Kitchen God Festival. At least 50 enterprises will also display products for Tet, including decorations and ornamental trees.

Ha Giang Province will take the spotlight, recreating a provincial market day with local specialities, cuisine and festivities of the province's ethnic people, including pan-pipe dance and folk duets.

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