|More organised: Traditional calligraphy services are being offered at a cleaner location by the lake next to the historic Temple of Literature in downtown Ha Noi. — VNS Photo Viet Thanh
HA NOI (VNS)— Calligraphers offering Chinese, nom (old Vietnamese characters based on Chinese characters) and modern Vietnamese to people during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday will be relocated to inside the Van Mieu Historic Relic, near Van lake, according to the Ha Noi Culture, Sports and Tourism Department.
In previous years, calligraphers used to showcase their skills in Van Mieu street, outside the 1,000 year-old temple.
The artists started offering their special services on Tuesday and will continue to do so until the middle of the first lunar month, which is February 16.
Writing letters using calligraphy is a tradition among the Vietnamese. The letters typically contain the wishes and hopes of the people for the new year.
According to Pham Thi Thuy Hang, one of the event organisers, the new location will have up to 70 seats for the use of calligraphers, which will be built with metal frames and provided with cloth roofs. Earlier, the calligraphers used to showcase their skills while seated on chairs in the open.
"The new location provides a beautiful setting for such a cultural activity," she added.
Han nom (Sino-nom) researcher Truong Duc Qua, who showcases his skills as a calligrapher every year, told Viet Nam News that a shift in the location was great.
"At the new location, which is not far from where calligraphers are regularly found, people can park their bikes in a separate area, allowing them to mingle with calligraphers in a more relaxed manner," Qua noted.
At the new venue, only approved calligraphers with business or work cards and with membership of calligraphy clubs around the city, will be permitted to highlight their services. The organisers have also set up a hotline to help visitors at the site.
The stalls will be open between 8.30am and 8pm. However, they will start later on Lunar New Year's Eve, as well as on the first few days of the new year.
"It is estimated that the site may welcome up to 10,000 people each day during this period," Hang said, adding that this year's experience would contribute to better preparation for the event next year.
Last year, calligraphers sat along the pavement along the Literature Temple in the Van Mieu street, which led to chaos and even traffic jams.
However, Van Thuy, who is a freelance calligrapher from the northern province of Hai Duong with no club membership in the city, said he is upset that he cannot offer his services at the new location this year.
"I offer my services every Tet," he pointed out, "but this year, I cannot do so since I have no work permit for the new site."
Deputy head of the department Truong Minh Tien confirmed that the organisers would not permit any freelance calligraphers to work at the old site. — VNS