On the fourteenth day of each lunar month the town of Hoi An celebrates the full moon by closing off the old city to cars, lighting the streets only with colored lanterns, and floating candles down the river. The vibe is festive and the crowds are heavy in places; tourists and locals jostle for space to take photos, and the vendors of candles (many of them children) eagerly and noisily try to sell their wares. But not every place is crowded or busy, and in those places I noticed a sort of contemplative quality as locals burned offerings of clothes and money (all fake) to their ancestors and the flickering beauty of the candles floating down the river made me think about life and stars and how there are magical moments when I wouldn’t wish to be anywhere else in the world than where I am.
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