Every summer, in a corner of Hanoi, lotuses bloom covering a part of West lake with their bright pink.
Being one of the biggest city in Vietnam, people would usually imagine of Hanoi with modern buildings, towers and busy, non-sleeping streets. But, for years in a corner of West lake, lotuses are there lightening the surroundings every May with their beautiful flowers and the pleasing scent, which is an abnormal beauty that is hard to catch in a big city.
Lotuses in West lake are mostly a precious kind called “hundred petals” meaning each lotus has hundreds of petal. Lotus is a rustic kind of flower close to Vietnamese people for thousands of years as a friend. Lotus does not only charm people with its beauty but helps a lot in their live. Lotus leaves are there for people in Cốm season, or they usually call young rice flakes. People make Cốm from young rice and pack it with lotus leaves and let it sit for some days. At the end, the leaves deliver a scented gift making you feel the peace even smelling it.
Or, in flower season, every early morning people rowing into the lotus pond, pick the most scented bud to embalm tea. The tea is proven to be one of the favorite kind to Vietnamese for hundreds of years. Also the flowers, Vietnamese use them to decorate their worship table to commemorate ancestors.
When the flower season ends, it leaves lotus seed pods, people collect seeds for cooking. Seeds could go with Chè-a kind of dessert soup or Xôi-sticky rice. Also, lotus seed is a part of many traditional medicines. The empty pods then could be dried to use as a kind of wood.
Going deep down to the mud under the water, we find lotus rhizome, which is a perfect ingredient for salad. It does feel as if none part of lotus is useless, the plant is a close friend that sacrifices a lot for local people.
Back to West lake, every years from May to around August, the pink beauty attracts so many people who love photo shooting, especially youngsters. They flock there every flower season to take the best shoots with lotus flowers. Wandering here in the flower season, you might easily find pretty women dressing up, some wearing Vietnam traditional camisoles or Áo dài, busy posing next to flowers. And, if you are or even just next to the lotus pond, you must smell the scent, it is quite pleasing to inhale the fragrance. If you are in Hanoi in the lotus season some day, you definitely should not miss the incredible flower, come and immerse yourself in the scented atmosphere and let the fragrance relax your mind and body and don’t forget to take some pictures.
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