Happy Lunar New Year!
This is a holiday near and dear to my heart because it’s one that my parents celebrated back in Vietnam. Over there, they refer to it as Têt. Fun fact: in my mom’s village, Têt would sometimes last for a couple of weeks because they didn’t really get out of school for the other holidays over there.
However, we’re not over in Vietnam, and it’s not really celebrated outside of certain small communities of people. That means that we don’t really get to have off unless we request to have it off, and the days of family feasts, parades, and community gatherings are not really celebrated to the extent that they are over there. So how exactly do we do it here?
Each little community usually has a party or a celebration of it’s own, but they all typically won’t be scheduled for the same day, which gives each community to intermingle and visit what the others might be doing. For example, I know the big annual one in central Florida is the Vietnamese Têt Festival held on the Orange County Fairgrounds. That’s one of the ones that I enjoy attending every year.
There’s a large emphasis on family in the Vietnamese culture, so you can bet that I will probably spend an abundant amount of quality time with my family. On the Eve of, my family and I stay up together until midnight (I think because that’s what the rest of the world does for normal New Years), and then wish each other luck for the upcoming year. The little kids also get little lucky red envelopes, usually filled with money. And then at one point, there’s also a family feast with traditional Vietnamese dishes like stir-fried noodles, rice and grilled pork, and also the occasional vegetarian dish and homemade treats like candied ginger and dried coconut coated in sugar.
My favorite part, however, is that I get to wear traditional Vietnamese clothes. It may seem trivial, but I can’t exactly wear Vietnamese clothes on a regular basis. I wouldn’t really blend in day-to-day, so I take full advantage of these events with the clothes.
Anyway, I just wanted to wish you all a happy lunar new year. Whether you’re a Rooster or not, I’m wishing you and your family the best. May the year bring you plenty of good fortune and good luck.