Foreigners enjoy animated, cozy atmosphere of Vietnamese Tet

13:00 | 01/02/2022 Society

(VEN) - For foreigners working and living in Vietnam, the long annual Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday often provided an opportunity to go on home leave or travel out of the country while their colleagues celebrated with family and friends. Covid-19 has kept many of them from leaving Vietnam, and they have come to appreciate the holiday vibe and its rituals. 

foreigners enjoy animated cozy atmosphere of vietnamese tet

This is the third Tet Edward Knapp will spend in Ho Chi Minh City, where he has been teaching English since 2017. He appreciates the downtime in the city, with residents walking around to enjoy the atmosphere of spring, visiting relatives and friends, or going to pagodas and temples. “Vietnam has become my second home. I feel absolutely secure living and working in the country. I believe Vietnamese people will have a happy Tet this year because Vietnam will surely be able to control the pandemic,” Knapp says.

Lee Chang Chil from the Republic of Korea (RoK) has a Vietnamese wife and has experienced Vietnamese Tet in different localities, such as Can Tho, Hanoi and Da Nang. The Lunar New Year’s Eve is the most important time for his family. “This year, many people cannot travel abroad due to the pandemic and take domestic tours instead. This provides Vietnam with a good opportunity to promote domestic tourism,” he says.

foreigners enjoy animated cozy atmosphere of vietnamese tet
Foreigners in Ho Chi Minh City are provided with free Covid-19 vaccinations

Abwin Mark, an American teaching English in Ho Chi Minh City for four years, has experienced Vietnamese Tet three times and his many Vietnamese friends make sure to include him in their activities, inviting him to their homes to enjoy typical Tet food, cakes and jams. He especially likes banh chung (square sticky rice cake) and appreciates the great importance Vietnamese people pay to family bonds and to demonstrating them during Tet.

Thomas Merino from France has lived in Vietnam for almost eight years and often stayed in the country during Tet. Merino likes the way Vietnamese people prepare for important rites during the holiday. “Tet is the time when people feel happy and do not think of work. All families give each other the best wishes and have cozy parties. I feel very happy joining these activities and very much like traditional kinds of food such as banh tet (cylindrical sticky rice cake), banh chung and special kinds of jams. I enjoy walking around the streets because they are quiet and clean during Tet holidays,” he says.

Vanessa Nguyen from France has been in Vietnam for more than 10 years and regards Tet as a combination of Christmas and New Year, a time for family gatherings. Her husband is Vietnamese. “During Tet, I often help my mother-in-law by going to the market and cooking. On the first day of the lunar calendar, we go to my husband’s native land and meet his relatives. My daughter and I wear ao dai (traditional dress), like other female members of the family. Children receive lucky money. We have happy moments together during Tet. I want my children to have good knowledge of Vietnamese traditions,” she says. This is the second year Vanessa Nguyen and her family cannot return to France due to the pandemic, and they plan to travel to Hoi An Ancient Town or Phu Quoc Island during Tet holidays.

For Vietnamese, Tet is perhaps the happiest time of the year. For foreigners it is an opportunity to experience the customs of their host country.

Ngoc Thao