06:00 | 09/02/2021 Society
(VEN) - Tet, the celebration of the Lunar New Year, is traditionally a time for family gatherings. Even those living far away or leading a busy life often return to their hometowns and villages for the holiday for as long as a whole week. However, the Covid-19 pandemic is keeping many people from traveling home and enjoying the important holiday.
Nguyen Thi Ngoc Han, 32, a trainee in Yamanashi, Japan, said she had finished her training in June 2020, but was forced to stay in Japan due to the pandemic and would be marking her fourth Tet far away from her family in Hung Yen Province.
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Since the Japanese do not celebrate the Lunar New Year, Han will have to go to work during the holiday and will only have time on New Year’s Eve to gather with Vietnamese friends living in the same house. She and her friends had to order some traditional Tet dishes well in advance through websites specializing in selling Vietnamese goods in Japan, Han added.
Nguyen Cam Anh, 50, from Dong Thap Province is currently residing in the San Francisco Bay area town of Brentwood. The Vietnamese Lunar New Year falls in January or February and does not coincide with the Western New Year, which means she has to go to work.
However, if the first day of Tet falls on a weekend, the Vietnamese community will usually celebrate on time. In previous years, if the Lunar New Year fell in the middle of the week, it would be celebrated on the weekend before or after by the many Vietnamese residents of California in San Jose and Orange County.
This year the atmosphere ahead of Tet was somewhat subdued due to social distancing, lockdowns and concerns about the ongoing pandemic. Instead of gatherings, Vietnamese residents in California made greetings by phone and on Facebook.
The thousands of Vietnamese students abroad, whether in Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea or the United States, are also unable to fly home and celebrate with family this year.
Bui Thuc Anh, 22, a student at Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) in Munich, said that 2021 is the third year she is having to celebrate Tet so far away from home.
Before the pandemic outbreak, she could at least gather with her friends on each Lunar New Year to eat and drink in order to ease their homesickness. But this year, curfews and lockdowns throughout Germany are limiting such gatherings and boosting people’s nostalgia, Thuc Anh added.
Nguyen Le Quoc Anh, 19, studying at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, said that even though it was Vietnamese New Year, she would have to study and work and would only have coffee with friends on the weekend. With restaurants being closed, she and her friends are forced to cook and eat at home.