Tet through foreign eyes

09:55 | 01/02/2017 Society

(VEN) - Foreigners living in Vietnam, who have already experienced Tet, the Lunar New Year celebration, are looking forward to the experience. Those who have not, but have heard a lot about it, are curious about the many holiday customs and traditions.

tet through foreign eyes

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For Vietnamese, the holiday is a time to travel to family towns and villages to see relatives they haven’t seen for a long time, to buy new clothes, prepare holiday delicacies and clean the house to welcome Tet. For many foreigners, the holiday is an opportunity to travel around the country or just to enjoy some free time in the relative quiet of the city as it empties out of many of its residents. Those fortunate enough to have Vietnamese friends or co-workers can also experience the holiday’s infectious spirit first hand.

Annie Julie, an Australian teacher, has lived in Vietnam for three years and has experienced two Tets. “During Tet, I have an opportunity to enjoy many Vietnamese dishes. Banh Chung, a type of traditional rice cake for New Year, is my favorite food. I and my daughter usually go to visit friends and co-workers and they give my daughter luck money as a New Year’s Day present,” she said.

tet through foreign eyes

Former United States Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Rena Bitter experienced Tet 2016 in Vietnam

Shio Mimuru, a Japanese expert working at Amata Industrial Park in Dong Nai Province, also has Vietnamese friends. One of them makes Banh Chung to sell during Tet and he even has a chance to see the wrapping of Banh Chung. He also gets New Year’s greetings from friends and co-workers.

Shio Mimuru feels fortunate to experience Tet in Vietnam with its cultural traditions and honor of family values. He feels a special kinship with the holiday, which Japanese used to celebrate in the past until they switched from the lunar to the solar calendar. “I will have an opportunity to welcome Tet in Vietnam for the second time. I am excited and very happy,” Shio Mimuru said.

Hirotoki Yasuzumi, a manager in a Japanese restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City is particularly impressed by the stream of people going back to their home towns for family reunions during Tet.

“Wherever Vietnamese people may be, they wish to come back home with their family and relatives during Tet. After finishing their work on the last day, they go to bus or train stations with gifts for grandparents, parents and relatives. Therefore, although Tet is an opportunity to increase revenues for the restaurant, we still decide to close up in order to create favorable conditions for staff to mark Tet,” Hirotoki Yasuzumi said.

Foreigners are also curious about the animal designations for each year that are based on a twelve-year cycle. For example, 2004 and 2016 were the Years of the Monkey. And 2017? It’s the Rooster’s turn, once again.

Thanh Thanh & Mai Ca