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You may have heard of the spring festival called “Chinese New Year,” but have you heard of “Vietnamese New Year”? Both are an Asian tradition of celebrating the new Lunar Year, much like the rest of the world celebrates New Year’s Eve but with a twist of Christmas and Thanksgiving all wrapped up in one.
Many Vietnamese prepare for this event by cleaning their house and preparing special holiday foods for when friends and family visit during this time.
Symbol of Fortune
During this time, usually, in the middle part of January through mid-February, red envelopes containing money are given to children by the elders. This is a symbol of passing fortune from the elders to the younger generation. The money can be spent however the children see fit, but most donate some of the funds to Buddhist temples, toys, or gambling games that can be found on the streets of their country.
Celebrations can last for one day or up to a week and include using fireworks, drums, and other loud noises to “scare off evil spirits,” and also participating in parades, and feasting. Vietnamese decorate their homes with various fruit blossoms, which symbolize fertility and fruitfulness for the family. Many of the additional decorations are red which symbolizes good fortune. A series of greetings are exchanged between children and elders to express good health, fortune, and prosperity to each other.
And like any holiday, food is likely to be the center of attention. Popular dishes include sticky rice, pickled onions, cabbage, candied fruits, and stewed pork meat.
Year of the Rat
Celebrate the Year of the Rat (2020) by consuming dumplings which represent fortune, spring rolls which represent a fresh start, or even a fish dish for luck. Have a wonderful Vietnamese New Year!
By Leslie Radford