Chinese New Year Traditions In Vietnam
Chinese New Year Traditions in Vietnam
Red and yellow Vietnamese street lanterns overwhelm the omnipresent national flag. Chinese New Year traditions are part of the biggest festival in Vietnam. Cafes resound wishes for prosperity, banners wing new year welcomes across the cities and most insignificant of Vietnamese villages.
Tet conveniently plops itself between the winter solstice and spring equinox. A bridge in many ways. From business to street culture to home, the signal of new beginnings resounds, a bridge from the old to the optimistic future. The dawn of a new year can be sniffed on the edges of towns down suburban boulevards into the heart of the city. Bicycles brimming with chrysanthemum bouquets, peach and kumquat trees, frames in motion along the hustling streets. The much anticipated dates creep up. Chinese new year traditions (Tet in Vietnam) are part of annual renewal of the spirit. Lanterns, food, balloons, food, gifts, food, incenses, food, flowers, food. The celebrations evolve around food. Most traditional celebrations do, but this one even has a Kitchen God to help in the preparation. A food jamboree with traditional bánh chung (a square cake made of sticky rice stuffed with beans and pork), mang (a soup of boiled bamboo shoots and fried pork) and then there are offerings at the temple, New Year Eve and specialties reserved for ancestors.
Although Vietnam varies in regionally most Tet traditions have survived a country that has catapulted itself from agrarian to modernity in mere generations. With families traveling from all over the country frantically trying to make the much anticipated reunion and celebrations, it is a family bridge. Even ancestral ghosts make the effort. With the pilgrimage to childhood homes, it is an emotional bridge into the nostalgic past.
Chuc Mung Nam Moi!
For more on Chinese New Year observance in Vietnam, see also: