Just celebrate Tết as Vietnamese do

Tony Louw

This is my 6th Tết.

I think I prefer Tết to Christmas since Tết is more about family with less emphasis on consumerism.

I have learned in Việt Nam, family is very important.

Western culture is much more individualized as people spend more time with friends than they do with their family.

On the first day of the Lunar New Year, I usually go to my Vietnamese wife’s family around Bình Thạnh district in Hồ Chí Minh City to visit her mom, uncles and aunts as well as give lì xì (lucky money) to children.

My favorite Tết food is thịt heo kho trứng (pork cooked with eggs).

We also go to pagoda during Tết for praying.

For foreigners, they can see Vietnamese tradition from different aspects through Tết.

But I find many expats in Việt Nam do not like Tết.

Many foreigners I know tell me that they don’t celebrate Tết, they travel to Thailand or Cambodia for vacation instead.

I understand Tết is very boring for them but then many are not married into a Vietnamese family.

In my opinion, if a foreigner weds a local and want to stay here for a long time, they have to adapt to the local culture to fully appreciate living here.

As for me, the weather, the food, and the people keep me stay in the country.

I traveled a lot of countries and I found that Vietnamese has an interesting culture.

I like the Vietnamese history and tradition and of course I like to learn about Tết.

I’m trying to learn Vietnamese customs and practices like cúng ông táo (Kitchen God worshipping ceremony) through bilingual books I’ve bought from bookstores in the downtown city.

In my experience, the best place to play during Tết is Hồ Chí Minh City where you can visit Phạm Ngũ Lão spring flower market or Nguyễn Huệ flower street.

But I have a feeling that Tết festivals in the city are getting smaller as the years go by such as the flower show on Nguyễn Huệ Boulevard.

As far as I know people these days flock to district 7 to visit flower shows more than district 1.

I spent my first Tết in Hanoi – my mother-in-law’s hometown – and I found that Tết in Hanoi was not as exciting.

Hà Nội is very quite during Tếtt as most restaurants and shops are closed while many local people stay in their house.

TONY LOUW  

Source: tuoitrenews.vn

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