International friends enjoy Tet in Vietnam (Part 1)

In element to an thrilling live, tramontane visitors to Annam this dimension of gathering module clear a exceed tendency of the country's traditions and civilization by Tet in Vietnamexperiencing the Vietnamese grouping's preparations for the upcoming lunar New Year (Tet) celebrations.

For many foreigners, the traditional Vietnamese Tet has become a special tourism attraction, offering a good opportunity for the country to introduce its true colours and traditions to the international community.

VOV is providing an online forum for international guests in Vietnam to share their experiences and feelings about the festive season in the S-shaped country.

Steve Groff, an editor for Vietnam Business Forum Magazine, says, “I’m looking forward to enjoying Tet in Vietnam”

I think, Tet in Vietnam may look like the Christmas season in my home country, which brings to mind many things such as family reunions and time spent together with loved ones. Tet in Vietnam, of course, is a little different than the holly-draped version of my memories.

Tet does provide a reason to decorate, go shopping, or just go out and have a party, but that is clearly only setting the stage for the real holiday, Tet.

For foreigners, Tet is a sometimes bewildering but almost always heartwarming season. The overwhelming impression is of the hospitality of almost everyone you run into during Tet; you get invited to so many Tet feasts that you shouldn’t be hungry again until around June!

Tet is the time here to be with family, and Vietnamese do this with such single-mindedness that there is literally no one on the streets. After a month in which the normally busy streets are even more hectic with everyone preparing for Tet, when the big day actually comes my neighborhood in central Hanoi is astonishingly empty. It really does feel like a different place, the street vendors, the sidewalk eateries, the cafes and restaurants, the shoeshine guys, the motorbike taxi guys, the sidewalk motorbike mechanics, the sidewalk barber… everyone has gone home to eat banh chung and visit with all their relatives.

The city streets, for just these few days out of the year, are peaceful places. Don't worry about too much quietness though, you will be feasting and making merry with friends, both new and old.

Happy New Year to all who have the good fortune to be in Vietnam for Tet!

Maria Poulos, an Australian guest in Vietnam, says “I like watching the children’s happy faces as they wear their new Tet clothes and watch the Dragon dancers”

Vietnam Tet reminds me of the New Year celebrations I used to spend with my family in Greece. Unlike New Years celebrations in my native Australia which are more about partying, boating and drinking too much alcohol, Tet is more about being with family and visiting the graves of ancestors.

It is about going home to the village, preparing food, decorating houses and sharing stories about Tet from past years. I like that it is imbued with meaning and symbolism and that Vietnamese have not allowed it to become another form of crass consumerism. Food preparation is something I remember most vividly from my childhood visiting my grandparents in Greece. My grandmother would spend days preparing traditional New Year cakes and biscuits and preparing the family goat and pig for the spit.

This is not so different from the Vietnamese tradition of preparing Bánh chưng (rice square cake) and Thịt Kho Nước Dừa ("Meat Stewed in Coconut Juice"), the Vietnamese traditional dish of fatty pork stomach and medium boiled eggs stewed in a broth of young coconut juice. It makes me a little nostalgic for my childhood when Vietnamese friends invite me to their houses and offer Bánh chưng and bánh dầy, as well as Thit Kho Nước Dừa, and recount the story of the origin of these dishes and their connection with Tet.

I particularly appreciate the peace that descends upon the whole of the country after the hustle and bustle of the days leading up to Tet. After the shopping is done, the house is decorated and the cumquat trees have been carried at the back of motorcycles to the family home, a heavenly tranquility envelops the city. My neighborhood in the normally busy Hai Ba Trung District becomes very peaceful as commercial activity ceases, traffic eases and honking grinds to a halt across the country as people cocoon themselves in the family home and at temples.

I like watching the children’s happy faces as they wear their new Tet clothes and watch the Dragon dancers. I will be sure to take plenty of photos of the beautiful flower decorations and the laughing children this year. In the spirit of the occasion, this year I will decorate my house with lavender, hoa đào (peach flower) and a Kumquat tree. I will ask my Vietnamese friends where I can find a Dung Ho painting and Thư pháp (Calligraphy). I may even give in to nostalgia and set up a family altar like my ancestors used to in Greece. But it will be a Vietnamese influenced family altar with the five fruit (Ngũ Quả). What can I say? Tet New Year is my favourite time of year in Vietnam, along with the Autumn Festival. Chúc mừng năm mới (Happy New Year)!!!!

Greg Nelson from the US: “I’ll travel to the beautiful beaches in central Vietnam during Tet”

Living in Vietnam for many years and knowing Vietnamese Tet as well as the back of my hand, I am still eager to welcome this upcoming Tet when I go on a tour to central Danang city with my girlfriend.

The beaches are always wonderful, especially during Tet holiday when Vietnamese people are always busy preparing their family parties and visiting relatives and friends. It’s nice to move far from a peaceful Hanoi with few people on the street and silent atmosphere during Tet.

This year, Danang is my destination to celebrate New Year’s Eve and enjoy meaningful time with my beloved.


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