17 September 2014
What was hard for me growing up was how I had to leave my old country and trade off things that a Vietnamese person like me should have had, instead of seeking for the education, the opportunity of changing life in the Unites States .There are always significant holidays to every country. Holiday is define as a day free from work that people may spend time to relax and especially a day of stopping all of the general business activities to celebrate and dedicate a particular event. In religious term, it is a holy day. For example, American people celebrate holidays such as, Thanksgiving and Christmas, Hispanics celebrate Cinco de Mayo, and for Vietnamese people, there is a very important holiday which is the Vietnamese New Year. There was an anecdote that thousands of years ago in a small village of Vietnam, there was a monster who came one winter’s eve and destroyed the village. The following year, the monster returned and again destroyed the village. Before it could happened a third time, the villagers worked out a plan to scare the monster away. Throughout the whole village, red banners were hung; the color red had long been believed to protect against evil. Firecrackers, drums and gongs were used to celebrate loud noises to scare the monster away. The plan worked and the celebration lasted several days during which people visited with each other, exchanged gifts, danced, and ate tasty food. ( Iisa Chiu, par3 ).Although, Tet is a holiday and people want to have fun during Tet , it also a time for people to connect and buildup a better relationship between each other , memorize and be filial to their ancestors and also , bring luck and respect to each other to cheer up for the better year. The New Year begins on the first night of the first moon. This is sometime between January 21 and February 19 on the solar calendar. The day of the New Year varied depends on the phases of the moon. Traditionally, Tet takes weeks of preparation. All homes are clean to get rid of bad fortune associated with the old year. According to the superstition of the great amount of people who live in Vietnam, Khanh Loan, the author of the article “Tet Nguyen Dan” explains that, It is considered bad luck to start the New Year cleaning and still owned debt because it was believed that sweeping will push all the good fortunes away and also debt is symbolized “curse” , it will make the following year become bad.(Par5) Therefore, every member in the family participates in the preparation and cleaning process. The house must be thoroughly cleansed from inside and outside. Families paint their homes to give new looks. Anyone who has debts needs to pay them off before the New Year to mark a new beginning. And most importantly, everyone needs to visit the graves of the ancestors and burn incense to call upon the souls of the dead visit the family home. Anyone who does not do this is regarded as the ill-fated child and would be punished by the ancestors. During the New Year week, the markets are swarmed with people. Vietnamese people believe that, the world is made from The Five elements which are metal, five, water, wood, earth. Furthermore, The Vietnam Institute website, the website that includes a collection of a lot of Vietnamese people’s opinions points out that, a plate filled with five types of fruits sits on the ancestor’s altar in every Vietnamese home during the New Year is very important because the fruits are colorful and meaningful(Par 12). Therefore, the traditional food must be purchased are the sugared fruits, earth cake and the colorful decorations of Tet. By buying those colorful foods , it represents the desire for good crops , prosperity and wealth .People are also believed that , good decoration also keep the fortunes stay with them.Two flowering plants that represent for Tet are the bright golden yellow branches of apricot and the soft rose colored of peach flowers. These flowering plants represent spring and the blossoms represent good fortunes about to happen. After the long preparation, a very important ritual takes place at the mid-night hour on New Year’s Eve. As the reason of Tet is gathering people in a family together , C.N. Le , the author of the article “Tet, a Celebration of Rebirth “ insists , the ritual is to invite the souls of the ancestors to come spending Tet with the family.(par 6) Everyone, from the youngest to the oldest takes turn to bow down before the altar. After the ceremony, adults and children lights up firecrackers and bang the gongs to make loud noises to usher out the old and welcome the New Year and also to scare away the evil spirits. Furthermore , Vietnamese people are very superstitious about what they do on New Year’s Day. The events on New Year’s Day determine the luck for the rest of the year. Although, everything and everyone people are in touch with on New Year’s Day should symbolize good fortune. Contradictingly, It is the unspoken forbiddance to not visit people who are in mourning because they are associated with death. The people who are mourning do not take this as an offensive deed but actually understand that they shouldn’t have any visitors. There are three days to celebrate the New Year. On the first day of New Year, the family displays the offerings of food on alter as the first meal for the ancestors since they have returned home. This is the day where the families are united and gets to spend a lot of times together. According to Hoa Tran Phuong, the author of the article “Happy New Year” comments , people believe the first day of Tet is the most important day during this holiday because it will decide how their lives are going to look like during the year , therefore everyone wants to give luck to each other.( Par4)On Tet days, parents and adults would give children red envelop with money tuck inside, which represent a symbol of good luck. Families visit temple or churches to pray. Since most Vietnamese do not celebrate birthdays, Tet is consider everyone birthday. It is considered New Year therefore it marks a new age for everyone. On the second and third day of New Year, families visit relatives and close friends. On this day, the streets are swarm with people and the atmosphere is very cheerful , Graf Christine , the author of the article “TET: CELEBRATIONS THE NEW YEAR” adds, on the these last day of Tet , people want to bring luck and show respect to the others in order to hope for the better year that is coming(Par 14). There would be performances of lion dances and dragon dances, while people shoot firecrackers and gamble in the streets. The circle of connections becomes larger and is extended to the broader community outside the family by visits to teachers, bosses or a helpful physician to show respect. The third day marks the ending of the celebration. For most Vietnamese, Tet is a time for family gatherings, a time to pay respects to their ancestors, a time to relax from all the hard work from the previous year, and a time to forget the pass and live for the present and the future.
Tet is considered the most important event for all the Vietnamese people. Because this is the scared holiday and it brings people together to celebrate the New Year. This is time for people to gather together and build up a better relationship. It also reminds people to remember to theirs ancestors and also time for people to show respect and bring luck to each other.
Vietnam Institute. (2010). Retrieved September 10, 2014, from http://vietnam.missouri.edu/CultureCorner.html Baldwin, R. E. (2012, January 1). ESBCO. Retrieved September 10, 2014, from ESBCO host: http://web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?sid=179f093a-7f38-4f57-a2e2-260486c3e350%40sessionmgr4005&vid=0&hid=4107&bdata=JmF1dGh0eXBlPWNvb2tpZSxjcGlkJmN1c3RpZD1jY3NmJnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=n5h&AN=2W62721693586 Graf, C. (2012, September). ESBCO. Retrieved September 10, 2014, from ESBCO host: http://web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?sid=b8f0fbb4-a206-43da-8fad-9eecc918a73c%40sessionmgr4005&vid=0&hid=4107&bdata=JmF1dGh0eXBlPWNvb2tpZSxjcGlkJmN1c3RpZD1jY3NmJnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=f5h&AN=79369294 Ha, K. (2008, October 10). Vietnamese Student Association at North Carolina State Univercity. Retrieved September 10, 2014, from NCSU: http://clubs.ncsu.edu/vsa/www/festivals/tet/tet.html Le, C. (2014, January 31). Asiannation. Retrieved September 10, 2014, from Asiannation: http://www.asian-nation.org/tet.shtml