HANOI, Vietnam – Celebrating Tet, or the Lunar New Year, in Vietnam is great fun and centers on four key elements.
Like many other Eastern nations, fireworks displays are a must-have celebration to mark the beginning of the Lunar New Year for Vietnam. This year, the fireworks display was scheduled at midnight on the first day of the Lunar New Year, which fell on January 30 this year, and lasted 15 minutes.
Fireworks cannons are set up in popular places such as parks and stadiums all over the country. In the capital Hanoi, where 29 fireworks spots were set, thousands of Vietnamese crowded around Hoan Kiem Lake to cherish the celebration. This spectacular scene was also broadcast live on the three main public channels.
A fireworks display, as seen from a residential neighborhood in Hanoi, welcomes the Lunar New Year. (Minh Nguyen/YJI)
Though it may falter in beauty and grandeur compared to fireworks displays in Australia or Italy, the Vietnam
fireworks display has become an indispensable part of the Tet holiday celebration, a moment when all differences fade in place of hope and joy.
Visiting relatives is the sentimental core of the Tet holiday. Conversations can surround success stories of members throughout the recent year or simply be reminiscence of family incidents that date back decades. From our perspective, people do not visit others with a clear agenda of what to discuss. It is normally the deliberate act of visiting one’s relatives that signals care, gratitude and brings joy to all.
Lucky money is something peculiar to the Tet holiday. It’s also something to look forward to, especially
if you are a kid.
Giving and receiving lucky money is a popular custom on the Lunar New Year. (Minh Nguyen/YJI)
Adults hand out a small amount of money in beautiful envelopes that carry the typical color of the Lunar New Year – red. It is a gesture of wishing someone great luck, health and success.
Though the money notes may not have high values, they are typically new and in great form. Lucky money can be kept throughout the year as a charm and red envelopes saved as a keepsake. The excitement of receiving lucky money adds to the festivity of the Tet holiday as well as the overall feeling of hope and gratitude.
Finally, Chinese calligraphy is another well-kept Vietnamese tradition during Tet.
Originally written in grinded ink on red paper, Chinese characters now come in various shapes and sizes, framed and gold-plated to suit modern demands.
For the first three days of Tet, people of all ages usually pour out into the streets to shop for elegant Chinese characters and parallel sentences given by elder scholars sitting on pavements. In Hanoi, the most popular destination to get decent Chinese
calligraphy is the Temple of Literature, which attracts scores of students every year wishing for success in their examinations.
Chinese calligraphy bears the mastery of the writer, the well-meaning of the character, and the spirit of the holiday.
Van Nguyen is a Reporter and Chi Le is a Senior Reporter for Youth Journalism International.
At the Lunar New Year, people in Hanoi visit the pagoda for new year wishes and peace of mind. (Minh Nguyen/YJI)