Lunar New Year – known as the most important celebration in Asian culture – is a special occasion for pilgrims and family reunions as well as for celebrating the arrival of spring. In Vietnamese culture, we call Lunar New Year as “Tet Nguyen Dan” or “Tết”, which is translated as “Feast of the First Morning of the First Day”. The word “Nguyen” represents a new beginning and “Dan” means new dawn.
After more than 2 years affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, this is a great holiday for our family to reunite in our hometown.
We left Da Nang City to return to our hometown, which is more than 500km away, and traveled by train (took about 10 hours to arrive).
Experiencing by train is the most wonderful thing in the journey, seeing the beautiful scenery of cities and countryside all over the country, my dear Vietnam. And you know, the feeling of being reunited with family after many years apart is really hard to describe. I miss my family and home so much!!!
— on the Train —
After a long journey, we finally reached the house, and in front of my eyes was the “Cây Nêu – Eve tree” with bright flashing lights.
— Cây Nêu – Eve tree —
We had happy reunion moments, it’s a pity I couldn’t capture those moments!!! And we had a warm dinner with all the family members!
The Next Day (2 Days before New Year’s Eve)
I and my Dad make the “Banh Chung” together.
Banh Chung (Sticky square cake) is a food that they make from glutinous rice, mung bean, and pork, added with many other ingredients. It is covered by green leaves and symbolizes the Earth, invented by Prince Lang Lieu from the Hung King dynasty. Banh Chung is the main food for the Tet holiday because it can last for long days in Vietnamese weather. To cook the cake, we have to boil it continuously for 7-8 hours.
— Banh Chung —
The most sacred moment is New Year’s Eve, the time to move from the old year to the new year.
We would always hold the small ceremony on our terrace under the sky unless it was raining. We set up a small table, placed small plates for each of the dishes made, my parents lighted some scent sticks, recited the prayers and then we moved on to burning the paper clothing and monopoly-like money for the 3 deities. We even had a goldfish, as a replacement for the carp that took the deities to the sky. As soon as the prayers and the burning of the offerings were completed, the clock hit midnight and the fireworks started. My parents always had their timing precise.
The First Morning of New Year!!!
During this period, there are many traditional customs that are only practiced during this special occasion such as ancestor worship, visiting a person’s house on the first day of the new year (xông nhà), New Year’s greetings, giving lucky money to children and elderly people…
— The sky in my hometown —
My little daughter explores everything with “first time”.
After the break first, my whole family goes together to my grandparents and relatives to visit and wish them good health.
After a long time without seeing everyone, things changed a lot. But luckily everyone is healthy.
We spent 3 days visiting relatives. In the end, all fun comes to an end. We prepare to return to Da Nang City (where my family lives and works).
— On the Train go back to Danang City —
Back in Da Nang, our family went on a spring trip together. Visit the very beautiful flower garden in Da Nang. Our little one seems to like this place very much, she is in harmony with nature.