Many foreigners have had spectacular experiences of what Tet (Lunar New Year) is like via myriad interesting activities at a recent festival in Vietnam.
The 2016 Tet Viet (Vietnamese Tet) Festival was held last Saturday on the campus of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City, attended by hundreds of foreigners from many countries, including the U.S., Belarus, South Korea, and others.
Most of them were excited by the unique experience of participating in diverse traditional activities held at the festival, particularly making sticky rice cakes, a special treat cooked to show appreciation to the ancestors, and receiving red envelopes, which are believed to bring good fortune in the Lunar New year.
Falling on February 8, Tet is the biggest celebration in Vietnam whose meaning honors family reunion and recreation, with all members treated to sticky rice cakes and expressing the best wishes for one another and gratitude to the ancestry.
Victoria, a participant from Belarus, described the experience as ‘splendid.’
“This is the first time I’ve come to Vietnam and I was excited to take part in Vietnamese Lunar New Year traditions,” she said.
“Believe me or not, my friend and I even wrapped some sticky rice cakes with our own hands. Just can’t wait to taste our creations.”
Similarly, Ann Wagner, an American woman, and her husband also expressed their satisfaction with the festival.
“Although having lived in Vietnam since September of last year, this is the first time we have experienced a true Vietnamese Tet tradition,” Wagner told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper. “It’s a delightful and meaningful occasion.”
Tet Viet is an annual event organized by students of the International Exchange Club at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities.
Besides stalls featuring Vietnamese Tet cuisine, traditional activities like tug of war, playing jump rope, performing traditional dances and songs also attracted plenty of participants.
Pham Tran Nguyet Minh, a member of the organizing board said, “To show the value of Vietnamese culture as well as to introduce amazing Tet traditions to the world, Tet Viet is organized with harmony and happiness.”
“By joining our festivities, not only can one try a variety of dishes exclusively served on Tet holidays, but also explore further the custom of giving and receiving red envelopes as well as writing parallel sentences for endowing blessings.”