More than 300 expat Vietnamese joined a cozy Tet (Lunar New Year) gathering in Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday, which serves as an annual reminder of their home country’s long-standing traditions.
Over the past four years, Duong My Hue, an expat Vietnamese, and her friends have organized a Tet gathering in her garden home in the city’s District 2.
The program, called “Tet Que Nha” (Tet in home country,) received around 90 participants in its first year in 2011, and the number soared to over 300 this year, Hue said. Tet- the country’s largest traditional holiday- will kick off on Thursday, with festive activity lingering on around one week after that.
Hue’s garden featured southern rustic settings and items, including “xich lo” (pedicab,) cottages, and bamboo table sets.
Other highlights include a wide array of Tet’s delicacies, art and folk games such as calligraphy, “to he” (a traditional toy for children in Vietnam which is made from rice powder,) and “lac bau cua” (a traditional card game.)
In their traditional outfits, such as “ao dai” (Vietnamese long gown) and “ao tu than” (four-part dress for northern Vietnamese women), many participants expressed their delight at the items and settings which were reminiscent of Tet celebrations in their home country.
A group of expat Vietnamese is seen at the Tet gathering held in February 15, 2015. Photo: Tuoi Tre.
Nguyen Tat Cuong and Nguyen Thi Nhung, who have lived in France for over 40 years, shared that the first thing they did upon arriving in Vietnam is buying traditional attires at Ben Thanh Market in the downtown city.
Lan Dai, a 63-year-old Vietnamese French citizen, uttered her delight that it was the first time for many years that she has donned the traditional costume.
Minh Van, Dai’s daughter-in-law, excitedly added that it was also her children’s first Tet in Vietnam.
Vietnamese French Lan Dai (second left) introduced items of “to he” (a traditional toy for children in Vietnam which is made from rice powder) to her young grandchildren. Photo: Tuoi Tre.
The program also featured traditional art performances and Vietnamese delicacy cooking sessions.
Hue added that the program raised VND70 million (US$3,262) for Tuoi Tre (Youth) Newspaper’s “Uoc Mo cua Thuy” (Thuy’s Dream) fund for child cancer patients, and another VND30 million in Tet gifts for needy, elderly people.
Part of the calligraphy section at the Tet gathering held on February 15, 2015. Photo: Tuoi Tre.
A “Tao Quan” (Kitchen Gods) play kicked off the Tet gathering's art performances. Photo: Tuoi Tre.
An expat Vietnamese business couple (white outfits) spent two months rehearsing their performance. Photo: Tuoi Tre.
Expat Vietnamese women are seen performing a spring-themed mashup. Photo: Tuoi Tre.
Duong My Hue, initiator of an annual Tet program called “Tet Que Nha” (Tet in home country,) poses with the “banh tet” (cylindrical glutinous rice cake,) which were handed away to participants before they left the February 15, 2015 gathering. Photo: Tuoi Tre.