(DISCLAIMER: This article is originally published at itsrandomtina blog site and written by Cristina.)
Perhaps, some of you are most likely reading this blog during your coffee break or lunch break, or before hitting the sack, during the time you could have spent playing your dog, goofing around with your friends or simply getting some groceries with your family for a certain occasion. These are simple pleasure that I really miss living—for others, for love, for insanity and for “something” especially Christmas and New Year because it is the most important holiday in the Philippines, where in you can see Christmas decors on streets starts from September and it doesn’t stop until January and even maybe February. Lol. Christmas party, Christmas caroling, Christmas gifts, Christmas bonus and Christmas foods are just around the corner.Everything is full of HAPPINESS.
And you think Vietnam is rowdy and fancy when they celebrate Christmas and New Year’s? Well, No. However, the biggest thing I know is that they celebrate it with their family and friends especially Tet Holiday(Lunar New Year). Here are the common activities that bring them closer on their much awaited event of the year.
My friends and I were left on the road with scorching heat of the sun, heavy luggage and buses that are rare to catch since everyone is going home. As we walked towards the road that took us forever, a black car stopped and a man approached us “Where we going?”. Thank heaven you arrived. Simply stated, we hopped into the car and dropped us off in the province of Kim Bang, Hanam Province.
The city doesn’t have the complete steel skeleton buildings but rather a vast terrain of green fields that I saw by the window.I was surprised to myself because I wasn’t talking the whole time but back in my mind, I was so excited about random things like the sunshine, meeting new faces, riding on the motorbike, eating new foods and just simply walking along the road while talking silly stuff.It’s a bomb!
We went down for a while from the motorbike road trip to watch the sunset and take a photo with these big heads, Thao Nguyen (lurking behind me) and CheChe (trying to take to take the perfect shot in front of me)
We are so grateful to the Nguyen family for adopting Cheche and I for four days and letting us play like a kid in front of their humble house and feel us like we’re home.
2.Lucky money for children and elderly people
A mantra that can make the children even happier on Tet Holiday is by thought of “It’s better to give than to receive”. This tradition is one of the most anticipated activities of all Vietnamese children aside from the long vacation break from school because they can get lucky money that brings luck and wellness for them and more blessings to the givers as well.
But hey hey hey, senior people receive red envelopes as well in lucky amounts, but whether it is a small or big amount of money or even whether or not it’s possible to influence good luck into your life, what matters most is the natural good luck for the upcoming year and your winning attitude to spot the opportunities on your way.
So, yeah.I got a magical spell that really works for me this year because my friend Thao, gave me a red envelope with a Japanese yen inside last Tet holiday that’s how old I am for being considered senior citizen.Lol
3. Making Chun cake
I was on the small kitchen fence with a huge pot of water going for a long time so we make the most out of it by entertaining my friends on how to walk like a “Miss Universe” with a solo singing performance with my fellow friend . But gracious goodness, even if how many times I walk back and forth, the process of cooking of the Vietnamese rice square cake or better known as “banh chung” is time-consuming and requires bloody sweat.
After one day and one night, I have finally tasted the familiar food for every family that should have during Tet festival, especially north side of Vietnam. The sticky rice is not as sweet as I expected but as mellow as cheddar cheese and full-flavored with mung beans, pork and sticky rice all in one packed.
Working one corner at a time by looking after this huge pot with a wrapped-green- leave sticky rice.
4. Wishing for a Happy New Year
In the morning of our last day of Lunar New Year, my friend, Thao dragged us somewhere else to visit her relative’s home to wish them a Happy New Year and showing respect and gratitude to each other aside from giving gifts to their grandparents, cousins and relatives to welcome their new age.
That one thing that we normally do back home, when we particularly invite most of our relatives to come and spend sitting at the table all day long eating and talking without stopping.And if you bring one person with you on spot, we are more than happy to say “Come on over and join our party”.
From the three of us, wishing you a Happy Lunar New Year!!!
5. Visiting Pagodas and temples
Back in the Sunday morning of an empty roads in Hanoi, the clouds are parted and my minds cleared with unexpected invitation from one of the students of my friend that we’re heading down to Perfume Pagoda (Chua Huong) of Vietnam from Hanoi.It was a full-day trip that makes me more appreciate the beauty of their own culture how Vietnamese people respect and be humble when visiting their favorite temples and pagodas even how serious crowds may bring on their way.
We passed by on this busy road while riding on the bus on our way to Hanoi.
My friend takes a slight pose in this holy site named “Perfume Pagoda.”BTW, please be reminded that if you visit one of these holy sites, you have to make sure your legs and shoulders are covered as what as she does.
And if you’re an expat living in Vietnam, please be reminded that during Tet Holiday, everything in between like restaurants, supermarkets, drugstores, museums and theaters will be closed forever.I’m just kidding!So, you better pull yourself and prepared with random experience.Enjoy your Tet Holiday!