About the author: Mindy Sun is a graduate student from Vietnam studying Business Administration. She is a Global Leader with ISSS and also serves on the iSucceed Mentorship Program Advisory Board.
I have been living and studying in the U.S. as an international student since 2014. No matter how long I’ve lived in the U.S., one thing I really miss around this time each year is Tết Nguyên Đán, which you may know as Lunar New Year. I am writing this blog post to share how we usually celebrate this most special occasion of the year to hopefully bring a piece of Vietnamese culture to all of you in the U.S., who may also be international students living away from home. The following is a guide to how Vietnamese celebrate Tết. Enjoy!
Happy Lunar New Year!
Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash
We’re celebrating the Year of the Ox on Saturday, February 13, 2021 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. (PT) with a virtual Lunar New Years Celebration. Register online, and join your Global Leaders for this fun, social mixer. Whether you celebrate the Lunar New Year regularly or just want to learn more about it, we invite you to join us!
Curious about how the Lunar New Year is celebrated in various cultures? We asked our Global Leaders to share more about how they celebrate in their home countries. Here’s what they shared…
Harry from Macau
- How do you say, “Happy new year” in your language? “Gong hei fat choy” is the most common Chinese New Year greeting in Cantonese. It directly translates to “wishing you great happiness and prosperity.”
- What do you typically do to celebrate the Lunar New Year? Get a lot of money from my relatives, and then my mom will “keep” it for me
- What special food do you eat at New Years? Chicken
- What’s your favorite thing about New Years? Holiday from school.
Mindy from Vietnam
- How do you say, “Happy new year” in your language? Chuc Mung Nam Moi
- What do you typically do to celebrate the Lunar New Year? My family and I usually start to prepare for Lunar New Year, or Tet, about a week prior to the holiday. First of all, we would clean every corner of the house (because, strangely enough, dust brings luck, and so during the first three days of the year, you wouldn’t want to sweep the floor). We would also buy apricot blossoms, a few nice photo frames, and little pretty things to decorate around the house for many guests coming over on the first day. Of course, the adult will prepare red envelopes with lucky money insides, ready to give to the kids during Tet as a gesture of good luck.
- What special food do you eat at New Years? Before, when I was little and my grandmother was
Bahn Chung (sticky rice cakes) www.vietworldkitchen.com
still healthy, she used to cook savory sticky rice cake and caramelized pork and eggs, which are special food for Tet. Both of the dishes take a lot of time (around two days), effort, and love to make. In recent years, since my brother, cousins, and I are all studying abroad during Tet, the adults at home celebrate with smaller and simpler dishes. My absolute favorite side dish is the Vietnamese-style salty vegetable pickles that can be eaten with sticky rice cake or porridge. I can happily enjoy it any single day.
- What’s your favorite thing about New Years? I like how everyone tends to be nicer around this time of the year since we believe what we do and how we act on the first day of the year will set a standard for the whole year. On top of that, I like seeing my family together cleaning, cooking, and exchanging good wishes. I could only come home once to celebrate Tet in the past seven years of staying in the U.S., yet it left me lovely memories. My mom and cousins spent the whole day driving around Saigon to take Tet photos for me in my Vietnamese traditional dress.
Song from China
- How do you say, “Happy new year” in your language? 新年好 Xin Nian Hao
Writing spring couplets (www.ichongqing.info)
- What do you typically do to celebrate the Lunar New Year? We always celebrate the lunar New Year with writing the spring couplet with good wishes and have a family reunion dinner together.
- What special food do you eat at New Years? The Special food for Lunar New Year includes rice cake which we normally do not eat.
- What’s your favorite thing about New Years? Able to get red envelope is my favorite.
Thi from Vietnam
Yuyi from China
- How do you say, “Happy new year” in your language? 新年快乐 Xīnnián kuàilè
- What do you typically do to celebrate the Lunar New Year? We usually have a family dinner together, make dumplings together, cut window decorations, and write Spring Festival couplets.
- What special food do you eat at New Years? Dumplings
- What’s your favorite thing about New Years? Lucky envelope!
Lucky envelope or red envelope, often filled with money, symbolize good fortune and prosperity. Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash
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