Happy Lunar New Year!
The warmer weather really makes it feel like xuân(spring) is here. It’s interesting how Tết is usually in January or February but it’s considered spring… I guess maybe in Vietnam it is considered spring? Anyways, southern California is having a very warm week, with temperatures in the 80s, so it feels almost like spring or summer.
Tết is one of the most important holidays celebrated by the Vietnamese, according to my parents. It was a day where everyone got a new pair of clothes to wear, and many red envelopes(lì xì) were given to children by their elders(not without a warm wishing of good health, lots of money, a happy life, etc to your elders of course). It was like a national holiday, and people didn’t have to go to work or school for a couple days(or week? I don’t remember haha) so they could celebrate with their families and neighbors.
Tết holds a special place in my heart, and I have so so many memories from the past years. Fun fact, I actually wrote one of my college application essays about my Tết experience in San Jose.
What I love most about Tết is its vibrancy and traditions. I’m lucky to have grown up in Orange County, where there is a huge Vietnamese population and where Tết is celebrated largely. I also have lots of family in San Jose, where I’ve been lucky enough to go to celebrate this holiday. The cool thing about San Jose is the fact that they let you light firecrackers in your own home. I remember my uncles tying up the firecracker in front of my grandma’s house and lighting it to ring in the new year. The firecrackers are really loud and leave little red shrapnels and smoke behind, but it’s a really fun experience to have.
Next week, I will be going home to celebrate with my friends and family in Orange County. I’m looking forward to eating my favorite Tết foods, bánh tét and mứt dừa, as well as going to the festivals and seeing firecrackers and múa lân(lion dance).
I haven’t been keeping track, but apparently it is the Year of the Monkey this year. This is your year, people born in the year of the monkey 😉