International friends enjoy Tet in Vietnam

Published:  11:25 Monday - February 04, 2013

International friends enjoy Tet in Vietnam

In addition to an exciting experience, foreign visitors to Vietnam tour this time of year will gain a better understanding of the country’s traditions and culture by experiencing the Vietnamese people’s preparations for the upcoming lunar New Year (Tet) celebrations.

For many foreigners, the traditional Vietnamese Tet has become a special tourism attraction, offering a good opportunity for the country to introduce its true colours and traditions to the international community.

VOV is providing an online forum for international guests in Vietnam to share their experiences and feelings about the festive season in the S-shaped country.

Steve Groff, a visitor from the UK, says, “I’m looking forward to enjoying Tet in Vietnam”

I think, Tet in Vietnam may look like the Christmas season in my home country, which brings to mind many things such as family reunions and time spent together with loved ones. Tet in Vietnam, of course, is a little different than the holly-draped version of my memories.

Tet does provide a reason to decorate, go shopping, or just go out and have a party, but that is clearly only setting the stage for the real holiday, Tet.

For foreigners, Tet is a sometimes bewildering but almost always heartwarming season. The overwhelming impression is of the hospitality of almost everyone you run into during Tet; you get invited to so many Tet feasts that you shouldn’t be hungry again until around June!

Tet is the time here to be with family, and Vietnamese do this with such single-mindedness that there is literally no one on the streets. After a month in which the normally busy streets are even more hectic with everyone preparing for Tet, when the big day actually comes my neighborhood in central Hanoi is astonishingly empty.

It really does feel like a different place, the street vendors, the sidewalk eateries, the cafes and restaurants, the shoeshine guys, the motorbike taxi guys, the sidewalk motorbike mechanics, the sidewalk barber… everyone has gone home to eat banh chung and visit with all their relatives.

The city streets, for just these few days out of the year, are peaceful places. Don’t worry about too much quietness though, you will be feasting and making merry with friends, both new and old.

Happy New Year to all who have the good fortune to be in Vietnam for Tet! Greg Nelson from the US: “I’ll travel to the beautiful beaches in central Vietnam during Tet”

Living in Vietnam for many years and knowing Vietnamese Tet as well as the back of his hand, I am still eager to welcome this upcoming Tet when I’ll go on a tour to central Danang city with my girlfriend.

The beaches are always wonderful, especially during Tet holiday when Vietnamese people are always busy preparing their family parties and visiting relatives and friends. It’s nice to move far from a peaceful Hanoi with few people on the street and silent atmosphere during Tet.

This year, Danang is my destination to celebrate New Year’s Eve and enjoy meaningful time with my beloved.

David Frank, a French tourist, says, “I am impressed by the busy shopping and cozy atmosphere before Tet”

Following my friends’ suggestion, I pay a month-long visit to Vietnam where I am traveling to different provinces and cities in all three regions of the country.

I moved from one place to another in both of Vietnam’s two major cities – Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, however, I decided to celebrate the New Year in Hue – the former capital city in central Vietnam.

I love Hue people, they’re charming and hospitable. The traditional foods there are so tasty and special I always eat too much and get very full!

I already experienced Christmas in Vietnam when I spent time going out and being with friends drinking rice wine and eating hotpot. We also had, hot chocolate and cookies. It was really fun, and created a lot of good cheer and memories.

I’ve heard many things about special Vietnamese Tet traditions, particularly “first-footing” and “lucky money.” I hope to explore these traditions more in Hue this year.

I would like to send my best very wishes to all the people in Vietnam during Tet.

Perri Black, a foreign editor for VOV, shares: “May the upcoming Year of the Dragon bring peace and prosperity to all”

Tet is a very interesting time in Hanoi. The month or so before the actual New Year’s Day is a bit like the frantic month-long build up to the Christmas holiday in the US.

People in Hanoi enthusiastically begin their Tet preparations on January 1, after the Western New Year’s Eve festivities the night before. Supermarkets and shopping centers are jammed with all kinds of seasonal goodies in bright, glittering packaging and shoppers gleefully sort through them to find just the right things. The festive spirit is palpable and seems to permeate everything.

It’s a great time to be in Hanoi and you can’t help but get caught up in the general excitement. The traffic increases alarmingly, which can be bit unnerving, but people are always in a good mood and look forward to spending time with family and friends. The restaurants are packed with partiers singing along to Abba’ ‘Happy New Year’ and the mass exodus out of the city a few days before New Year is amazing!

It all comes to a grinding halt about 3pm on New Year’s Eve and an eerie, expectant quiet falls over the city as everyone awaits midnight, fireworks and the beginning of the official holiday. In the days that follow the streets are relatively quiet but pagodas and temples are mobbed. As a foreigner, you will probably receive numerous invitations to visit friends’ homes during the holiday, and they are well worth accepting to enjoy the true spirit of Tet, sample the traditional foods, and welcome in the New Year.

I want to wish everyone the best of luck in their Tet preparations and a safe and happy holiday with their families. May the upcoming Year of the Dragon bring peace and prosperity to all.

Source: CPV

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