The Lunar new year is celebrated by many Asian communities. Over the years I have noticed that many communities do not realise that the Lunar New Year is also celebrated by people from an Asian background other than Chinese. This also applies to the City of Monash. One of the celebrations that many people were not aware of is the Vietnamese Tet Lunar New Year. Because of this I would like to share some information on the Tet.
The Vietnamese Lunar New Year (Tet) is one of the most important celebrations amongst the Vietnamese community.
The 31st of January 2014 was the first day of the New Year. They use the same Lunar Calendar that Chinese community uses to celebrate the New Year. The years are represented by the 12 zodiac animals: rat, buffalo, tiger, cat, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. The Zodiac Animal for 2014 was the horse.
The Asian community in Australia may not follow the exact customs as in Vietnam. Here are some of the ways the Tet is celebrated or followed:
- To get rid of the bad luck of the old year, people will spend a few days cleaning their homes, may even repaint and decorate the house with kumquat tree, branches of peach blossom, and many other colourful flowers
- The family’s ancestral altar which is usually in the main room of the house is cleaned and decorated with five kinds of fruits and votive papers, along with many religious rituals.
- Everybody, especially children, buy new clothes and shoes to wear on the first days of New Year
- They believe that the colour of red and yellow will bring good fortune
- It is believed that dawn of Tet will determine their fate for the whole year, so they make an effort to be as nice possible as they and have a better year
- Gifts are given to family members, relatives and friends, Children receive luck money on a red envelope and also children may give lucky money to parents to help give them a prosperous life
- Some of the food that is consumed during the Tet are the Banh Chung (steamed square cake) made from rice, mung bean and pork and the Xoi Gac (sticky rice with special “gac” fruit). The Xoi Gac is red colour and symbolizes the luck and new achievement for the New Year
In 2015 will the City of Monash include the Vietnamese community or other Asian communities in the Lunar New Year celebrations? What are the community’s thoughts on this?