Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Nha Trang Tet Again

Tet is a chance for family reunions, a good chance for me to meet up with all my good friends, my family and relatives. After lots of preparations for Tet, the last day of the year went by and my sisters and I went out to have a look at the fireworks which the government normally organises. This year it was weird because nothing happened at midnight! There were thousands of people crowding the square near the beach who waited around for nothing. A bit disappointing.

When visiting Nha Trang at this time of the year, you will notice the different in the way people celebrate immediately after midnight. There are lots of people selling long stems of sugar cane and other tree just before the eve, and lots of people stop by and buy them as a lucky symbol for the new year and to take home. After 12, people go to pagodas to pray. Predictably and sadly, there are so many beggars lining the path to the pagoda asking for money. Most people hand over small amounts money to these people to give them a hand and wish them luck as well. Beggars earn lots of money in this occasion.

Nha Trang's people also spend heaps of money on decorating their houses, though not as much as other big cities. The local government also spends lots of money preparing for the tet especially opening and repairing special places for kids such as parks, water park.... These places are always full of kids having fun.

As in other Vietnamese families, my mother buys some fruit and cakes to put on the tray and leaves them out in the front yard as an offering, ridding the house of bad luck and wishing for good luck for the coming year before burning the ceremonial money.

Li xi (lucky money) is something that most people have to give at this time of the year, which can be expensive. It depends on who you happen to meet. If we meet relatives, family or good friends, we usually give anything from 50,000Vnd. If we meet acquaitances , we give from 10,000Vnd to 50,000Vnd. Before giving them the money in a red envelope, we wish them luck for the coming year.

Nha Trang is a holiday destination for southern people who live in neighbouring provinces, where they can enjoy the sunshine, beaches, bars and good food. There are also lots of people from the north or even from the centre of Viet nam who come here as well. They usually visit islands for a day, go to pagodas, temples for another day and they spend most evenings in seafood restaurants and bars late at night. It's really a safe place to hang around late at night, you can walk on the the beach for the fresh air or drive along the main streets without any problems.

12 comments:

black feline said...

The long sugar canes are used by the hokkien group back in singapore on the ninth day of lunar new year...it's called praying to heavenly hosts...by the way...the seventh day is known as everybody's birthday....

fooDcrazEE said...

TU, Chinese and Vietnamese shares similar culture..even the language

li xi = lai see in Cantonese Chinese...hehehehe

Chuc Mung Nam Moi

shaz said...

hey tu,
happy belated new year from me in singapore! i would have loved to eat the ba chung that's popular in vietnam.. new year's celebrated in a big way here in singapore as well. p.s. missed the cool weather in hanoi. its sizzling hot here.

slurp! said...

over here at SG, only married couple needs to give out red packets. And singles only collects them hehehe ...

Winn said...

we call it li xi too :) hahah
or ang pow!

Ann Spam said...

You've just taken me on a Vietnamese culture lesson.

Thanks!

I like to chew sugar cane...

Aarya said...

Good to know about the traditions in Vietnam. Very informative

Crystal said...

Interesting that you mention the beggars, because my Indian blogfriend was recently posting about the same thing and people disagreed whether it's a good idea to give food/money to beggars. Anyway, thanks for describing your cultural traditions!

Mridula said...

I enjoyed reading about your culture, and I am the person Crystal mentioned above.

Godknows said...

Hi,
Crystal, Thanks for introduced your friend, she has a great blog.
slurp, Thats lucky because you don't need to spend lots of money hehe:)
Shaz, freezing in Hanoi during the Tet, lucky you with the hot weather. I prefer the heat than the cold Shaz.
Ann Spam: chewing sugar cane is good for your teeth mate.
Winn, fooDcrazEE, hope to see you during the Tet so that you can give me come LAI SEE :)
black feline. thanks for the NEW traditional from Singapore.

Anonymous said...

You are a Vietnamse, but how come you spell Viet Nam, and Ha Noi stick together as one word? I thought that only Americans make that mistake. Anyway, please check out my blog, namasia.blogspot.com.

Godknows said...

Hi,
I don't think that's a big deal. thanks for your comment.