Friday, February 1, 2008

TET in Vietnam---

Our agency is having a TET party this next Thursday night. We went last year and we are looking forward to it again this year. It's a chance to meet some of the waiting families, families who are just starting the process and families who are home with their children. I hope everyone in the Nashville area is coming-we look forward to meeting you. Our February newsletter had some information about TET. I am going to share some of this newsletter for my family.

TET year of the Rat is a huge celebration lasting three days. Families save money, store food and plan far in advance for this major holiday in Vietnam. They buy new clothes, paint and clean their homes, cook three days worth of food, pay off all debts and make amends to rid themselves of all bad feelings. Cleaning is frowned on during Tet because one would not want to sweep out any good luck.
The marketplace is very busy the week before Tet, as people buy food, trinkets, firecrackers, flowers, and other items in anticipation of the holiday. At four o'clock in the afternoon on Tet eve all the markets close down so the people can go home and prepare for midnight when Tet begins. The atmosphere is very festive. Incense is burned in the homes. The color Red, symbolizing good luck and happiness is seen everywhere. There are dragon dances at night. Food is plentiful, homes are decorated, parks are full of crowds of people dressed in their best new clothes and for three days the people have a fabulous celebration.
Not only is Tet the beginning of a New Year, it is also everyone's birthday. The Vietnamese do not acknowledge the exact day they were born. A baby turns one on Tet no matter when he/she was born that year. Children say they were born in the year of the symbol of the lunar calendar for that year. On the first morning of Tet, adults congratulate children on becoming a year older by presenting them with red envelopes that contain "Lucky Money," or li xi. These envelopes are given to the children by parents, siblings, relatives and close friends.

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