Celebrating Vietnamese New Year

February 3, 2006

Source: Religion and Ethics Newsweekly


On February 3, 2006 Religion and Ethics Newsweekly ran a feature article on the celebration of the Vietnamese new year by a community in Springfield. Nguyen Ngoc Bich, one member of this community describes the celebration and its importance, "Tet, the Vietnamese new year, is by far the biggest festival during the year. The Vietnamese are known to be what you call eclectics. We like to pick what we believe to be the best part of various traditions.Many Vietnamese, even when they are not Buddhists, still feel themselves very close to many of the ideas of Buddhism, and that's why one essential part of celebrating Tet is to go to the Buddhist temple to pray to Buddha... At the dot of midnight, between the old year and the new year, there you pray to the Jade Emperor, the Emperor of Heaven. And he is asked to come and witness the change between the little god that oversaw last year and the new god which is to come and oversee the new year. Tet is a time when we ask the ancestor[s] to come back to give us their blessing. It's believed the ancestors also have a life in another world. That's why in Vietnam sometimes you burn offerings to the ancestors so that, hopefully, they can enjoy all these things, even money -- to use it over there."