Our Tet Holiday is coming, I’m sure that all of you are excited about Tet. I’m excited too because i’m going to be back home after 4 month living far away from my hometown. I guess that all of you must know for sure many things about Tet. But the Lunar New Year (in our country we call it Tet)has more interested things. These are some fun facts about Lunar New Year, maybe you know some or most or even all of them, it’s Ok, just some fun for the coming of a new year so just have fun ^^
The New Year varies from year to year because the lunar cycle is about 29.5 days. Every seven years an extra month is added, rather like the custom of adding an extra day during leap years.
The Chinese celebrate the new year over a 15-day period, while the Vietnamese observe it for 7 days, each of which culminates in a firecracker-popping, dragon dancing festival. Both cultures emphasize family (living and dead), friends, and starting the year out right—how one begins the year predicts the way the rest of the year will be. This means meticulous cleaning and in some cases painting their houses before the start of the new year, donning new clothes, and avoiding arguments, foul language and unlucky words. Clearing old debts and visits with family are valued practices of both China and Vietnam.
To cry on New Year’s Day is to cry all year long, so children are indulged and never spanked. Elders and relatives give children red envelopes with money for good fortune.
The old year and its spirits are banished by sweeping the floors before New Year’s Day. (Don’t sweep on New Year’s Day itself—you’ll sweep away the new year if you do.) Shooting fireworks on New Year’s Eve scares away the old year, and households open up windows and doors at midnight as exits for the old year.
The Chinese and Vietnamese pay tribute to the Kitchen God at the end of a lunar year. The Kitchen God’s mission is to inform the chief spirits of a family’s behavior over the past year. A household burns a paper image of the Kitchen God, so that he may ascend to the Jade Emperor in the heavens. The Chinese include a paper horse to lift him on his journey, while the Vietnamese prefer a carp fish. Some families smear the lips of the Kitchen God with honey or sweet glutinous rice, to ensure he says sweet things about them.
At New Year, special emphasis is placed on the symbology of different foods. Certain ones represent gold, or wealth, while others suggest wishes for good health, longevity, togetherness, and completeness. Citrus, like oranges and tangerines, resemble gold and represent abundant happiness and wealth, and you should bring a bag of fruit when calling on family or friends during new years. A whole fish is served to symbolize togetherness, chickens bring prosperity, noodles are served long and uncut, to represent long life. Lotus seeds are believed to bring many children, especially male children. Interestingly, the Chinese avoid serving fresh tofu, as its white color is deemed to symbolize death and misfortune.
Every second day of the second month of the Chinese Lunar Year, in most parts of northern China, people will cut their hair. In Chinese folklore, this particular day, the God of Dragons who is responsible for the rain will raise his head and bring spring rain to the earth. On this day, people in China not only go to the barber, but they also eat noodles or popcorn.
The seemingly unlimited selection and number of foods prepared during New Year represents the abundance of wealth for the family. Some Chinese avoid eating meat on the first day of the new year, to ensure long life, and by the time the 13th day rolls around, the Chinese have eaten so many rich foods, that simple meals of rice and vegetables are encouraged to cleanse the system—before embarking on yet another grand feast on the 15th day’s Lantern Festival.
Nguyễn Phước Nhật Thảo- member of Communication Department