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Celebrate traditional Vietnamese Tet

Tue, 17 Mar 2015 . Last updated Thu, 25 Jun 2015 09:02

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Many foreigners know about Vietnam through books and have good impression about this beautiful and hospitable country. In Tet holiday, many expats living in Vietnam have the chance to explore and experience the unique features of Vietnamese Tet.

Lunar New Year – The most important and biggest holiday of Vietnamese people. This is the time of family reunion in warmth and love. Many foreigners stay in Vietnam on this occasion. Some get married to Vietnamese people and consider Vietnam as their second homeland. Some come to Vietnam to work and then stay here to celebrate Tet with local people. And many foreign visitors want to explore unique features of Vietnamese Tet. Tet brings people closer with different feelings.

Ambassador Saadi Salama is the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Palestine to Vietnam. In 1980 he was sent to study at the Vietnam National University, Hanoi. This was the first time he celebrated the Lunar New Year of Vietnam. For Palestinians, the New Year bears religious shades. It is at the end of the diet month of Muslims. Therefore, the first Tet in Vietnam left in his heart so many special impressions.

Two years later, Ambassador Saadi Salama got married to a Hanoian and officially became a Vietnamese groom.  Since then, he began to learn about the rituals and practices in Tet of Vietnam and gradually became a real Vietnamese. After 3 years of celebrating Tet in Vietnam, he can understand and master the worship customs and rituals…

This year, his wife and children could not celebrate Tet with him in Vietnam. Out of 11 times of celebrating the lunar New Year, this is the first time he has celebrated Tet alone. However, he has also tried to celebrate the New Year like many Vietnamese families. On the last days of the new years, when Hanoians are busy preparing for Tet, Ambassador Saadi Salama goes to explore Hanoi in his own way.

For him, Hanoi is crowded and noisy streets with unusual traffic laws. Pedestrians across the road and vehicles stop to let them pass. He feels proud as he has become a real Vietnamese. Vietnam is his second homeland after Palestine. Vietnam is his home, not simply a work place. 11 years is not a long duration of time in a human’s life but it is long enough to give all his love to Hanoi. 

When he just came to Vietnam, it took Ambassador Saadi Salama two months to be able to eat Vietnamese food. Muslims abstain from eating pork. He could eat some of Vietnamese dishes. The ambassador especially loves Pho. On days off, he often finds time to enjoy Pho at a familiar noodle restaurant on Ngu Xa Street has a cup of coffee. They are served at the same restaurant, thus it is very convenient. This makes him interested.

When he first came to the restaurant, he saw it was irrationally arranged. Then he gave advice to the owner about space rearrangement. Gradually through talks, they became good friends. Sometimes he surprised the owner by his excellent speaking skills in Vietnamese. Saadi is impressed with the way of selling of Hanoians. They often charge a little bit higher so that buyers can bargain. The buyers and sellers talk to each other. He can know where they come from through their voice. He always surprises them as he is foreigner but he can speak Vietnamese well.

There are four different seasons in Palestine just like in Vietnam. But spring in Palestine does not have much rain and humidity like in Hanoi. Therefore, when he first came to Vietnam, Ambassador Saadi Salama was so excited with so many flowers. Spring is white “ban” flowers in Northwest, apricot blossoms in the South and peach blossoms in the North. Peach branches beautify spring and bring about vitality. Last year Ambassador Saadi Salama was very happy when he could buy a lucky peach branch. He though that it could not bloom in the first day of the new year. However, it produced a lot of blossoms. 2012 was also a successful year to the ambassador and the Palestine country in the political and diplomatic fields. With such belief, this year Ambassador Saadi also wants to choose a lucky peach tree for his own and send into it his wishes for a successful new year.

After 30 years of being a son-in-law in Vietnam, he found that Vietnamese men normally help their wives with housework. Especially on tet holidays, they attach great importance to decorating their home and shopping. All work is divided very clearly. Men tidy up the houses and women prepare food for the holiday. It may also be a distinctive feature. He is so excited to mix himself into the Tet atmosphere. However, he feels a bit sad when he cannot be with his family in the new spring.

Many foreigners know about Vietnam through books and have good impression about this beautiful and hospitable country. So does Gijs, a native of the Netherlands. He wishes one day he could go to Vietnam and discover that beautiful land. Never did Gijs think he would be in love with a Vietnamese girl. He has cerebrates Tet in Vietnam for 3 years as a true Vietnamese groom.

In the new year, Westerns often travel meet friends, and mix themselves in the crowds. In Vietnam, it is the time of family reunion. People together clean the house, prepare for Tet. There are a few differences talking him time to adapt like caring of the graves of ancestors. It is very different from the culture of his homeland. But after three years of celebrating Vietnamese Tet, Gijs knows all the customs in the New Year. Though away from home, he feels warm with love of his wife’s family.

What makes the foreigners like Gijs increasingly attached to Vietnam is the family relationship. In his homeland, while the children grow up, they can leave home and live independently. But in Vietnam, all the members of a family with many generations live together. There are rules of conduct on hierarchy he had to learn a lot. This makes him feel warm. In Tet, the family members gather together enjoy the New Year meal and wish each other good luck for a successful New Year. Not everyone has the opportunity to experience such emotions. That was the impression in his first Tet in Vietnam.

The warm atmosphere the family makes Gijs love more Vietnam. Vietnam has become his second homeland. Now he is proud to be the true Vietnamese groom. Another spring comes to Vietnam. Ambassador Saadi Salama, Saleem or foreign students have received a traditional Tet of Vietnam by their own ways. Nature, country, culture and traditions of the Vietnamese people always make them want to experience, explore and feel, so that when they leave Vietnam, they would like to go back and in their memories, they never forget the years they have lived in Vietnam. They love Vietnam as real Vietnamese people.


Source: VTV10 - NETVIET

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