Customs
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Rituals, festivals, holidays

Vietnamese

The informant was a woman (referred to as Sarah) at the nail salon who was Vietnamese. She was telling me she was from Vietnam and moved to the United States when she was 13. She lived in Michigan and now is a nail artist in Los Angeles.  She told me about the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, Tet.

 

Sarah: “Tet is the biggest holiday in Vietnam. Everybody celebrates. It is the Lunar New Year. We cook, special food in the days leading up to Tet and everyone is very busy. The preparations are very long. We have something called Mut, which is candy fruit. It is a snack and very sweet.

 

Then the first day of Tet is exciting. Children give greeting to elders- the grandmas you know? And then in exchange, the children get their lucky money. The whole holiday is about luck. We do not even sweep because that would sweep away good luck. The Vietnamese believe the very first visit to the family shows what fortune and luck the year will be. If good things come to your family on Tet, then the whole year will be lucky.”

 

I think Tet is particularly interesting because it is centered a lot on luck and there seem to be very specific traditions and superstitions that ensure you will have good luck. The worldview here would appear to be very future-oriented because the weeks leading up to Tet are focused on making sure everything is in place for a good fortune for the following year.

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