Tết Festival

Background: This informant is an American-Born Vietnamese student who has grown up hearing and participating in classical Vietnamese Folklore.

The Tết Festival is the Vietnamese Celebration of the Lunar New Year, in Vietnam due to the historical use of the Lunar Calendar over the Gregorian Calendar, the Lunar New Year is celebrated over the Gregorian New Year.

TT (Informant): Whenever we (family) celebrate the Tết Festival, we dress up in traditional Vietnamese attire. One of the most important parts of the Tết Festival is the Dragon dance, the dance is performed by two people who train year-long at temple for the festival. During this dance the Dragon will open its mouth and we are supposed to put money into the Dragons mouth, this ritual is supposed to bring us good fortune as the Dragon has typically symbolized good fortune and specifically rain. The rain is important since in Vietnam there have been many droughts and by giving offerings to the Dragon, we will be blessed with rain. Additionally, there is also the tradition of the Red Envelope which has money which is given during Tết.

Analysis: It is interesting to see how the Dragon has come to symbolize more than just Good Fortune but specifically rain due to the number of droughts which have historically happened in Vietnam harvesting seasons, this contrasts to China which has similar traditions but a different symbol for which the Dragon stands for.