Friday, January 18, 2013

Orange County: Tet Festival 2013 (video)

Nguyen, Seven, Wells, Wisdom Quarterly
Orange County's Tet celebration welcomes the Year of the Snake (
Big belly Budai (
Tet, or Tet Nguyen Dan, is the Buddhist Vietnamese lunar New Year. It is celebrated from Saigon to Westminster.
English translation: "Feast of the First Morning." Celebrated this year in February according to the solar calendar, the upcoming Tet Festival will feature Old World traditions with additions to welcome the arrival of a new era. It is a manifestation of respect for family and ancestors.

Because it falls on Day One of Month One on the Chinese calendar, it is often celebrated in conjunction with Chinese New Year. Tet 2013 is a five-day celebration that begins on Feb. 9 and culminates with a massive festival on Feb. 14th (Valentine's Day). But the actual New Year begins on the 10th.
Tet is an enormous Vietnamese celebration compared to other cultures. It is preceded by weeks of preparation that commonly includes house cleaning and painting.

There is a Vietnamese belief that loud noise wards off bad luck, so fireworks and gongs are rung and set off all night.

There are parades, featuring traditional lion and dragon dances and family feasts. Inviting ancestors who have passed on to join in the celebration is common; special ceremonies and rituals are involved.
Traditional food served on Tet consists of Vietnamese delicacies like sticky rice dumplings called banh chung, roasted watermelon seeds, pickled onions, and a wide variety of dried and sweetened fruit. At the end of Tet Nguyen Dan, elders hand out envelopes full of money to children both to reward good behavior and as a symbol of good luck.
Tet 2013 will celebrate the beginning of the Year of the Snake [like the Mesoamerican naga Quetzalcoatl], following the close of the Year of the Dragon and preceding the Year of the Horse. It is a traditional celebration full of joy remembering and showing respect to loved ones who have gone before.

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