In 2015, Zani Vouva came to Vietnam for the first time and experienced the Lunar New Year atmosphere.
Her parents are Vietnamese but Zani Vouva (1990) was born in the Czech Republic. The memory of her motherland for Zani during her teenage years is not very deep even though she was raised in the Asian community in the Czech Republic.
For the first time, Zani celebrated Tet in Vietnam in 2016. To date, she has had 5 Tet meals in Vietnam. “The Tet that I remember the most is the first time I go back to my husband’s hometown, knowing many different traditions, customs and cuisines,” shared Zani.
Each family has its own way of celebrating Tet
Welcoming Tet with her paternal family, Zani returned to her husband’s hometown in a village in Tu Mai commune (Yen Dung district, Bac Giang province). The whole family stays overnight at the family shrine and ancestral house to welcome the new year.
The whole family will set up a tray of rice offerings, offerings and pray to the ancestors to bless their children and grandchildren. Upon completion of the ancestor worshiping ceremony, everyone will accompany their neighbors to the village temple after New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Eve rituals have many stages and rituals. Born and raised in a foreign country, Zani had to learn gradually to master it.
Zani found that each family had its own way of celebrating the New Year: “Some will celebrate at home, some will spend their New Year’s Eve at their family church and go to the local temple right after midnight. People love to go to pagodas during Tet “.
The Czech Republic does not have many temples and pagodas, and almost does not organize Lunar New Year festivals. Therefore, she likes to experience the spring festival at the pagoda during Tet in the North, like the Vinh Nghiem pagoda festival.
Zani is impressed by the scene of the normally deserted village road, the bustling Tet holiday. Along the street, close to the street food stalls, presenting traditional Tet products, performing local music … Not only people in the village, but many visitors from far away also go to pagodas. Play with family and meet friends at the spring fair. Zani thinks that makes the soul of Tet in the Northern countryside more complete.
She loves the traditional dishes on Northern New Year. In addition to indispensable dishes such as banh chung, frozen meat, boiled chicken and fried spring rolls, Zani’s husband’s family’s Tet rice tray also has chicken hearts, roasted duck, steamed fish … Zani shares, many foods come that she could not remember all the names except the very familiar ones.
Lunar New Year in Czech and Vietnam
Asian communities in the Czech Republic also celebrate the Lunar New Year with their families. “Although we do not have many festivals like in Vietnam, we still welcome Tet with full of traditional customs,” she said.
Thanks to the media, Zani knows Tet is truly an important holiday in Vietnam, even bigger than Christmas. “Now I consider Tet as one of the most important holidays besides Christmas and New Year. I have to admit that sometimes I feel confused about how to properly New Year’s customs because my family is diverse. about culture and region, “expressed Zani.
Tet in the Czech Republic is performed by the Vietnamese and Chinese communities. Everyone can celebrate at home or go to parties organized by community leaders. They prepare very carefully traditional dishes such as banh chung, banh Tet, salad … or dragon lion performances.
In addition to Tet in her husband’s hometown in Bac Giang, Zani also celebrated the New Year in Saigon. She thinks that her feeling about Tet atmosphere is not much different from other foreigners: “I like the atmosphere of Tet. The street becomes more vibrant, colorful and deserted. I like the features. There is a diversity of Tet traditions in each region. I also especially like dishes that only come to Tet when I have the opportunity to eat such as stewed meat, pickled tubers … “.
On the other hand, Zani thinks that the time to prepare for Tet is too stressful and tiring, especially for women. “In the Czech Republic it is also stressful to prepare for Christmas, but most people organize intimate parties. Vietnamese families seem to welcome guests restlessly, which makes the host very tired. the woman has to wash stacks of dishes for several days, while the men entertain and eat with guests, “she said.