Overseas Vietnamese contemplate about Tet

The traditional Lunar New Year is meaningful to every Vietnamese. Those who live far away from home are filled with nostalgia and high hopes  for the future of the homeland.

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Vietnamese Dragon Dance during Tet in the US
Photo: VnExpress

Overseas Vietnamese associate Tet with family reunions, colorful flower markets, home decoration and preparation of meals to worship the ancestors. Tet is so personal that when Tet comes, thousands of Vietnamese from all over the world return home to enjoy the festive atmosphere. Those who stay feel nostalgic. “Living far away from home, we miss something common: longing for the homeland, friends and relatives. I remember New Year Eve moments most when people are frantic to finish their work to be reunited with their family. The lyrics of one of composer Hoang Hiep’s songs go: “Oh, remembering the last afternoon of the old year, mingling in reddish peach blossoms, crowded streets are waiting for New Year’s Eve, the sacred moment when Uncle Ho’s poems are recited,” said Ngoc Thai, an overseas Vietnamese.

Although the New Year feast is abundant, the unique traditional Vietnamese nuance can’t be found overseas. Nguyen Thi Thai has been living in Germany for 10 years and Tet is very special for her. She decorates her house in the Vietnamese customs with peach blossoms, prepares a tray of 5 fruits, the square sticky rice cakes called banh chung, stewed pork and pickled onions. Thai says: “Tet in the homeland is full of warm sentiment. Although life in a foreign country is more civilized, it’s incomparable to Vietnamese traditional culture. I get a special feeling when listening to the President’s New Year address, marking the passing from old to new year. I feel as if there’s a sacred bond between me and my homeland.”

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Sticky Rice Cake Contest in Carlifornia
Photo: VnExpress

Chau Soyari of the Khmer ethnic minority in An Giang province is spending her first Tet away from home. She is studying teaching in Hawaii. Spring reminds her of the fragrance of paddies, chilly mountains, a  charcoal fire cooking square sticky rice cakes: “This is the first time I ‘ll welcome the Lunar New Year abroad. I ‘m tormented by longing for home. Deep in my mind is the constant development of my home province An Giang. After graduation, I will return home and contribute my tiny part to its development,”  she said.

As the New Year approaches, Overseas Vietnamese hope their homeland  will continue to achieve successes and that the country’s prestige will rise worldwide. Nguyen Duc Khuong, lecturer of finance at Paris Academy of Trade and Chairman of the Vietnamese Association of Scientists and Experts in France, said: “Live and work hard for national pride, which is considered a key to Vietnam’s efforts to become a powerhouse. Overseas Vietnamese’s desires and consultations for national development are worthwhile. Vietnam is not just a place in Southeast Asia, but a symbol of the unity of Vietnamese all over the world.”

Another Spring has come to Vietnam and Vietnamese people are burning with love and nostalgia.

Anh Huyen