Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A: We’re happy to be here with you on the first edition of the Letter Box in 2014. Last Wednesday, on January 1, 2014, we produced a special edition program to welcome the New Year without a Letter Box segment.

B: We’ve received many beautiful Christmas and New Year’s Greeting cards and sincere wishes from listeners around the world. I’ll take some photos of them and post them on our website at

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - ảnh 1

A: We are delighted to have received a lot of reception reports for the 1st program of 2014, which shows that VOV is part of your daily activities even during the holidays. We have just one day off for the Gregorian calendar New Year, but three days off for the Lunar calendar New Year.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - ảnh 2

B: Ashik Eqbal Tokon of Bangladesh asked us to describe how we celebrate the New Year. He told us that “The Bengali Nation in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India, celebrates the New Year on April 14th each year. We have some specific traditions and costumes for celebrating this enjoyable day. The Bengali New Year’s Day is our national festival and is observed nationwide with joy and happiness.”

A: It’s interesting to learn about Bangladesh’s New Year, which is also celebrated by the Bengali people in the Indian state of West Bengal and also by smaller Bengali communities in other Indian states. It coincides with the New Year of several other south Asian calendars.

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B: Let me describe some Vietnamese customs for celebrating the Lunar New Year. This year, the first day of the first lunar month falls on January 31. The customs differ among regions and ethnic groups. In general, every family, rich or poor, should have a branch or tree of peach blossoms or a kumquat tree in their house, as these are symbols of happiness and prosperity.

A: Flowers in the house are a must because they create a happy spring atmosphere. We prepare a lot of food for the long holiday. Banh Chung, square sticky rice cake, is at the top of the list. It is made of sticky rice, green bean, and pork. The recipe is not complicated, but it takes some experience to make a tasty and delicious cake.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - ảnh 4
Nhat Tan peach blossom village on the outskirts of Hanoi

B: During the three-day Tet holiday, we make offerings for our ancestors and feasts for our guests. In addition to Chung cake, depending on the family’s circumstances, we cook fried spring-rolls, chicken, bamboo sprouts stewed with pig’s trotters, vermicelli soup, pork pate, and various fish, beef, and vegetable dishes. We also have the usual confections, preserved fruits, and nuts. 

A: Although supermarkets and markets are open on the second day of Tet, we don’t often go shopping during the first 3 days of the year. We spend most of the time visiting relatives, receiving guests, and going to the pagodas to pray for happiness, good health, and prosperity.

B: I should mention some of the things one should and should not do during Tet. We try to say only good things, avoid quarrels with others, avoid excessive noise, and what else?

A: …and not sweep the house during the first three days, because it’s believed you may sweep all the good luck out of your house. We buy a piece of limestone at the end of the year to chase away bad luck, and we buy salt at the beginning of the year to attract warm affection.

B: Don’t you carefully choose the direction of your first trip out of your house in the New Year?

A: Of course, yes. We believe that choosing the right direction will guarantee a lot of luck for traveling throughout the year. If you don’t follow these traditions, you’ll feel regretful when something uncomfortable happens. Well, we have talked a little about how Vietnamese people celebrate the Lunar New Year, our biggest national festival of the year. Now, let’s continue reading letters from listeners.    

B: Listeners in India and Bangladesh reported that reception at 6175 khz and 9550 khz was good, with an overall quality of 4. Jayanta Chakrabarty of India sent us his best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year. He wrote: “All of us listeners in India hope that 2014 will be another year of success for VOV’s world broadcasting and that VOV will continue to broadcast interesting and exciting programs.”

A: Thank you, Jayanta for these sentiments. We’ll do our best to provide you some fantastic programming.  We have checked your reception report for the program on January 2. You mentioned several news items, including Cambodia’s National Assembly Chairman’s visit to Vietnam, and punishment of food safety and hygiene violations, which you thought says a lot about the Vietnamese government’s concern for the welfare of its citizens.

B: Another Indian listener, Khokan Naskar, tuned in on 7229 khz. He rated SINPO at 54444, noting slight interference. Khokan attached some audio clips of the program, which will help us evaluate the program’s quality. You’ll soon receive a QSL card to confirm your report.

A: Timo Stein sent a reception report from Trondheim, Norway. He used a Grundig Prima Boy 80 travel radio. He remarked that the signal came through quite good at times, with varying interference during the program on December 17 on a frequency of 5955 khz. Timo wrote: “I enjoyed listening to the broadcast of VOV very much. It’s great to have a radio station maintaining its short-wave operations in the 21st century. I find it important to learn about other cultures. Your webpage is also informative and well designed. The transmission from the Austrian transmitter site at 5955 khz was sometimes difficult to hear due to interference. Maybe you can make a report about Scandinavia sometime.”

B: Many thanks, Timo, for your compliments on our radio program and webpage. We’ll verify your report and send you a QSL card soon. Before signing off, we’d like to acknowledge letters from Gerry Newman of the UK, Shri Bhagwan Sharma and Chinmoy Mahato of India, Rana Dewan Rafiqul and Mohammad Abdullah of Bangladesh, Laghari Amin of Pakistan, George Viera of the US, and Fumito Horamura of Japan.

A: That’s it for this week’s Letter Box. We welcome your feedback at: English section, Overseas Service, Radio Voice of Vietnam, 45 Ba Trieu Street, Hanoi, Vietnam. Or you can email us at: You’re invited to visit us online at, where you can hear both live and recorded programs. Good bye.




Rajendra kumar

Very nice and interesting. I have become a regular listener of VOV English service and active user of website. Regards,Rajendra kumar, No.13, SHIG,... More