Lunar New Year

Chinese American artist Kam Mak created the new Forever stamp
Photo Credit: latimes.com

#haiku – A Prosperous Wish

Radiant blossoms
Joy overflowing within
Life begins anew

Hello everyone! Just want to let you know that I’ll be gone for the first week of February celebrating the Vietnamese Lunar New Year (Tet) with my family. In the mean time, I would like to share a few fun facts about the celebration and a hope for a better 2019 year for all of you! There are several countries throughout South, East, and West Asia that celebrate the new year based on the lunar and solar cycle as well.

Lunar New Year is coordinated by the phases of the moon and based on the Chinese lunisolar calendar. So every year the lunar new year falls on a different day. The recent lunar eclipse was fascinating, wasn’t it?

Photo Credit: express.co.uk – Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse

Tet celebrates the arrival of spring. It’s an occasion to forget the troubles of the past and hope for a better new year. Typically there is a spring festival called Hoi Xuan. There’s lion dances and festivities in oriental market squares. Some churches celebrate by lighting up Chinese lanterns at night, organize a carnival, play some games, and host entertainment.

Chinese musicians and dancers perform a lion dance under red lantern decorations during the opening ceremony of the Spring Festival Temple Fair at the Temple of Earth in Beijing February 2, 2011. Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, is China’s biggest holiday, giving migrant workers their only chance of returning to their home provinces with gifts and money for the family. It represents the world’s biggest annual mass migration of humans. UPI/Stephen Shaver
Photo Credit: inkxlenses.tumblr.com

Families typically prepare by cleaning up their homes and creating or buying special holiday food such as banh chung, banh tet bamboo soup, sticky rice, sweet coconut/ginger/sesame peanut brittle candies.

New year greetings are typically shared along with giving lucky money to children or elderly in bright red and gold envelopes called “Li Xi”

Photo Credit: Beth Williams

There are variations on how Vietnamese families pay their respects to ancestors that have passed away and invite their spirits to celebrate with them. In my family, we typically set up and decorate an altar like in the picture below.

Photo Credit: waittravel.com

Many women and girls of all ages enjoy wearing colorful and elegant ao dai dresses to celebrate the occasion.

Miss Vietnam 2010 photo shoots with children during Tet season
Photo Credit: english.vov.vn
Photo Credit: news.zing.vn

If you guys are more curious about the language, here are some common Vietnamese Lunar New Year phrases and vocabulary. Pronunciation is another story! 🙂 (Credit: Tumblr.com)

Phrases

  • Chúc Mừng Năm Mới: Happy New Year
  • Cung Chúc Tân Xuân: Gracious wishes of the new spring
    Sống lâu trăm tuổi:  Long life of 100 years (said by children to elders in exchange for lucky money)
  • An khang thịnh vượng: Security, good health, and prosperity
  • Vạn sự như ý: May myriad things go according to your will
  • Sức khỏe dồi dào: Plenty of health
  • Cung hỉ phát tài: Congratulations and be prosperous
  • Năm mới dồi dào sức khỏe: I wish you a healthy new year 
  • Năm mới tấn tài tấn lộc: I wish you a wealthy new year 
  • Năm mới toàn gia bình an: I wish that the new year will bring health to all your family 
  • Vạn sự như ý: All wishes come true 

Vocabulary

  • Tết Nguyên Đán: Vietnamese New Year Lunar Festival
  • Nhận tiền lì xì: to receive “lucky money”
  • Lì xì / tiền mừng tuổi: “lucky money”   
  • đi chùa để cầu …: Go to pagoda to pray for…
  • gói Bánh chưng: Make Chung cake
  • trang trí nhà cửa: Decorate the house
  • Đi chợ hoa: Go to flower market
  • Thăm bà con bạn bè: Visit relatives and friends
  • Xem pháo hoa: Watch fireworks
  • Đường phố được trang trí với những dây đèn đầy màu sắc: streets are decorated with lines of colorful lights
  • Hoa đào: peach blossom
  • Hoa mai: apricot blossom
  • Cây quất: The kumquat tree
  • Gạo nếp: Sticky rice
  • Đậu xanh: Green beans 
  • Mỡ lợn: Fatty pork
  • Chúc Tết nhau: exchange New Year’s wishes  
  • Bao lì xì: red envelope
  • Ăn diện: dress up
  • Đánh bài: play cards
  • Dưa hấu; watermelon 
  • Dừa: coconut
  • Xoài: mango
  • Đu đủ: papaya
  • nhang: incense
  • Bàn thờ: altar
  • Mê tín: superstitious 
  • Điều cấm kỵ: taboo
  • Quét nhà: sweep the floor
  • Vào ngày mùng một Tết: on the first day of Tet 
  • Đưa ông bà: Bid their ancestor farewell

31 Comments Add yours

  1. Hélène - Willow Poetry says:

    What a beautiful haiku. Thank you for the information. Happy festivities to you and yours, blessings for a wonderful new year.

    1. theresaly520 says:

      Thank you Helene for your well wishes! I hope to participate in your What do you See challenges again soon! 🙂 ❤

      1. Hélène - Willow Poetry says:

        Have a magnificent week.

    1. theresaly520 says:

      Glad you appreciate it! 🙂

  2. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

    You did well!! And thank you for the great information!

    Speaking of Vietnamese things.. I had Pho last night! Always awesome!!

    1. theresaly520 says:

      Thank you! I’m glad you had a tasty dinner! My friends always tells me it tastes heavenly. 🙂

      1. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

        You’ve never had it?

        1. theresaly520 says:

          Oh I have! I guess I never described food as being divine before! 😀

  3. Such wonderful celebrations filled with color, family and friends to welcome a new year! 😊 Thank you Sa for sharing, I’m pleased to learn more about the Vietnamese New Year! So exciting, I wish I wonderful festivities and fun with your family and plentiful blessings and happiness for the new year!😊 🤗💖

    1. theresaly520 says:

      Thank you so much! I’m looking forward to my trip 🙂 ❤

      1. Hopefully you’ll get to take some photos to share later.😁❤️

  4. Thank you so much for sharing. It was such a beautiful post — full of so much color. There is so much sweetness and beauty in your traditions and the dress is just awesome. Wish you a wondrous celebration and magical New Year! 💕

    1. theresaly520 says:

      You’re welcome! It’s one of my favorite holidays that brings me much happiness! I look forward to visiting family! 🙂 ❤

      1. Wish you an absolutely wondrous time! 💛

  5. Happy New Year! I hope you have a great time while you’re away and eat lots of great food 🙂

    Ironically, I just finished watching an old episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations that took place in Penang, Malaysia during Lunar New Year – though I had no idea that the actual Lunar New Year was fast approaching. It’s funny how these sorts of occurrences sometimes line up.

    1. theresaly520 says:

      Thank you so much! I will! 🙂 ❤ I was really suprised at how early it was this year as well. Normally it's much later in the month. Fascinating episode btw.

      1. I was surprised Lunar New Year was so early too, when I saw your post! Like I said, I hope you have a great time with your celebrations!

  6. Joey Blue says:

    Cool, Sa! Is there going to be a tasting session for all these foods?

    1. theresaly520 says:

      Typically if my friends are locally near me, I invite them over for a meal or a treat! ❤ 🙂

      Until then, I suppose people will be virtually tasting these foods which can be unbearable! 😉

      1. Joey Blue says:

        How nice of youy. Well I am “imagining” it all tastes delicious, Sa!

  7. Alphe says:

    I’d love to experience the celebrations in China one day. They always look so colourful in photos!

    1. theresaly520 says:

      It’s always a feast for the eyes! That’s one of the reasons why I feel happy at these celebrations! 🙂

  8. iScriblr says:

    Wow.. This is wonderful! Thank you for sharing!❤️❤️

  9. iidorun says:

    Chúc Mừng Năm Mới! We celebrate also – looking forward to eating all the yummy food, not so much the cleaning…

  10. Winnie says:

    Yummy food! Thank you for sharing your tradition. Have fun! ❤️

  11. Lwbut says:

    Chúc Mừng Năm Mới and Năm mới toàn gia bình an! ( did i get the pronunciation right? Please excuse the Aussie accent! 🙂 )

    Having an Aquarian Birthday means i get to celebrate most years with a New Year Chinese banquet!! How cool is that? Maybe i could try Vietnamese this year?

    Have a great time Sa! 🙂

  12. Tony Burgess says:

    Happy New Year (belated) everything looks incredibly festive and fun.

    1. theresaly520 says:

      Thank you Tony! I can’t wait to share pictures. It was a blessed holiday with my family. Nothing can replace that time I spent with them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.