Year of the Ox


Chloe Ly, Associate Editor

Lunar New Year, one of the most important celebrations in Vietnamese, Chinese, and Korean cultures. It is celebrated on the first day of the first month in the lunar calendar all over the world. As someone who grew up in a Vietnamese household, this will be mainly about how it is celebrated in my family.

On Lunar New Year/Tết, it may be celebrated at temples or festivals where people can go watch lion dancing performances, pray, watch firecrackers being lighted, eat, or take pictures. The áo dài, the Vietnamese national attire, is commonly worn on this day by people of all ages and genders. This celebration is also a time where people may gather with family and spend time with them. The children or younger generation would typically be given a red envelope called lì xì from the adults or elders and inside, it contains money. The lì xì’s is also referred to as lucky money due to its red color symbolizing good luck. Before receiving the red envelope, children would say the greetings and also wish for the adults/elders’ health and longevity.

Before Tết, people would go to the market where they would buy decorations like flowers and fruit. In my household, our house would be decorated with yellow apricot blossoms, chrysanthemums, and artificial flowers.  During Tết, special holiday food is cooked and is sometimes prepared a couple days in advance. Some of the foods that are often prepared are thịt kho(caramelized pork and boiled eggs) and bánh tét(sticky rice with mung bean and pork wrapped inside a banana leaf). People may also play gambling games like bầu cua tôm cá, lotto game, and etc. In my family for instance, we would spend hours playing several rounds of the lotto game, which is essentially like bingo except everyone puts in a dollar or two to play and if they win, they gain that money.

This year, Lunar New Year is on February 12th with it being the year of the ox. Although Lunar New Year will look different this year due to the pandemic, I wish everyone a prosperous, healthy, and happy new year!