Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tet-Year of the Tiger, part 1

Tet is a very auspicious time for Vietnamese. This culture is steeped in superstition and reverence for the past, so a chance to do right and start anew is taken very seriously. 
In preparing for the New Year, flowers and good luck ornaments cover the entire country, from city to countryside. Yellow flowers of Hoa Mai, cherry blossoms and kumquat trees are for sale everywhere. It is not just tradition to go out and look at these temporary orchards, but it is also mandatory to purchase one for decorating your house in welcoming good fortune for the New Year.
These are photos of the flower market in Da Nang. (I stopped off here and Hoi An on my way south to wish my friends a Happy New Year.)

Here is picture of my buddy Frank, a fellow Hanoian on vacation in the south, at the New Year Flower Festival in downtown Saigon, being like other Vietnamese celebrating the Year of the Tiger.

Another tradition. and a recent tradition at that, is making ones way home for Tet. What I mean by a recent one is that urbanization is a relatively new phenomenon for Vietnam. When I first came back 13 years ago, the population was 70% rural. Now it’s more like 40-50% urban. Check out how empty the streets of Saigon and Hanoi are during the week of Tet.

I was thinking that Saigon was the most livable I had ever seen it-hardly any traffic, you could stroll on the sidewalks and there was a cool breeze at night. The temperature was only hot enough to make it two-showers per day as opposed to four-showers during the summer.

To be continued.....

No comments:

Post a Comment