I’m a bit late with my blog posts this week–I had laser surgery on my eyes late last week and my vision isn’t quite up to where it should be right now, so it’s hard to sit at the computer. I’m hoping to catch up with all 3 posts today or tomorrow though!
Most people have heard that yesterday was “Chinese New Year” since erroneously, that’s what the vast majority of media outlets call the Lunar New Year. What would surprise many people is that the Lunar New Year is not just “Chinese New Year”–many Asian countries celebrate the Lunar New Year! It’s certainly not exclusive to China. Since Monkey is Vietnamese-American, we celebrate the Lunar New Year using Vietnamese traditions. In Vietnam, the new year is called Tet Nguyên Dán, or Tet for short. Obviously, it’s difficult to replicate Tet without being in Vietnam, or at the very least, without having a strong background in Vietnamese culture. But, each year, we add a little more to our family Tet celebration as the kids get older.
This year, we decided to take a day of school to learn more about Vietnamese culture and Tet, which is what we did yesterday. Throughout the week, we’ll also focus a bit more on the country, as well as some of the Tet traditions. Here is a review of what we did yesterday…
On Tet, trays of whole fruit are laid out--oranges are usually a big part of the tray. Also, Mut, dried and candied fruit, is usually eaten.
I pulled out some of our Vietnamese books from our home library so the kids can read them.
Jedi reading the girls the book Ten Mice for Tet
Playing some of the Vietnamese instruments
Learning the different signs of the Asian zodiac
Looking at some pictures from Vietnam
I brought out some of the lacquered items we picked up in Vietnam
The kids always love looking at the dong (Vietnamese currency)
Monkey playing with the dragonfly toy
All of the kids played B?u cua ca cop. Bau cua ca cop is a game that children and adults will play during Tet. You place bets on the game board as to which animal (or gord) will be rolled on the dice. I didn't have a game board, so I made my own from various pictures I found online.
The kids read How the Tiger Got His Stripes, a Vietnamese folktale. Then they colored a picture from the book.
Probably the thing the kids looked forward to most--lì xi. Red envelopes with "lucky money" are given to children by adults.
We decorated the dinner table with large faux cherry blossom branches.
In the Vietnamese tradition, celebrating Tet is referred to as "an Tet", or "eating Tet". Food is an important part of the Tet celebration. Here is our feast...we have some crispy spring rolls, Singapore noodles, various cakes and treats, Mut, Bánh chung, and Bánh tet chuoi. Our Bánh ch?ng and Bánh tet chuoi didn't come out like it should this year because we were missing a key ingredient--banana leaves! (By the time we figured out that we had run out, it was too late to get more...parchment paper isn't an effective solution. 😉 )
Chúc mung nam moi!! (Happy New Year!) An khang thinh vuong (wishing you security, good health, and prosperity!)