Written by jmineo on 16 Jan, 2001
Tet in Little Saigon - If you ever plan to visit Little Saigon, try to make it during Tet (24 January 2001), you'll notice how everyone in the Vietnamese community shares in the joy and fun of the new year. New Year for Vietnamese in…Read More
Tet in Little Saigon - If you ever plan to visit Little Saigon, try to make it during Tet (24 January 2001), you'll notice how everyone in the Vietnamese community shares in the joy and fun of the new year. New Year for Vietnamese in Southern California often means a pilgrimage to Little Saigon, where people crowd the parking lots and malls buying traditional foods and running into old friends. At night, festivals are held with fashion shows, dance and singing performances and stalls for games and food. Be sure to try the heavy bricks of sticky rice cakes called banh chong, the candied fruits, the red money li xi envelopes, maybe even some small-scale fireworks. But for some, Tet in California just doesn’t quite have the ring of Christmas in Connecticut. And like Christmas, Tet is a lot about homecoming. People visit relatives and pay respects to ancestors, but while some family is in the United States, there is nearly always more still in Vietnam. For the many Vietnamese living in California now who have little or no memory of their homeland, Tet is a holiday associated more with Little Saigon than in Vietnam. In and around Westminster, the most concentrated Vietnamese community in the United States, Vietnamese Americans who left Vietnam, many under adverse conditions will celebrate Lunar New Year along with the thousands of other immigrant families. For my wife, Tet is the real signal of the New Year, not January 1. We do, however, celebrate Tet and the American New Year according to both Vietnamese and American customs respectively. Its a bonus for me - two holidays for the price of one. We generally visit with my wife's relatives and gourge ourselves with spring rolls, dried coconut, red melon seeds and a lot of boiled chicken. We’re also supposed to wear new clothes, but I don’t think I have yet.