Saturday, April 08, 2006

Lunar New Year's - Late Report

I know that this entry is a little late, but the pictures were so fun that I do have to post them. The Lunar New Year is a big deal in East Asian countries. In Vietnam, it's called Tet. It's like Thanksgiving, Christmas and your birthday all rolled into one 3-day festival. Everyone takes the time out to visit family and friends. There is a lot of traditional celebration food and gifts of luck money from relatives and family friends. As kids, my brother and I used to rake up a lot of cash. It was our spending money for the rest of the year. Now that I'm older, only my parents, my grandmother and my god parents give me money.

Most of my family lives in Charlotte, NC. For the last few years, I've been going back to visit everyone and to attend the Tet festivities that the city's large Vietnamese population puts on. Each year, everyone congregates at the large Vietnamese shopping center in Charlotte. The festivities include skits and local acts, beauty pageants, dragon dancing and lots of great food.

The dragon dance is always very fast and very loud with drummers and firecrackers. Sometimes the little kids get scared, especially when their parents give them little red envelopes with "money" to put in the dragon's mouth.
The guys are really nice and try to reassure any kids who are scared.
And it wouldn't be a Vietnamese celebration without mounds and mounds of food. This is a display of all the dried fruit, candies and cookies that are traditionally available for Tet.


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