Tet is the biggest holiday in Viet Nam and falls late this year on February 19th. That is the first day of the Lunar New Year and a mass migration starts as almost everyone goes home to their home village to be with family. This is like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years all in one. Family is the most important thing and tradition dictates all actions. Day one you worship dead ancestors at the altar in the house, day two you visit the fathers family, day three the mothers family and day four teachers in the village. Many special foods are home made for the gatherings to share with family. Houses are cleaned before Tet and everyone gets new colorful clothes and lucky money in red envelopes. It is very important to make a good start for the new year and the first visitor to the house must be lucky. So if I was invited to visit they would have to know my age, year of birth and my Zodic sign to determine if I would bring good luck to the house. This is all by tradition. 2015 is the year of the goat and there are special displays all over town. There are flower markets and flower festivals and the main street shuts down for the flower road which is a massive flower and landscape display about a mile long. I have never seen anything like it. Massive light displays stretch over the roads and it is quite spectactular at night. Tet is officially one week long but our University shuts down for about three weeks, and most business close for at least ten days. The supermarkets are closed and all the ATM’s are empty. In a city of ten million there was almost no traffic.
Before Tet, we also had the thrill of representing Brittany’s Hope at the House of Love to give out the gifts to all of the children at the orphanage. It is a traditional part of Tet for every child to get a new outfit to wear for the New Year. It represents good luck. The sisters also get lucky money. The children were so excited about their new outfits (and the candy). They run to change their clothes and then come back for a group photo. It makes me realize how important the support of Brittany’s Hope is for all of the children. We are currently supporting 90 children at the House of Love. It has been quite a thrill to witness all of the excitement and culture related to Tet.