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Ho Chi Minh City
Thursday, June 13, 2024

Tet festival woos locals, visitors to town

By Dat Thanh - Lac Ha

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HCMC – The Youth Cultural House in HCMC is busy with a lot of activities as the Vietnamese Tet (Lunar New Year) Festival is taking place there, captivating huge numbers of local and foreign visitors.

Scheduled to stay open until February 14, the festival at 4 Pham Ngoc Thach Street, District 1, encapsulates the spirit of celebrating the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Dragon.

Ochna trees, lining Pham Ngoc Thach Street and blooming inside the Youth Cultural House, stand as the festival’s centerpiece. This vibrant display attracts visitors who come to admire the ochnas and enjoy the festival atmosphere.

Locals and tourists throng the Tet Festival of HCMC – PHOTO: DAT THANH

Another highlight of the event, the calligraphy market, features over 50 calligraphers from the city and neighboring provinces.

The calligraphers, including men and women of different ages, sit on oval mats, evoking the market scenes of the past. They offer intricate calligraphy in black and yellow ink on red paper lucky money envelopes, fulfilling visitors’ wishes for prosperity and good fortune in the new year.

A calligrapher offers calligraphy in yellow ink on a red fan – PHOTO: DAT THANH

Esmael, a Spanish tourist, expressed his surprise at the novel elements of Vietnamese Tet traditions. “In Spain, we eat a grape with each of the twelve clock bells strikes at midnight of December 31 to welcome the New Year, but the way Vietnam welcomes the new year is so lively and special, particularly the street decorations shaped like dragons,” he said.

Esmael (L) and his friend shop for Tet decorations – PHOTO: DAT THANH

Val, a traveler from England, marveled at the warmth and vivacity of Vietnamese Tet, finding it a stark contrast to the chilly and snow-covered streets back home.

Andrew (L) and Val (R) pick up a souvenir at the HCMC Youth Culture House – PHOTO: DAT THANH

It is the same as Tet here in Vietnam. “In England, we both get friends and family together, chow down on food, and watch the fireworks. But the colorful displays during Tet are unlike anything I’ve seen in England. Everywhere you look, streets, houses, even those dragon mascots, they are all decked out and dazzling, and it is warmer here, unlike back home, where it is freezing and all the roads are covered in snow,” she said.

“One of the things that would tempt me back to Vietnam would be to come for Tet,” said Andrew, another visitor from England.

Foreign visitors and HCMC locals enjoy a music performance at the event – PHOTO: DAT THANH
Ngo Khanh Truc, a Vietnamese American, writes his name and the names of his family members on a sheet requesting calligraphy – PHOTO: LAC HA
Locals introduce a calligraphy painting to a foreign visitor – PHOTO: DAT THANH
A tourist examines cast lot decorations hanging from a nearby stall – PHOTO: DAT THANH
Vietnamese women in traditional ao dai dress pose for a group photo at the event – PHOTO: DAT THANH

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