Every Tet comes, Vietnamese people everywhere in the world feel miss their homeland, remember the traditional Tet holiday and educate their descendants to preserve the beauty of the Vietnamese New Year.
Vietnamese people living and studying in Japan make traditional spring rolls to celebrate Tet in the host country (photo provided by the character)
Having lived in Ukraine for 4 years, Pham Thi Thu's family (from Ninh Giang district) are accustomed to celebrating Tet away from her hometown. Ms. Thu wants her children to know about Tet of Vietnam, she has always prepared traditional dishes such as Banh Chung (Glutinous Rice Cake), melon seeds, jam every year ... some year, she even makes the shallot pickle or asks a relative from Vietnam to send it to her. A market over 10 km from her home has a Vietnamese food stall with all kinds of food from fish sauce to raw materials for making Banh Chung. This year, Ms. Thu and some friends who are Vietnamese living in Ukraine ordered arrowroot leaves, glutinous rice, and green beans to wrap Banh Chung together. Her family also plan to prepare a year-end dinner and decorate the house to add more Tet colors. She has also ordered Ao Dai (traditional long dress) for her children wearing during this Tet holiday. On the first day of the new year, Thu's family often come to their friends' homes to exchange Tet wishes. Vietnamese children here are also given some lucky money. Instead of red, sparkling yellow packets, the lucky money is put in white envelopes. "Tet is an opportunity for family members to gather and share all the joys and sorrows of the year. At times like this, I miss my home and miss Vietnam very much", Ms. Thu said.
A Vietnamese oversea student from Hai Duong city in Japan said that he had scheduled to return home this Tet after 3 years celebrating Tet in the foreign country. However, due to the pandemic, all plans have to be delayed, though air tickets have been booked in advance. The international students here gather to make dishes during the traditional New Year, decorating their homes to ease their nostalgia for Tet.
This year is a special occasion for many Vietnamese who have to live away from their homeland due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Mr. Nguyen Tien Huy's family (from Chi Minh ward, Chi Linh city) have settled in the Czech Republic for more than 10 years. Every year, Mr. Huy and his wife arrange work to return to their home country to celebrate Tet, but this year they have to celebrate Tet away from their homeland because of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, Mr. Huy's family still maintain the traditional Tet celebrations as this is the most important occasion, a special day that cannot be ignored by any of the Vietnamese families wherever they are. Mr. Huy said that in the Vietnamese market in the Czech Republic, there are enough stuff for Tet for his family to prepare for the year-end meal. "This Tet is more strongly reminded because everyone is interested in the Covid-19 pandemic situation in their homeland. My family are watching on the mass media every day about the Covid-19 situation there and intending to connect Vietnamese people living in the Czech Republic to donate for supporting the epidemic fighting in our homeland ", Mr. Huy said.
For more than 10 years of establishing a career and settling in Germany, this Lunar New Year is the first time Mr. and Mrs. Pham The Cong from Cam Che commune (Thanh Ha) do not hold a party because of the Covid-19 epidemic. Every year, a group of close friends and relatives who are Vietnamese living away from the home country organize a small party to head to their homeland and to review memories. But this year, so as to ensure the epidemic prevention, his family only prepare a small party at home, including Vietnamese dishes on Tet. Despite his busy work, every year his family choose to buy a peach branch to decorate the living room. Though unlike peaches in the home country, spring peach petals help release the homesickness. Not only "keeping the fire" of the Vietnamese Tet, his family always preserve Vietnamese language and culture. "My wife and I always try to teach our children Vietnamese language and talk to them in Vietnamese so that they can understand more about the national culture", Mr. Cong said.
According to Mr. Nguyen Viet Dien, Chairman of the Vietnamese Overseas Contact Association of Hai Duong province, our province currently has nearly 40,000 people living and working in foreign countries and territories around the world, of which 30-40% have their citizenship, the rest have their temporary resident cards. Every year, there are 600-800 Vietnamese overseas returning to their hometown to celebrate Tet, but this year, due to the influence of the Covid-19 pandemic, many Vietnamese people have to celebrate Tet away from their homeland.
On the occasion of the Lunar New Year, the Association holds meetings and exchanges with Vietnamese overseas as well as organizing Tet gift giving activities to disadvantaged households and policy-beneficiary families in the province, but this activity is to be cancelled this year. Hai Duong expatriates living and working in the Russian Federation and Eastern European countries have launched a donation to support the Covid-19 epidemic control in Chi Linh City.