With every New Year comes a new beginning. It is that time of the year when everyone reminisces over past year events and prays for an auspicious year ahead.
The Covid-19 pandemic has put a damper on Vietnamese people’s Lunar New Year (Tet) plans. Virtual Tet reunion should obviously be encouraged.
Homecoming, New Year greetings, and visits to relatives are manifestly inseparable when it comes to Tet in Vietnam.
“My hometown is in the central region. Most of my family members build their career in big cities where they spend the majority of their time. We ourselves and especially the grandparents who are now over 80 all long for this sacred occasion for everyone to reunite. Older generation does not have much time left to enjoy these cozy gatherings," shared one reader.
Minh, another reader said: “Ask yourself how many times you could possibly visit your loved ones who are far away amongst this hectic pace of life. If not for Tet, it would be almost impossible."
Nearly all of the readers, nonetheless, share the same opinion that health and safety is of utmost importance for the time being.
“We can always celebrate New Year again as Tet returns, your health won’t. No contribution will be too little to help curb this pandemic," said Ha Anh.
Pham Cuong shared his view: “Each and every one of us is a soldier on the anti-epidemic front, so need to be highly disease-conscious. A perfect Tet is not always associated with how soon you could celebrate it.”
Reader Phung Anh agreed: “There will be another and another and another Lunar New Year to do celebrations as long as our well-being is maintained. Everyone staying put for now is a priority.”
Words have become actions. Mr. Hoang, a VietNamNet reader, wrote: “Our family has cancelled all home return tickets booked for Tet. My parents in the countryside, despite missing their offspring, support this decision and choose to be understanding.”
A similar situation faces Cam Thu (36 years old). Her family in spite of having spent over VND10 million on plane tickets from Ho Chi Minh City to the North for Tet, also cancelled now due to the severe development of the epidemic. "10 million is, of course, not a small amount. I also immensely miss my family and my hometown, but this is the only way to keep everyone protected," she said.
“I’ve been looking forward very much to this day for homecoming, which is now an inadvisable thing to do, so I will just stay here in a rental accommodation for this year Tet. Hopefully this ends soon,” wrote reader Ngoc Bich.
The majority of the readers themselves believe the rush for New Year greetings is now no longer worth standing on, to say nothing of this Covid-19 situation.
Hoang said: “My family still has to drive around for Tet by car with the purpose of storing more New Year gifts in the large trunk. That is to say, we spend a huge amount of money for gifting. If it weren’t for giving presents, people wouldn’t be complaining how uneconomical Tet is.”
Many VietNamNet readers share the same view that it is advisable to limit visiting and partying during Lunar New Year. Families, instead, should take time to relax and enjoy to compensate for the hard-working days throughout the year. Greetings or blessings can easily be done via face calling, texting... We should take advantage of the technology development that has enabled everyone to express their feelings conveniently.
"Even without Covid-19, I hope the New Year days will be the time for me to wind down, in place of forcefully, tiresomely dragging from house to house for Tet greetings," said one reader.
“Tet holidays should be considered a resting time for everyone. We should embrace this little moment with our family and ourselves, and contemplate it to the fullest,” said Nguyen Nga.
Per Vietnamese tradition, Tet is the time to visit and gather in the flesh for celebrations. However, more and more people now find it hard to keep the holiday pleasurable with immoderate eating and constant alcohol consumption ... fewer and fewer people feel the true excitement, joy, happiness.
Why not together shift our focus on the simple familial glee to keep everyone truly joyful when the New Year comes?
The Vietnamese traditional New Year (Tet) festival actually begins on the 23rd of the last month of the lunar year, which falls on February 4 this year, with the “Ong Cong - Ong Tao” (Land Genie and Kitchen Gods) ritual.
The dishes on Vietnamese people’s offering trays for Tet days made of clay have attracted buyers. Many original products have been created to celebrate the nation’s traditional Tet.