Foreign tourists experience Tet traditions at HCMC festival

A Lunar New Year event called Vietnamese Tet Festival 2024 opened on Thursday evening at Le Van Tam Park in downtown Ho Chi Minh City and has interested foreign visitors.

At the park’s main gate on Dien Bien Phu Street are three replicas of traditional houses complete with ancestral altars and Tet feasts representing the country's three regions.

Hugh, a visitor from the U.S., stumbled upon the event while walking past Le Van Tam Park. He was curious about Tet celebrations, about which he did not know much.

foreign tourists experience tet traditions at hcmc festival 2024 1

A stall offering calligraphy caught his attention. After getting an explanation about the tradition of having calligraphy done during the Lunar New Year, he was suggested the word tai loc, which literally means "money and luck," a common wish that Vietnamese often give each other during the Lunar New Year.

He said: "I've been in Saigon for five years but never had the chance to celebrate Lunar New Year. This tradition of receiving calligraphy is entirely new to me. Having this handwritten piece is great."

Hugh was amazed at the calligrapher’s skill and the meaning behind each word. He was told that tai loc means luck, success at work and a good life.

He was also invited by the artisans to taste "bánh cuốn" (steamed cupcakes), a specialty of central Vietnam

foreign tourists experience tet traditions at hcmc festival 2024 3

Looking around for stalls with Vietnamese dishes, Hugh said: "I really like Vietnamese food and hope to try many dishes during this festival."

Other foreign tourists also joined the fun, taking in Vietnamese Tet customs with a mixture of curiosity and excitement.

Stalls showcasing to he, a traditional toy made from glutinous rice powder, the chung cake (square rice cake) making area and stalls with traditional food caught the eye of many foreign visitors, who stopped to take photos and participate in the activities.

foreign tourists experience tet traditions at hcmc festival 2024 2

This year's event has some 100 stalls with specialties and products from around the country. There are also areas for visitors to learn about Tet traditions like wrapping chung without molds and making to he. There is also an area for traditional games like tug of war, can throwing, breaking pots while blindfolded, and mandarin square capturing.

Le Minh Canh, 36, a stall owner selling Quang Nam-style noodles, said he and his colleagues have set up a spot for visitors to try making noodles by hand.

"The Vietnamese Tet Festival in HCMC, where many tourists gather, is a chance for me to share local culture with both domestic and foreign tourists."

foreign tourists experience tet traditions at hcmc festival 2024 4

Nguyen Van Dung, vice chairman of the city People's Committee, said the event offers an opportunity for locals and tourists to explore the country's culture and cuisines and the country's various regions to promote their products.

To run until Jan. 21, the festival offers free admission and expects to receive over 80,000 visitors.

It is set to become an annual event.

Source: VnExpress

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