Thursday, January 26, 2006

Chúc Mừng Năm Mới

Tết is just around the corner. Vietnamese families will be gathering together this weekend to celebrate the New Year, pay their respects to ancestors, eat a lot of food and have a good time. It is hands down the biggest and most important celebration in Vietnam.

Mr. Octopus and I will be heading down to O.C. on Saturday to see my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and cousins' kids. We'll be arriving a little early to pay respects to my grandparents and other relatives on the family altar.

Vietnamese try to pay all their debts before the New Year. They try to make amends with people. They clean the house and decorate with flowers. They wear new clothes. Children get lucky money in red and gold bags (above). It's a new start, and supposedly the first couple weeks of the New Year are indicative of the rest of the year.

Food is a huge part of Tết, and there are certain dishes that are symbolic of Tết, most notably bánh chưng (right), which is a square cake of sticky rice filled with meat (usually pork) and beans, all wrapped in banana leaves.

Here's hoping that the Year of the Dog is a lucky one for you.

Chúc mừng năm mới
Happy New Year!!!

p.s. If you're going to say "Happy Chinese New Year" to someone, it's best to be sure they're Chinese.


hh said...

yummmm! i think my mom's friend just gave her bánh chưng, but a veggie one! i'm so salivating...
happy new year!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Channie-baby, Chúc Mừng Năm Mới from one VNese gal to another. I'm going with the Chinese half of my roots this year and hosting a jiaozi making party. Wish I had some bánh chưng, though. Yum... --P said...

Happy Lunar New Year from NYC. I'll be brewing up some Korean Rice Cake & Dumpling Soup. Not as authentic (frozen dumplings)as mom's but still pretty tasty! May the Year of the Red Dog bring you and yours health, happiness, and of course good fortune.

chanchow said...

HH, P and Carol:

Happy Lunar New Year. Chúc Mừng Năm Mới. Gung Hao Fat Choy (sp?).

The party at my parents' was a success. We feasted on spring rolls, egg rolls, bánh chưng and cari ga (chicken curry). My little nieces and nephews wore traditional Vietnamese outfits.. It's amazing how little kids can perk up a party. I began wondering what family gatherings were like before my cousins had kids. I can't remember-- maybe we just drank a lot more beer!

Anonymous said...

Party here was a success, too. Folks saw my new and now fully decorated apartment, we made our own jiaozi (dumpling) fillings, stuffed them, and boiled them all by ourselves. No kids here. You're right; it was the booze that sustained us.... (Party started with mimosas around noon and ended with some yummy red wine around 5ish. Even our ice cream had Bailey's on it, haha.)

I have a good feeling about the Year of the Dog. All the best to you and yours in it!

chanchow said...

I just noticed that the woman pictured in the top left has unmatching flip flops. She must've swapped flip flops with the other woman. ha!