Article provided by Fr. Thien Duc Vu
Vietnamese Lunar New Year or Tet holiday is the most significant festival in Vietnam. Tet holiday is calculated according to the lunar calendar. The Lunar New Year is later than the New Year’s Day. This year, Lunar New Year is on January 25th, 2020. Tet is the longest holiday in Vietnam, at least two weeks for the Tet holiday. Thus, Tet is the most wonderful time for all foreign tourists to spend their vacation in Vietnam enjoying the festive atmosphere and enjoying traditional Vietnamese dishes. In particular, Tet holiday is an opportunity for members in the family to gather together, eat meals together. During Tet members of the family express gratitude to their parents and grandparents who sacrificed to nourish them.
Tet Holiday traditionally lasts for ten days. People often stay at home to welcome guests to their house or go to relative and neighborhood houses. The elderly receive good wishes for health. Adults receive wishes for fortune and success, while the young and children receive lucky money. Laughs and talks appear everywhere on Tet holiday.
Tet holiday 2020 is the year of the Mouse. Each Lunar New Year will have a symbolic animal. There are twelve animals used to calculate the year, each of which is the symbol of a year. Since each of these animals will bring unique luck in its year they are seen everywhere in Vietnam, on decorations, advertisements, and in other ways. Peach blossom trees in Northern Vietnam and apricot blossom trees in Southern Vietnam are also symbols of the Tet holiday. Vietnamese people believe that the light red of peach blossoms will bring the luck and the yellow of apricot blossom will bring fortune to the owners. Thus, peach blossom tree or apricot blossom tree will be displayed indoors or in front of their homes.
Vietnamese and Chinese students (priests, brothers, seminarians, and sisters) celebrated Lunar New Year at Holy Apostles College and Seminary on February 1st, 2020. Celebration of Lunar New Year included Mass, a banquet, musical presentations and a few traditions of the Vietnamese New Year. About 250 people including priests, brothers and sisters, professors, the members of staff, and laity, celebrated Lunar New Year together. All of us celebrated Mass to give thanks to God, because of His blessings in the passing year.
We prayed that this new year the holiness of God will be more evident in our lives as we engage in learning, teaching and working at Holy Apostles College and Seminary. We also prayed for a year of peace and health for people throughout the world. After Mass, we had a banquet, traditional Vietnamese music and dance. Everyone received lucky money from Father Rector Peter, Vice-Rector Monsignor Albert, Father Martin Rooney (Chief Operating Officer), and Father Michael Nam. Lucky money is a symbol of success in the New Year. Father Rector Peter gave us the meaning of the year of the mouse 2020. He said that “Mice love living with other mice. Mice are social. I recently read that mice are so social that they will cuddle with non-mice, such as squirrels to keep warm when it is cold. During this new year, may we learn from our brother mouse to love community life; may we learn from brother mouse to invite others into our social spheres of Christian living with the hope that all will be warmed by the perfect, true love of Jesus Christ.”
May God bring good luck to everyone in Holy Apostles College and Seminary this new year.