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Celebrate Vietnamese New Year on Wednesday, Jan. 22

Join the Asian-Pacific Islander Staff Association (APISA) in celebrating the Lunar New Year with Tet, the Vietnamese new year for the very first time! Festivities will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 12 p.m. in Franklin Lobby 1.

A Vietnamese chef will be hosting a hands-on workshop to make spring rolls. The fresh vegetarian rolls will include greens, herbs, rice noodles and tofu. Bring a dish to share for the potluck; everyone is invited to participate and all types of food are welcome.

For those who follow the Chinese Lunar Calendar, 2020 is the Year of the Rat.

Vietnamese New Year traditions

“Every year, my cousins and I gather for a small celebration where we make traditional dishes, exchange gifts, and hand out red envelopes to our children,” says Attorney Thu Nguyen of UC Legal. “At home, I create a small meal and a platter of fruit, as an offering to my ancestors. I ask them to watch over us for the year to come.”

“Because this is the Year of the Rat, the first person to step foot into the house on the New Year must be born on a year compatible with the Year of the Rat,” she says. “This year, my husband will perform this ceremonial entrance because he is born on the year of the rat, forty-eight years ago.”

Chinese New Year traditions

Records Analyst Angela Hom, UC Legal, explains that Chinese people have different cultural traditions for the Lunar New Year. “My favorite traditions revolve around family gatherings where wish each other a healthful, happy and prosperous new year and eat traditional dishes. We eat traditional foods, like fish prepared with head and tail – steamed or fried whole,” she says. Other favorite foods that are symbolic of prosperity are “nian gao” or glutinous rice cake and dumplings which are supposed to symbolize gold ingots.

Hom explains that many Chinese New Year traditions are based around superstition. These include:

  • Placing pomelos and tangerines around the house to represent wealth
  • Not sweeping on New Year’s Day to avoid sweeping away any good luck
  • Eating something sweet upon waking on New Year’s Day to encourage saying only sweet and kind things in the year to come
  • Giving red envelopes with money given to children as a blessing to bring good fortune and luck

To learn more about these and other traditions, join APISA for the Tet New Year Celebration!

Learn more about APISA. Questions? Contact Angela Hom and Ben Tsai.


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