Thursday, February 7, 2013
Saigon Puts on her Party Dress - Tet is in the Air.
Tet is an amazing time of year in Vietnam. It marks the start of the new lunar year. On Sunday we say goodbye to the auspicious Golden Dragon and enter the year of the snake. Although it sounds like it shouldn't be, the year of the snake is also said to be a good one.
A lot of tourists decide not to come to Vietnam during Tet and with quite good reason. Basically just about everything shuts down so that the Ho Chi Minhians can all go to their home towns and be with their families. When you come to Saigon you want to be able to do tours, visits museums etc. This can be tricky around the Lunar New Year. We have however noticed over the last few years that more and more places are staying open and it is nowhere near as deserted as it used to be. Restaurants catering to tourists in particular. I remember our first Tet and the warning about eating out and getting food poisoning as there was no fresh produce being bought in. Needless to say, it didn't happen! (It is still a good idea to get a heap of cash out and store it at home as the ATM's tend to run dry after a few days and are not replenished).
If you do decided to visit during, or even pre Tet, you will get to enjoy a city that is buzzing. People are frantically preparing for the New Year. Tet baskets are bought along with new clothes that are to be worn on the first day to bring good luck. Houses and painted and debts paid so that the new year can begin with a clean slate. The children eagerly await their little red envelope with fresh crisp dong inside. Smiles abound around the city and the city itself transforms into a floral paradise. Industry shuts down bringing with it's closure the clear blue skies of town with much less pollution. I was looking out the window the other night and it looked different. It took me a while to figure out that it was because there were STARS! I can't really ever remember seeing stars in the night sky!
I wish you all a very Happy Lunar New Year and I hope the year of the snake brings you much joy, prosperity and happiness. Chuc Mung Nam Moi!