Chúc mừng năm mới! Happy New Year!
On February 1, my family, along with countless others, will celebrate Lunar New Year. We don’t count down to midnight or pop the champagne, but we enjoy many different traditions to ring in the New Year! This year sees the return of the local Tết festival in New Orleans East at Mary Queen of Vietnam, where we will join my husband’s family for a day full of festivities.
Before we head out to the festival, we will take part in a ceremonial display of respect to my husband’s parents by presenting them with gifts of fruit. My children will dress in traditional áo dàis and recite the New Year’s greeting: Chúc mừng năm mới! In return, they will receive lucky red envelopes with money inside, called lì xì.
Then… it’s festival time!
AND YOU’RE INVITED!
The free festival will take place February 4-6. For those who attend the opening night on Friday, they will be treated to a traditional lion dance and firecrackers, making the night extra festive.
Over the course of the weekend, everyone is welcome to come out and celebrate starting at 10 AM. There are plenty of games to play, ranging from the traditional Bầu cua tôm cá (a gambling game using dice and pictures of animals) to the types of games typically found at school fairs and carnivals. Children can also ride the small party train around the grounds!
The center stage is always alive with music, including popular bands Groovy 7 and RoyalStreet, interspersed with Vietnamese performers. The most Vietnamese performances will be on Saturday night. If you’re not singing and dancing along, you can walk through the Vietnamese cultural display showcasing traditional outfits and more!
But like any good New Orleans festival, the best part of the Tết celebration is the wide range of delicious food! Come out and taste some traditional Vietnamese dishes, including:
- Phở (Vietnamese bone broth soup with noodles and meat)
- Bánh mì thịt (French bread sandwiches with different meats)
- Bún thịt nướng (vermicelli noodles with grilled meat including beef, pork, & chicken)
- Cháo gà (rice porridge with chicken)
- Thịt xiêm nướng (grilled meat on a stick)
- Bắp nướng (grilled corn)
- Gà chiên (fried chicken)
- Chả giò & Gỏi cuốn (egg rolls & spring rolls)
- Chuối chiên (fried bananas)
- Cà ri dê (goat curry)
- Nước mía (fresh pressed sugar cane juice)
- Hột vịt lộn (balut)
- Chè (sweet tapioca)
- Cà phê sữa đá (iced Vietnamese coffee)
We welcome you to the Tết festival and encourage you to wear red, a lucky color, to celebrate the year of the tiger. Those born in the year of the tiger are ambitious and competitive, but generous with a strong desire to help others. Encourage your kids to be like the tiger and find ways to help others in honor of the new year! And once again, happy lunar new year from my family to yours!