The Vietnamese Student Association will host their annual Têt celebration Jan. 30 from 5-9 p.m. at the Baptist Student Union with food, games and live entertainment.
At the celebration, VSA will sell bowls of pho and cups of boba tea for $6 and $2, respectively. Additional activities include paper lantern and dragon making and a pie in the face section to pie a VSA member for $1. All proceeds will be going to Messengers of Love to raise money for school supplies, new orphanages, schools and clean water sources for children in Vietnam.
Vice president of VSA and junior biomedical sciences major Christy Nguyen aid celebrating Têt is when she is most proud to be Vietnamese.
“This time of year, I am most grateful for my grandfather for fighting alongside the U.S. in the Vietnam War and because of that my family had the opportunity to come to America for a better life. So, I am very grateful for my family giving me a better life, especially in education. It is important for me that this holiday is all about celebration of past years’ lessons and success and how important it is to be an Asian American in this day and age,” Nguyen said.
Têt is a celebration of the Lunar New Year that is celebrated in many Asian countries.
Helen Le, a senior biomedical major and longtime member of VSA, gave insight on how it became a holiday in Vietnam.
“China used to rule Vietnam for a long time, and during the Chinese rule, the Chinese brought in philosophies, traditions, foods, and even Lunar New Year, which is now known as Têt for the Vietnamese. The Vietnamese still carry many of the Chinese traditions of Têt, but the Vietnamese replaced the Rabbit with the Rat on the zodiac,” Le said.
Senior advisor of VSA Julie Lam said Têt is usually celebrated for a longer time outside of the U.S.
“People didn’t work like for a week or two. There is a celebration every single day. Like how Americans decorate for Chirstmas, it is like that in Vietnam, but here in the U.S. the decorations are subtle. We only celebrate for a weekend here in U.S. since it is not a national holiday,” Lam said.
There are many traditions that are practiced in the celebration of Têt, such as deep cleaning homes before the new year. For example, sweeping the first day of the new year sweeps good luck out the door. Arguments between others are resolved on that day. Vietnamese women and men wear red áo dàis, which are silk tunic garments worn over pants, to bring in luck and prosperity.
Customs that are practiced on the day of Têt focus on withholding and restraint. Some families do not cook the day of Têt, but prepare the holiday feast the day before instead.
Tina Do, a senior banking and finance major and VSA’s treasurer, said Têt is an important day to spend with her family.
“We have a huge feast and party as a family to enjoy the new year. Those older than me give me money in a red envelope called ‘Li Xi’. This is a sign of good luck and those older are wishing me a good new year,” Do said.
Nguyen said VSA is an inclusive organization and welcomes new members. Email Christy.firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to be involved with VSA.