Hundens år 2018 - Year og the Dog

14/2 Toui Tre: Flower Street opnened in Ho Chi Minh City - The iconic event to celebrate Tet will run until February 19.

11/2 Toui Tre: Fireworks during TêT 21 places - shows will mark the begining of Lunar News Year.

A boat carries baskets of chrysanthemums to the market. Southern Vietnamese love the color yellow for the Lunar New Year. The bright ochna blossoms are a usual favorite, but most people are happy with cheaper options.

13/2 VnExpress: Floating market carries Tet spirit in Vietnam’s rural south - Fresh pork, watermelons and golden chrysanthemums are not glamorous, they’re essential.

12/02 VietnamNet: Flowers colour Hanoi's streets as Tet nears - Hang Luoc Street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi is famous for its Tet market with various types of peach branches and trees, kumquat trees and other flowers from Hanoi’s famous flower villages.

8/2 Toui Tre: Getting Ready for Têt - Thursday 8/2 is the day of the Kitchen Goods

Those born under auspices of the dog are honest, friendly and trustworthy. They are protective, generous in their love and have a strong sense of justice. They are also intuitive, good judge of characters and are able to figure out human nature almost instantly.
Diplomatic they may be but they are equally fast with their razor sharp barbs when slighted. Like the animal itself, they are homebodies who care deeply for their families above else. On the negative side, dogs can be overly judgmental and self-righteous. Nothing is good enough for the. Their eternal quest for the right way at imes ends in all consuming depression or disappointment. Dogs find it hard to compromise and may refuse to get off their high horses.
Ones who are born in the Year of the dog possess the best traits of human nature; because they're honest, have deep sense of loyalty, and have inspired other people?s confidence because they know how to keep secrets. But sometimes, ones who are born in the Year of the Dog can be selfish, really stubborn, and eccentric (weird). They don?t seem to care much about money, but they seem to have a lot of money. Sometimes they can be cold (emotionally) and distant at parties.

The year of the DOG indicates future prosperity. Worldwide, the dog is used as a guard against intruders. Pairs of stone or ceramic dogs are placed on each side of the entrance to villages and temples as guards. The dog year will be secure and protected. The hour of the dog is 7pm to 9pm when people of rural Vietnam have gone to bed and leave the dog to keep watch.

Tet 2018 Hundens år * Tet 2017 Hanens år * Têt 2016 8/2 Abe/Monkey * Têt 2015 19/2 Ged/Goat * Têt 2014 31/1 Hest/Horse * Tet 2013 10/2 Slange * Tet 2012 dragens år * Têt 2011 year of the Cat * Têt 2010 year of the Tiger * Têt 2009 Year of the Buffalo * Tet 2008 Year of the Rat * Year of the Pig 2007 *

Things Asian: The Vietnamese Zodiac - Sequence of the Tet Celebration

If you are lucky enough to be in Viet Nam during Tet, you will be rewarded with some unforgettable sights, sounds, tastes and smells! Tet starts on the first day of the first lunar month, and is the first season of the New Year (according to the lunar calendar). It is also known as the Tet Nguyen Dan, literally meaning Fete of the First Day. This New Year 2018, the Year of the Dog, starts on February 17th.

Tet has become so sacred to the Vietnamese that when Spring arrives, the Vietnamese, wherever they may be, are all thrilled and excited. They feel an immense nostalgia, wishing to come back to their homeland for a family reunion and the particular flavours of the Vietnamese festivities.
The Tet of the New Year is, above all, a fete of the family.

As the legend goes, near the end of each lunar year, the Kitchen God takes a ride on a carp to the Heavenly Palace to make a report on the affairs of the household on Earth in that year. This is an opportunity for the household genies, namely the Craft Creator, the Land Genie and the Kitchen God, to meet. The Kitchen God returns in time to welcome in the New Spring. Even today, people release carp, hoping for a good report!
Tet is also an opportunity to welcome deceased ancestors back for a family reunion with their descendants.

Special foods for Tet
In the Vietnamese language, there is a special expression An Tet which literally means "Eat the Tet", but which embraces the meaning of celebrating the event with all traditional activities involved, including eating.
On the last day of the old year, the preparation of food to offer to the ancestors is of special significance.
Dishes to offer to the ancestors differ in the Northern, Central and Southern parts of the country, depending on their respective weather conditions at the time and on different local agricultural products available.
In the North, the menu for the Tet banquet includes pig trotters stewed with dried bamboo shoots, boiled chicken, carp cooked in salted sauce, jellied meat, and kohlrabi, cauliflower or onion fried with pig skin or lean pork.
An essential food at Tet is Banh Chung (square cake made of glutinous rice, pork and green beans wrapped in the dong leaves and boiled) and pickled onions.
In Hue, the former imperial city, located in the Central part of the country, the culinary art reached its best in feudal times, with hundreds of dishes created for the occasion of Tet for the kings and the royal family.
Now during Tet holiday, every family in Hue has Banh Tet (a round-shaped glutinous rice cake), sugarcoated coconut, roasted melon seeds, and different pork dishes. The menu may also include beef cooked with garlic, and various kinds of meat pies such as gio thu (pig's head meat pies), cha lua (pork bologna), grilled shrimp pies, boned pig's trotter stuffed with meat, nem chua (fermented pork hash), pickled scallion, and unripe banana cooked in sweet and sour sauce.

Vietnamese Tet has quite a few original practices with customs and entertainment that have distinct Vietnamese cultural characteristics:

Planting the Neu
Long long ago, humans and devils co-inhabited the Earth. The devils overwhelmed the humans and invaded their land. Buddha told the devils: "I will hang my cassock on top of the bamboo, and wherever the shadow falls is Buddha's land, and you devils must give it to men." The devils agreed. So after planting the bamboo, Buddha flung his robe to the top and made the bamboo higher by means of magic.
As a result, the cassock overshadowed the whole land and the devils were chased to the East Sea.
Then the devils prayed to Buddha for permission to return to the mainland for a three-day visit to their ancestors' tombs on the occasion of Tet.
The neu is a bamboo pole with green leaves, an eight sign amulet and bells hung from its top. Lime powder is scattered round its base to allow the painting of crossbows and arrows to chase away the devils.

The "Mam Ngu Qua"
The "five-fruit tray" on the ancestral altar during Tet symbolizes the admiration and gratitude of the Vietnamese to Heaven and Earth and their ancestors, and demonstrates their aspiration for a life of plenty.
As one theory goes, the five fruits are symbolic of the five basic elements of oriental philosophy: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth.
Some people believe that the five fruits are symbols of the five fingers of a hand that is used to produce physical wealth for the living, and to make offerings to the ancestors.
Perhaps, in a simple way, the five fruits represent the quintessence that Heaven and Earth bless humans. This is one of the general perceptions of life of the Vietnamese, as in the popular saying: "When taking fruit, you should think of the grower".
Today, the tray may contain five or more fruits, in the form of a pyramid like before, or in a different shape. Regardless, it is still called the Mam Ngu Qua, the five-fruit tray.

Dao, Mai, Quat (Peach, Apricot & Kumquat)
Coming to Vietnam during the season of the Tet festival, the visitor is engulfed in an ocean of colorful flowers.
Poor or rich, northerners cannot go without a twig of peach blossom in their homes, while the southerners, a small branch of apricot blossom, together with a pot of Kumquat.
The peach and the apricot blossoms are symbols of the Vietnamese Tet, like the pine tree is to Christmas.
The warm pink of the peach could very well match the dry cold of the North, and the hot South seems to be flourishing in the riot of the yellow of the apricot.
The Kumquat is symbolic of good fortune and, therefore, people tend to choose the little plants laden with fruit, big and orange, and verdant leaves for a longer display.

The Cau Doi (Parallels)
Composing, challenging and displaying parallel scrolls represents an elegant cultural activity of the Vietnamese.
For Tet, parallels are written on red paper and hung on both sides of the gate, the pillars or the ancestral altar. Each pair of parallels has an equal number of words with contrasting or corresponding meanings and lines of verses.
They show a keen intelligence, perception of nature and social life, uphold morality and a yearning for the well-being of all people. The red is symbolic of auspicious and powerful vitality, according to popular belief.

The Giao Thua (New Year's Eve)
The Giao Thua is the most sacred time, the passage from the old to the New Year.
It is traditionally believed that in Heaven there are twelve Highnesses in charge of monitoring and controlling the affairs on Earth, each of them taking charge of one year. The giao thua is the moment of seeing off the old chieftain upon the conclusion of his term and welcoming in the new one.
For this reason, every home makes offerings in the open air to pray for a good New Year.
After the giao thua is the start of the New Year with many customs and practices, and entertainment, all of a distinct Vietnamese folk culture.
During the first three or four days of Tet, the first houseguest to offer Tet greetings is considered the "first visitor of the year" (xong dat). Their luck and social position is considered to have a strong effect on the household's success or otherwise for the New Year.

Legend of Banh Chung
According to legend, the Banh Chung came into being under King Hung, the nation's founder, some 4,000 years ago.
The King set a challenge for his sons, to come up with the best food for Tet. Some sought out the most exotic, expensive dishes to present to the King. But Prince Lang Lieu came up with simple round and square cakes, made from common ingredients available to the ordinary people.
The round Banh Day symbolized the sky, and the square Banh Chung symbolized the earth. He offered them to his father and the King was very impressed. Ever since the Banh Chung has been a "must have" during the Tet holidays.
The Banh Chung is very nutritious, has an original tasty flavour and may be kept for a long time. All of its ingredients and materials, from the green wrapping leaves to sticky rice and pork, green peas and pepper inside, are all medicines (according to Oriental Medicine) that act to keep harmony between the positive and the negative, thus helping the blood circulate well and preventing diseases.
Certainly, no other cakes could be of such cultural significance as the Banh Chung of Viet Nam.

Med tak til Viet Nam newsletter no. 43. 7. january 2006 and Bruce McPhie