So lunar new year’s eve will be on the 15th of february followed by new year’s day on the 16th. However in preparation of the new year Tet celebrations have already started. People are cleaning their houses to sweep out all bad luck, after which they decorate their houses with flowers, traditional peach flower trees and kumquat trees (mandarin trees). Next to this there are a lot of joint celebrations.
Uptill now me and my collegues have been invited to and have attended three celebrations. Two were organized by our client (one regional celebration and one local) and one was organized by the home owners association of the appartment building we live in.
These Tet celebrations are very much like the Christmas diners that we have back home, with a lot of nice food and a lot of drinks. During the celebrations the Vietnamese drink red wine, ba kích which is a dark rice wine with additions of fruit and táo mèo which is a clear rice wine. The celebrations last only a few hours, which is more than enough to make plenty of toasts and to get pretty drunk which then causes you to join the karaoke singing. The Vietnamse very much appreciate you joining the celebrations, including the karaoke and I especially like their way of toasting, in which everyone at a table stands up and shouts:
Một, hai, ba dô!!!
Hai, ba dô!!!
Hai, ba uống!!!
Which more or less means:
1 2 3 yo!!!
2 3 yo!!!
2 3, let’s drink!!!
By now the official Tet holidays are starting up. Today february 12th the construction site is already pretty quiet and work will come to a complete standstill on the 14th. Tradditionally the Vietnamse go back to there families to celebrate Tet, meaning that the big cities will empty and that all the small villages will become very busy.
I will start my cycling trip tomorrow and I’m very much looking forward to experience more of these authentique celebrations, which last uptill a week after new year’s day!