Dallas/Fort Worth Asian and Vietnamese Americans celebrate “Tet” (Lunar New Year) with traditional fireworks and lion dances to bring good luck and fortune.
By Asia World Media
Chuc Mung Nam Moi (in Vietnamese) and Gung Hay Fat Choy (in Chinese), are traditional Lunar New Year greetings.
It means “Best wishes and good luck. Have a prosperous and good year.”
In North Texas, the Lunar New Year is an important event celebrated by many ethnic groups from Asia. Leaders and members of the Asian communities come together at Saigon Mall in Garland, a week before the Lunar New Year, greeted each other and were treated with fireworks, lion dancers and free food.
Red envelopes and dollars were feed to the lion’s mouth as a good luck gesture. The loud sounds from the fireworks and lion dancer’s drumming are significant in the start of the Lunar New Year, driving away evil spirits and bring in the good luck and fortune for the coming year.
Business owners prepared to receive good luck and fortune from the lions. It is customary for business owners to lure the lions to their store by giving offering of food, usually fruits or head of lettuce, and red envelopes at the entrance of their businesses.
Lunar New Year marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It is a time for family reunions, for honoring ancestors and for thanking the gods for their blessings. The 2014 Lunar New Year (“Tet” in Vietnamese), begins on Friday, is considered as the most important cultural holiday among some Asian communities, like Vietnamese, Chinese, and Koreans. Each of these countries has incorporated characteristic rituals and celebrations that are indigenous to their regions, and are harmonious with their cultural history and geographical climate. In a land where agriculture is still of great importance to the livelihoods of many, the Lunar New Year is a time to celebrate the union of nature, human, culture, the living and the dead. This year will fall on January 31 which symbolized the year of the ‘Horse’.
On the eve of the Lunar New Year, families pray to ancestors at Buddhist temples, where monks hand out oranges to symbolize hopes for gold, or fortune, in the coming year. Many set up five-fruit offerings to ancestors on shrines at home, forgetting about the troubles of the past year and hoping for a better upcoming year.
Families make great preparations for this special celebration. Before the New Year, families settle debts and buy new clothes. The house is cleaned and food is prepared. Homes and businesses are filled with flowers, lucky trees and fruits. Oranges, tangerines, and pomeloes are picked and displayed. The colors symbolize good luck and joy.