Like Vietnam, Chinese traditional New Year is the most important festival of the year. These days people from all over the country return home for the festival and family reunion. Happy New Year in Chinese is “Gui Nian” – “过年好”, according to the legend, Nian is a monster that always appears at the end of the year to disturb people’s lives, however, the special thing about this monster is that it is afraid of noise and red color. Therefore, on the occasion of the new year, Chinese people decorate their homes with red parallel sentences, red lanterns and explode firecrackers in order to pray for an auspicious new year. Chinese people generally avoid eating the animal that represents the year at the beginning of the new year.
If Vietnamese people have Banh chung (square sticky rice cake) and Banh tet (cylindrical sticky rice cake) during traditional new year festival, Chinese people also have Nian Gao, a kind of traditional cake made from sticky rice with sugar and fresh ginger. In addition, the trays for containing candies, jam, melon seeds to receive the guests are indispensable during Chinese new year festival.
Another Asian country which also celebrates lunar new year is Korean. The new year of Korean people also starts from the first day of the first lunar month. On the last day of the lunar calendar, Korean families always clean up their houses. In the New Year’s Eve, they will take a hot bath to wash off the dirt and then get dressed in their traditional hanbok to conduct ancestor worship rituals.
There are usually more than 20 dishes in the banquet for worshiping in a new year’s eve of the Korean people, and out of these dishes, ttok-kuk (a kind of noodle soup), spicy kim chi and rice cake soup (ttelkguk) are indispensable. Just like Vietnamese customs, Korean people also go to visit their neighbors, relatives or visit their ancestral graves and go on a trip to enjoy the spring holiday to the tourist attractions of the country. During the new year festival, children will be engaged in traditional games such as tug of war, kite flying and teeter in public places.
For North Korea, the two indispensable customs during lunar new year festival are “exorcism” and “burning hair”. The exorcism etiquette is conducted by plaiting a straw dummy, putting money inside, and throwing it outside the street at the crossroads with the wish of sending away the evil spirits and welcoming luck. The “burning hair” custom usually takes place in the afternoon of the first day of the year, the people will gather all the lost hair in the year and then burn them all to wish for a lucky and auspicious new year.
The indispensable dish during the new year festival of the North Korean people is “medicinal rice”. The ingredients of this dish consist of sticky rice, honey, chestnut, soy sauce, grease and pine nuts, etc. The North Korean people think that eating this dish in the new year festival will bring fortune and happiness for the whole year.
One more Asian country which also celebrate the lunar new year is Singapore, especially their lunar new year festival takes place at the same time of Vietnamese Tet holiday. Three most outstanding events during lunar new year festival of Singapore people are the lantern festival, the Singapore River Hongbao festival and Chingay Parade.
The lantern festival is the first activity in Chinatown, the opening night usually takes place 15 to 20 days before the lunar new year. The decorative images are usually the animal that represents the year. The Singapore River Hongbao Festival is organized at Esplanade Park, consists of exciting entertainment activities such as traditional culinary performances, fireworks performance, calligraphy competitions and fun games for children and adults. Lastly, the Chingay Parade usually takes place on the first Saturday of the year; this is the biggest carnival of Singapore people.
Although each country has a different way to welcome the new year, overall, Tet is an occasion for family members to reunite in an annual feast and give the best wishes for one another. On the occasion of Tet 2017, Vinpearl would like to thank our valued guests for always supporting us during the last year and wish you all a new year of good health, prosperity and may myriad things go according to your will.