Friday, January 19, 2007

HI Ginyin and Rajeev!

It’s true that Vietnamese and Chinese – and the Koreans as well – share the same Lunar New Year as their main festivals held annually. The reasons are, however, NOT that the majority of the Vietnamese people are of Chinese descendance, but that on their long and struggling history, the Vietnamese had several times in intermittent periods suffered from the Chinese occupation and domination. Just like in Korea and Japan, cultural influence from China has always been strongly felt.The Lunar New Year (called Tết Nguyên Đán in Vietnamese) is one of the numerous festivals celebrated throughout the whole year. The Vietnamese word Tết came from the Chinese character 節 (romanized jié) which means festival, section, segment, point, part, node, jointing...Some of the other festivals are:Tết Đoan Ngọ, in Chinese 端 午 節 [ duān wu jié ] : The Dragon Boat Festival (the 5th day of the 5th lunar month)Tết Trung Thu, in Chinese 中 秋 節 [ zhōng qiū jié ] : The Mid-Autumn Festival, which might be similar to your harvest-time Lohri.Thank you for the brief information on the main festivals in your country,Bye, Kim


  1. Great discussion on Chinese, Vietnamese & other New Years in the same family.

    The analogy may not be exact, but it seems to me there is a parallel here with the different European holidays.

    Most cultures - probably all - have some sort of year end celebration, sometimes more than one. Christmas coincides (by decision of early church fathers) with the older winter solstice - the shortest day of the year. After that day, the days start getting longer. I bet the further north (and colder & longer the winters), the more significant too.

    The difference between holiday dates on lunar and solar calendars is interesting too. Those of us on a solar calendar just aren't used to holidays not being on the same date. I think Easter is the only western holiday that is not the same date every year.

  2. Hi Kim, How are you?

    Thank you very much for telling about Vietnamese lunar festivals. In Hindu religion, most of the festivals are not related to moon but the days on which the festivals are to be celebrated are definitely related to moon. The most important festival that is related to moon is the KARVA CHAUTH celebrated by married hindu women in the month of october or November. The married women have fast on that day and they break their fast after seeing the moon at night and her husband's face through a sieve. This they do so that their husbands can live longer. They pray to God that their husband should have a long life and to protect him.

    Other main festival that is fast approaching is HOLI Festivals in the month of March. It is very popular festival in all parts of my country. People throw colours at each other and young boys throw colour filled water baloons to girls and vice versa.

    India is a land of festivals. Every month we have some main festivals, Indian Government gives maximum holidays to its employees etc.

    In the month of February, we are having a festival called Basant Panchami marking the onset of autumn. As far as my knowledge goes, India is one of the, if not the only, country which celebrates all the six seasons. Basant Panchami is also related to Festival to worship Goddess Saraswati, the mother God of learning.

    I didn't know about Chinese occupation of Vietnam. However, I know about American-Vietnamese war.

    Rest in my next letter.




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