April 29, 2008

Looking for some more differences from F and A

French clothes for the kids are very cute, nice and far prettier than the clothes in America. But these clothes are dressed on the child who only could stand still or sit still. Clothing in France for kids, the snaps or the closing are on the shoulder, neck or on the back that. If the parents have to change, he/she have to undress the child or don’t change at all. These means the babies’ comfort comes after his/her appearance or that babies are taught to control themselves very early. American clothing is different. They’re made to comfort the kids, the snaps always on the bottom of the shirt or between the babies’ legs. Clothes are designed in America for the children to easily play on the floor, rolling, running around or comfortable. When American parents shop for their babies’ clothes, they always look for something that easier and faster to change with. American kids’ clothes only took them about second to change diaper or to change the whole thing. Pretty and fancy dresses always designed for children at the early age like infants or children at older ages of 7 and up. It is because infants don’t run around and don’t mess with their dresses. Older kids know how to take care of their clothes and could sit still in those dresses. But mostly parents like to buy clothes that are much comfortable for their children and easy to wash then pretty. That is why American children are more active then French children.

How about food? French cooking isn’t that easy as other people think of. It took a lot of time to prepare for their food. Cooking to them is their culture and the art of food. For example, cooking eggs have many techniques to do it, too. There also many different kind of food they could cook out of eggs. The French care more about what kind of food they eat than American. They think that we American eat disgusting food and unhealthy food. That is true with all the fast food around us; we don’t eat fresh food and don’t spend much time to eat food at all. For the French, they have two hours for lunch but we American sometimes don’t even have lunchtime. We’re too busy to sit down and eat slowly. The French also surprise when seeing that we have more snack time then our main meals of the day. For the French, their most important food of the meal is meat and cheese. Their wines have to go together with their meals. They’re very picky about the wines they drink and the food they eat. Not like American, we can eat anything we want and don’t even have our main meal for the whole day at all. We eat whenever we are hungry and whenever we have time. We don’t sit down together with our family every night for dinner because we all have our own time and schedule. Every one of us is very busy with our life.

And the last interesting difference is an education. For the French students, school is very stressful for them. The students put all their effort into study all the time. The French student spent all their time on studying in school and after school. They have no sport or activities to do after school. All they do is study at school then go home and work on their homework. In school, the students work hard because they have to earn good grades to be able to get to college. They don’t have to pay tuition fee for their college because it is covered by the government. It doesn’t mean going to college with them is easy. Everyone wants to have a chance to go to college that means there a lot of competition going on in school. In college, there will be only 25% students will pass the class because the government don’t pay all tuition fee for those don’t study well. School really stress out for those French students. French students don’t socialize a lot because they too busy with their school and don’t do anything after school with their friends. They study more than American kids and spent less time to hang out with friends than us. That’s why I think it really stressful in French school than American school.

American education is much easier than French school. American schools focus more on activities and creative. American kids study hard, but less stressful than the French kids. After school, we have some other activities and sport to play after school. Our schoolwork is not that stressful for us. American schools focus more on creativity than competition. We encourage our kids to do whatever they want and have a different look at other things from other people. For example, our kids could color the sky pink and blue trees and we still think it creative because they make their picture more creative. But for the French kids, they couldn’t do that because rule is rule. They have to follow the instructions. Sky is blue, tree is green and nothing can change it. If the kids doing it wrong then the teachers and their parents will think that their kids have problem with follow instruction. American parents let their children have their own thinking and imagination. They encourage their children to be independent and individual. American parents don’t have much time with their children because they always busy with their own lives.

April 13, 2008

French vs American

There are many interested things that are different from French and American. Let's go some of them to learn more what difference between us and other French people.
French and American families are very different. American children often don’t listen to what their parents told them to do; they never sit still in public or at the dinner table. They always run around everywhere in the house or in public. The child could just interrupt his or her parents’ conversation with their friend for just a little silly question. The American parents could just stop the conversation with their friend to pay attention to their kids. American children could do whatever they want and their parents won’t say anything. American parents don’t like to punish their children in public because they think it wills ashamed themselves and their children. French parents are different. They will punish their children in the public to show everyone that they’re good parents. French children have to sit still and be quiet during a meal. They cannot run around in the public at all. They have to sit still like a little doll. When the French parents having a conversation with their friends, it is prohibit for the children to interrupt them unless that is a really smart question to be ask. The French parents will reject to answer their children’s silly questions. During a meal, the French parents will order food for their children and there is no kid menu in France. They have to eat whatever their parents eat. There are a lot of disciplines for the French children then American children. Now we move on another interesting difference between them besides the family styles.
In France, when a married couple ready to have kids, then that also means they have to take responsibilities and they are expected to be a “good parent?. It also means that they must answer to society for their behavior toward the child. They have to transform this innocent, irresponsible and impressionable creature into a social being, a responsible member of the society. The French parents care more about how society looks at them from their children. They can reject their children if their children did something that shamed them. They bring up the child correctly and to justifying themselves in the eye of others. It is not their fault for the poor behavior of their child and that they’re good parents, they just have to fight against the nature of children. To the French adult, it is normal for them to tell someone else’s child to behave because they think they could just straighten up that child instead for his/her parent. They might be proud and satisfied with that action but for American they will think that “why don’t you mind your own business??
The other differences from the French parents and American parents are that American parents incur an obligation to the children not the society. They’re not teaching their children the rules and practices of the society but to give them a chance to discover and develop their natural qualities, to exploit their blossom. French parents raise their kids for society and they have in mind what they should do to help their children become a good citizen for society. It is like they planned the future for their children. If the parents raise their kids in the French way then it’s mean they have in mind the clear result of what they want to obtain and what result they want to obtain and what they result they want to get by apply themselves regularly to the task and involve in the life of their children. As an American parent, it is like they planning the seed on the ground and don’t know what type of seed it was. They let the seed develop itself like the parents could help the needs of the children but let their children independent and let the nature take it course. Parents should give their children space and have their own manners.

April 12, 2008

Drugs and smoke: Good or bad behaviors?

What do we know about drugs? What do we imagine when we say this word? White powder or a young person wipes out any possibility for his future to grow and killing himself slowly. Drugs came in our life and destroyed any relations between parents and children. I say "any" because this is the word, defining exactly what happens when a child starts taking drugs. Ignorance from the rest of the world, living in a world with no real friends, no sun, no flowers, no stars, no tears or laughter no love. The only friend of the drug addict is the syringe. And nevertheless, there are people who manage to emerge from all this, to overcome their dependence from drugs and let their life change, continue, develop or whatever word you're comfortable with. Why there are so many drug addicts? Why does a child become a drug fiend? There are people, who are more probable to start taking drugs, than others. People, who are more responsible, stronger and are always "in charge" of their own problems, these people "never" take drugs, as they say themselves. These people are able to obey someone, to entice someone, to listen or act for someone, but to get what they want, to get the joy they want. But there are weak people, who have "closed" and ignored themselves from the rest of the reality, people who live in their own world. They are usually not willing to solve their problems by their own, so they find a "friend" who "helps" them. And all this, you don't need neither to obey, nor to allure the squirt. No, you just take it, and you get they joy you have been longing for so fervently, ignoring everything else around you. You get a false joy, and become unable to feel anything, as you try to get another.
Smoking is one of the other leading causes of bad health such as cancer and death in today’s world. It is also a very common drug that can be used widely and carelessly. The tobacco companies make millions of dollars yearly from smokers. False advertisements and with the government supports, tobacco companies have become the US’s backbone since the 1970’s. The Department has reported it for Health and Human Services that about “4000 teenagers begin to smoke every day and that number is growing. About 90% of the adults that smoke said they started out when they’re teenagers. Also 6.4 million children will die prematurely because of smoking.? Smoking is very harmful and dangerous to both your body and people around you. The reasons why teenagers started smoking vary, but the major ones are stress, peer pressure or rebellious and false thinking. The decision to smoke is your choice but before you think of smoking listen to the reasons why you should not take up smoking. Smoking is bad for your health; smoking cause’s death, is harmful to others, and wastes of money.

March 12, 2008

A GREAT CONCERT

I thought it would be a terrible time when I had to come to join a recital to get some information for my paper that will be due on tomorrow. Actually, yesterday was the first time I participated in a concert because I hate the concert like that: just loud and noisy sounds come out from instruments without voices of singers would make me headache.

On the way going to the concert which began at 4:30 PM, I though when I get there it makes me easy to sleep the whole time of performance. But not, I should change my mind. The concert was very wonderful. It was a great night I have never had before when I went to Ferguson Hall for a recital called “Elizabeth Karelse, piano?. To my surprised, the main person who played during the recitals is my music instructor. Firstly, she played with a young Chinese girl, Yu-Hsuan Yang, who also played piano very well. Then, she played with Ramiro Alvarez and Lucas Shogren separately with other instrument: Cello. The players lead me follow to their feeling by the tune of the music they play. I seemed to be fascinated by the music them play. They use everything I have learned from my class. Mostly, they played alternating hands with both hands, combining with a lot of technical such as allegro, allegretto, and incorporate dynamic contrast, or staccato and legato together. Some times they used stress or emphasis, and using a melody to play with each other. Moreover, they used damper pedals to produce the blurred tonal effects to obtain the mood of the following piece and using a dynamic marking to play strongly accented some part of the songs. I am sure that there were a lot and a lot of things I have not learned yet, they used in this concert. Especially my instructor made me attractively when she played parallel motion that means using both hands move in the same direction on the piano, some time louder, sometimes softer. Everything attracted me following the music. I feel that the piano transmits the impact from the player’s fingers like the fascination of the players on the key to a hammer that strikes the string. Then it conveyed to the audiences in the room.

What a really good time I had yesterday! Going there, now I have experience in learning to read music and to play the note on the piano with any finger, in any manner. The players showed me coordinate what you see on the music page with what you fell in the piano keyboard. I also experienced from learning to use all fingers in playing these notes, first with either hand, separately, eventually together. Besides of those things, I can able have the feel (a little bit ?) of the keyboard when I play a certain song or organize the major and minor keys. During the concert, I wished I could play well as my teacher. Seeing her fingers along the piano made me admire. I don’t suppose that I am being teaching by a very good instructor like that. It will be difficult to learn to play the piano on my own as an adult. However, people have done it before me, successfully. I can, too – if I am determined, tenacious and courageous enough to embark on a difficult but exciting venture. I hope I can learn to play the piano well enough and soon enough to bring me enormous pleasure and satisfaction.

March 7, 2008

TO BE OR NOT TO BE

It was a great excited night at Humphrey Center. Going there, I know more about what it is called “homosexual? which is very weird (in both meanings) to all Asian countries until now. Since old people live there do not accept it. To them, when children were born, most of parents always expect their children to be what they look like. In other hand, if they are boys, they have to act as a man when they grow up, in versa. They did not know the thing people call “gay? or “lesbian? come from their mutant genes. To them, a “real man?, for instance, is the one that show respect to everyone because if he doesn’t know how to respect others then who will respect him back. A real man has to know how to control his anger, his temperature and his emotional or how to show his power in society or in his family. He should know how to hold back his temperature when he gets an angry and he should know how to control himself. But to me a real man just has to be honest, truthful, responsible, gentleman, faithful, and unselfish. Of course I have the same image of a “real man? the same as other girls that he have to look handsome, tall, muscle and tough. But that’s not important because a man with a good manner, good characteristic and good behavior is better than anything else.

I think that it is unfair for the men that they couldn’t express their emotional by crying or telling anyone about their sadness. Men are human beings, too. They have their own feelings, emotions, loves, hates and thoughts. Why they have to control themselves not to cry? That is not true if a man is crying that mean he’s weak or “girly?. Men should be tough in some situation but they could control their emotions. I learned that all men keep their own privacy to themselves and don’t want to share their feelings with anyone even their lovers. They like to keep their depression to themselves, they like to express their anger through violence and they want to look tough to everyone. I agree that men have to look “masculine?, strong and cool but I disagree with the people that said a man look weak when he crying. A man should do whatever he think that it won’t make he feel regret about it later on in his life. Whatever they say, nowadays, Asian people have an open mind about this problem. To them, although there are some arguments if society should accept the homosexual people or not, they are gradually “accepted? by other people. However, it’s just in a certain limitation not at all. To me, why do we have to distinguish them? They are also human like us. So, they have to get their human rights in society as other people do. Why not?

March 5, 2008

FOOD AND CULTURE

It was the first time I tried Mexican food in my life while I have been learning about Mexican culture through out how to make a Mexican food when I and my friends went to a Mexican restaurant in Minneapolis yesterday. That was great lesson.

There is a large difference between foods of different cultures. If you like fatty, meaty, and cheesy foods then American is the way to go. If you like wraps and octopus then Mediterranean food may suit you best. I like Mexican and Italian food. I can’t quite pick one of the two because both are so delicious. It gets kind of tough when my friends as where I want to go for dinner. It’s almost like choosing between Pepsi and Coke, or Vanilla and chocolate. I consider myself weak in that area, but today I am going to change that. I will decide weather I like Mexican or Italian food better.

Let’s start with Mexican food because it seems similarity with Vietnamese food. I love rice. I love it so much that I will eat it any way it is cooked. It can be fried, it can be seasoned, it can be lime rice, tossed with veggies, or it can be just plain with a hint of butter. It’s a good thing I like rice because it is served with almost every meal in the Mexican food group. They put it on the side or in the dish itself. Any way it is served almost guarantees delicious. Italian has its own main dish and it is very different from rice, but somehow the same.

Although rice is a carbohydrate and so are noodles they each have their own characteristics. Rice is small and chewing is necessary, white noodles do not have to be chewed and can be swallowed whole. They are squishy when cooked and hard when dry. To cook noodles you must boil water and then let them absorb. Noodles can be added to many if not all Italian dishes. My favorite dish with noodles would have to be Mostacholli. The type of noodles varies from dish to dish. For example, Penne noodles would not be used in spaghetti, angle hair noodles would. The consistency of the noodle is not the only thing that excites me.

You are eating at an Italian or Mexican restaurant and you order your meal. If the waiter brought out only the noodles or rice how disappointed would you be? That is very reason why the sauce is so important. It makes the noodles “slurp able?, and it gives a flavor to the entire meal too. In the Italian culture, most of the time the base is tomato and it is mixed with meat or vegetables. Meanwhile, Italian sauce can be very chunky, but it allows for the noodles to move with ease. Italian sauce does have its disadvantages like spilling or splashing so it must be handled with care.

In Mexican culture, sauces are flavored with spices, but they have a bit more punch to them. The main spices in Mexican cooking would have to be chili powder, onion, and oregano. These spices are mostly used to spike the meat, but are definitely present in the sauce. Mixing them all together would bring your taste buds to the floor and make them want to dance.

February 22, 2008

LEARNING DIFFERENT LANGUAGE

I know everybody will have his own good or bad memory in his life. Reading the scrawling words which showed on TV tonight made my recall the time when I was in high school. I don’t know I should say that it was a horrible or a wonderful time when I took a Cambodian class. Frankly, it was the hardest thing that I have had in my life. I was so young to learn different language, but it was part of the school regulation. For example, the school I went was Cambodian school, which obligatory to read and write Cambodia. It was going to face so many different things from the school. My first class was a literature class and there were so many students in there. I took a seat in the back of the class afterward the teacher started to explain course syllabus. Then she told us to write down what she wrote on the board. However, I did not understand what she said. I asked a girl who sat next to me for help, but she pretended not to hear my appeal. I try to copy all things on the board, even though I did not know what they meant. After class, the teacher passed out an assignment which was due on the next day when we come to class. I came back home and looked up my homework and try to figure out. Unfortunately, I could not get it done.
I came to class on the next day with nervousness in my mind. It did not my expectation: the teacher wanted me to show her my paper. I had to frankly tell her that I did not know how to write this language and that was why I could not finish my homework. Always new things made me nervous. Yet, the teacher seemed to be patient with my status. She told me to come to her office after class to talk about my problem. And she finally gave me an option: I would stay with her every time when the class time was done so that she would take 30 minutes to help me how to read and write Arabic. End of semester, we got a final. Now, I started to write down whatever came out from my mind and I felt good with something I wrote that fit the topic she gave us. I felt pleased with myself when I received a positive feedback from my teacher. In addition, this achievement made me conceive what I could do for my life because I did my best to achieve my ambition of learning different language. Now, these scribble words ran on TV in front of me, keep going on to end of the news seemed to lead me back to my school where there was a sympathetic teacher, but I am not sure if she is still there or not. It was a wonderful time and great memory that I would never forget in my life.

February 15, 2008

COGITATION ABOUT IRAQ WAR

The war in Iraq has been a topic of debate among many Americans, and especially with one woman in particular, Cindy Sheehan. She believes that her son was sent to fight and die in a war for reasons that have been proven lies. She is not the only one with similar feeling regarding the invasion in Iraq. Many other mothers and families have joined together to let their feeling be heard about the true price of the war. Yes, many Iraqi might not have the chance to experience freedom, but in the end it’s costing many families there love ones. Casey Sheehan reenlisted in August 2003, at the age of twenty-four. He was killed in action on April 4, 2004, just five days after his arrival in Iraq. Casey was killed in a rescue mission in which he and several others were killed. This has lead his mother- Cindy Sheehan- to gather up many supporters outside of George W. Bush vacation home in a peaceful demonstration in order to bring troops home and hold politicians accountable.
Cindy’s protests have been very effective since began her movement in Crawford TX. Approval ratings for Bush have been on the decline and she has been of his biggest problems. Her success has led thousands in many gatherings around the nation. The rapidly dwindling minority of Americans who continue to search for some rationale for keeping U.S. troops in Iraq has been driven to the brink of breakdown by the success of Sheehan’s protest. Cindy’s protests are justified because Bush’s claim of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction has been false. Iraq has been proven not to be an imminent threat to America and there is nor reason for us to be over there. The real war on terror was with Al-Qaeda and Afghanistan and all of the focus was instead put into Iraq. Very little has been gained from this conflict and it will continue at a slow progress for many years to come which leads to many more lives lost. Many lives have been lost in a war that might end up being beneficial to only a select few and it has brought a great amount of grief to many families. On August 17, 2005, Jane and Jim Bright attended a vigil in support of Sheehan, saying “their son’s memory would not be lost in the anti-war movement.? Jim Bright went on to ask, “People are looking inside themselves and saying is this war worth it?? The pro-war pundits who continue to defend the occupation of Iraq are freaked out by the fact that a grieving mother is calling into question their claim that the only way to support the troops is by keeping them in the frontlines of George W. Bush’s failed experiment. Bush backers are horrified that Sheehan’s sincere and patriotic anti-war voice has captured the nation’s attention.
Too many lives have been lost already. Only by continuing to support bringing our troops home and rallying around those who have lost loved ones will put and end to this war. The effort will be well worth in the end.

February 9, 2008

AN EXPERIENCE IN MY LIFE

Nowadays, people often have lunch at Wendy’s restaurants, or come there for their foods. It is one of the famous restaurants that many people know so much everywhere in the United States. But hardly anyone knows who established it. Dave Thomas, who is Wendy’s founder, died because of his liver cancer when he was 69. His childhood was unfortunate and non-stable. When he was a child, he used to travel from city to city with his adoptive father because of his work. Sometimes, he worked as the poor and street children in the city such as “a paper boy, a golf caddy, a grocery deliverer and a pinsetter.? His life trained him, and he learned many experiences from it. Therefore, what he underwent in his life was accumulated in his mind and formed his specific character to become a famous person who was known as a millionaire.
Actually, nobody wants to be an orphan, especially children. Unfortunately, Dave Thomas was an orphan but he did not give up his status. It made him stand up and keep his position as good as we know by his intelligence, love, firmness of purpose, and his confidence. He was conscious of the value of life, especially in an orphan’s life because he was one. He realized what he had to do and what he should do, especially for the orphans. He was named as a national spokesman on adoption issues by President George Bush and received President Clinton’s thankfulness for championing the adoption of foster children. Feeling of love, taking care from his adoptive father made him overcome many problems in his life. He used to struggle to try to live. When he did something, he did it carefully and with his enthusiasm. “Don’t cut corners? was the advice of his grandmother and his fortitude made him work hard, overcome difficulties in his life, and achieve his position in society. People always saw him on television more than others such as Lee Iacocca of Chrysler or Orville Redenbacher of the popcorn brand. Wendy’s is known as one of the famous names everywhere in the United States today. Now, Dave Thomas is gone, but his reputation will be remembered and recalled when people come or pass by a certain Wendy’s restaurant everywhere in the USA. He deserves to receive this honor.
Reading on his life story, I like it so much because my aunt’s life seems to be shown in it. Her mother was gone when she was five. She lived with her father in the middle of Vietnam that was the poorest area of my country for a long time. Moreover, as we know, after the war in Vietnam, industry was in its early stage of development; being able to get a steady job was certainly not what people could dream of at that time. They struggled to live during the period after the Vietnam War ended but its consequence still remained at that time. Her family had several times nothing to eat. Then they moved toward the South of Vietnam because they wanted to have a better life. There, they rented a tiny house in order to live and work in the new environment. She and her father had to work as the lowest class in society. After that, she got married. She and her husband also had to toil and moil all the year round to have food and clothes for their children. Because of their hard-working, they saved some money and bought a small house. They had had to rent it before. Gradually, their life was better and more and more stable. Now, she works for a foreign company and her husband works as a mail deliverer. They have five children.
Today, their family lives in a beautiful big house which they bought five years ago. Their children, three sons and two daughters, are grown up and gone to school because she wants their children’s future not to seem to be as hers used to be. And now, three of their children have become useful citizens and have their position in society. They are very pious. They never forget what they have received from their parents. Now, her children have their own business and always help their parents very much. Having a happy family and getting a stable job are the two wishes of everyone, aren’t they? My aunt is getting them. Sometimes, I ask her to show me how to get what she is having. She humbly smiles and gives me some advice. To her, like Dave Thomas, if we try to work hard and more patiently with enthusiasm from our hearts, we will gain what we want. My aunt is very proud of her children when she meets people and is asked to talk about them.
Both characters above strongly remind me of my experience. I’ve learned so much from my aunt and now from Dave Thomas such as hard work, assistance, persistence, patience, and enthusiasm. We should try to work hard to get our aspirations. Do not wait for them come to us from the sky. Happiness and success will come to a person who is looking for them by their hard work and patience. Moreover, to make our lives better, besides those, let us love, care, and share together as much as we can; these are things that Dave Thomas did.

January 31, 2008

A great memorial Tusday

Cold ..... Cold ..... and very very very cold outside !!!! Perhaps because of that, there are some my classmates was absent yesterday. The subject today was very interesting and helpful, especially for me because it gives me a lot of information to understand and know more about what an essay is and how to make it better. Actually, I had read the subject carefully before I came to class. And I was very excited to get ready to share my opinion that I absorbed from what I read from the subject in class. However, my tongue seemed to be frozen while people were discussing together. I could not say anything at that time. Firstly, what I wanted to say, my friends had said for me. I become behind my classmates in coming out ideas. Secondly, I was scared of my skill speaking English because it is still a problem for a two-year international student like me. I am afraid when I say something with using a wrong pronunciation, I would make people in class uncomfortable while they were discussing excitingly. So each discussing time has passed always makes me regret myself.
Additionally, today we were watched a movie talk about a sculptor - his name Steiner. He has a great ecstasy in his life: ski jump. The movie shows us his experiences in that field with several times he got very serious accidents when he performed his skill to everybody. However, through out of those accidents, he wants to show the viewers a lesson: if you are really fascinated something, do it with your best and you will get it. The movie ended with an image: Steiner comes up to the first winner stage with a champion cup in hand within applauding of the viewers. The movie and the discussion time in class about it would be ended wonderful if there was no my silly idea interrupted. I was so shamed myself. I did not know how I could relate the content of the movie with the title "How many woods would a woodchuck chuck?" Oh my God. How embarrassed am I! During watching the movie, I always though that the woodchuck in the title implied to Steiner who several time "chuck" snow every time he failed in his performance like a woodchuck chuck a wood. That's why I confidently showed this idea in class so that I got a good correction: the title I just said is for another movie we will be watched in some day in this semester. Through it, I have another experience for today: think and watch (or see) carefully before saying something to anyone.
Class ending was also the time I experience myself: don't be afraid to show my ideas because of my speaking skill. If people do like me, the class will become bored. So, I try to be self confident to give an idea carefully from next time when I come to class. Let's wait and see.

January 28, 2008

VIETNAMESE NEW YEAR IN MINNESOTA

VIETNAMESE NEW YEAR
There are couple days more, Vietnamese New Year coming. The atmosphere on the days near Tet is very exciting and animate even though this event happens in Minneapolis which it just has few Vietnamese people live in the US.
The traditional New Year’s Day in Vietnam is called Tet: The Tet festivities often take place from late January to Mid- February of the Christian calendar. This Lunar New Year is the year of Pig. The Tet festival started thousands of years ago. Ancient Vietnamese farmers held joyful feasts and ceremonies to thank the Gods that spring had arrived again and to pray that the new crops would be successful. Today Tet is when debts are repaid, mistakes are corrected, forgiveness asked, and families, ancestors and founders of the nation remembered. It is a mixture of happiness, noise, seriousness, and confidence.
On the evening of the 23rd of the Lunar December, people say goodbye to the Kitchen God- the spirit had left home for the court of the Jade Emperor. He had been given ritual offerings: three paper caps and three live caps which were supposed to carry him up into the sky.
In the afternoon of the 30th day of Lunar December or the last day of the year, people cook a special meal to welcome their ancestors to their homes to enjoy New Year with them. People stay home to do cleaning outside and inside the house, setting the tables, decorating the altar and arranging things for the last time so that everything is clean and ready for New Year’s Eve.
Flowers of all kinds, such as apricots, peaches, daisies, lilies and so on in the shiny vases show of their fresh color. Branches of apricots with yellow blossoms are present in almost every living room on New Year’s days. Trays of traditional cakes, such as Banh Tet (cylindrical sweet rice pudding), Banh Chung (square sweet rice pudding), plates of various fruits such as papayas, bananas, pineapples, watermelons are placed on special tables for worship and praying. The head of the family burn incense, prays for good health, good luck and prosperity while receiving the spirits of his ancestors.
Almost everyone stays up late to welcome New Year’s Eve. The setting becomes solemn and sacred. Everyone is waiting for something new and hopeful. The state of waiting is so quiet and serious. The children are eager to welcome the New Year. They think of tomorrow with lots of candies, lucky money, and gifts. People are joyful and innocent regardless of the hardships of life.
On the first day of New Year, people get up and pay visits, wishing each other a happy New Year. A great number of people go to the pagodas to pray to Buddha that peace may reign among their families and over their country.
The never fail to bring home branches of fresh plants as a symbol of happiness. Customarily, the first day of Tet is reserved for family reunions. Children are most joyful on Tet days. They look forward to meeting older people to get lucky money. The more lucky money they get, the happier they will be in the New Year, they believe. During Tet days, people play chess, cards, the lotteries, games… There are also many other amusements such as cock-fights, bird-fights, fish-fights as well as regional folk dances: unicorn dances, lantern dances, flower dances, straw-hat dance…
The second day is reserved for their employers and friends. People don’t meet or call on their bosses on the first day because they are afraid that they would be jinxed if their families get bad luck of bankruptcy in doing business. That type of wrong belief is hard to get rid of because it has become a common practice or etiquette.
The third day is usually reserved for teacher. People try to come to see their new or old their teachers to wish longevity and ask for advice. They exchange ideas in the past and plan for the future. Relationship between teachers and students gets the most profound understanding at this moment.
Tet is the biggest national holidays in Vietnam. This is an occasion for family gatherings to share feelings, forget the bad things of the old year, trying to do better in the New Year. Tet is a symbol of understanding, forgiveness, harmony, trust, and confidence. The Vietnamese living in every corner of the world have tried to come back home to spend time with relatives to visit old friends and old teachers.
In short, the meaning of the Tet remains the same: to recall the Past and prepare for the Future.