Meet Dy, a vibrant lady originally from Da Nang, Vietnam, now embracing life in Australia since August 2015. Despite being miles away from the bustling streets of her hometown, Dy keeps the spirit of Lunar New Year alive in Toowoomba for her culture and her son.
In Vietnam, Lunar New Year, or Tết Nguyên Đán, is more than just a holiday; it’s a much-loved tradition steeped in culture and symbolism.
Dy fondly reminisces about the grand festivities back home, where her extended family, neighbours, and friends would come together for elaborate celebrations.
However, since moving overseas, the scale of the festivities has shrunk, but the essence remains intact.
For Dy, Lunar New Year is a time for reflection and connection to her roots. She strives to pass on the rich traditions to her son, ensuring that the cultural heritage endures across generations. One-way Dy maintains this connection is by participating in the Vietnamese community gatherings in Australia.
Here, amidst the dragon dances and celebrations, Dy finds a sense of belonging and continuity with homeland.
Central to Lunar New Year preparations is the ceremonial cleaning and decorating of the house. Dy decorates her home with ornaments, banners and arranges fruits and flowers as offerings to the Buddhas and ancestors.
While traditional offerings include a variety of fruits symbolising prosperity, Dy adapts the practice to suit her preferences.
As midnight approaches on Lunar New Year’s Eve, Dy and her family gather to perform the solemn ritual of lighting incense for the Buddhas and ancestors. The fragrant aroma permeates the air, enveloping them in a sense of reverence and warmth. It’s believed that this moment marks the transition between the old and the new, a sacred time when the realms of the living and the dead converge.
On Lunar New Year’s Day, Dy indulges in the quintessential Vietnamese delicacy, Bánh Chưng, a sticky rice cake symbolising prosperity and good fortune.
The day is marked by vegetarianism, a gesture of purity and renewal. In the following days, culinary restrictions are lifted, allowing for feasting on a variety of dishes.
Dy’s Lunar New Year celebrations extend beyond the dining table, as she eagerly remembers the homemade salads reminiscent of Kim Chi, lovingly prepared by mothers and aunties in the community.
The tradition of giving lucky money in red envelopes on the first day of the new year adds an extra touch of joy and goodwill to the festivities.
For Dy, celebrating Lunar New Year in Australia is more than just preserving traditions – it’s a testament to resilience, adaptation, and the enduring bonds of culture and community. Through these rituals and customs, Dy finds solace in her Vietnamese heritage and a sense of belonging in her adopted home.
Thank you Dy for sharing your new year & memories with us.