Ringing in the Year of the Goat

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Celebrating luck, happiness and good health at TRU

To Phi Yen (Jenny) hands out banh tet to the crowd. (Kim Anderson/The Omega)

To Phi Yen (Jenny) hands out banh tet to the crowd. (Kim Anderson/The Omega)

Chúc mung năm moi! Feb. 19 marked the Lunar New Year, more commonly known as Tet to the Vietnamese community, celebrating the year of the goat. The Lunar New Year is based on the lunisolar calendar, celebrating the first full moon of the New Year and usually falls between January and February.

On Feb. 21, students in the Vietnamese club took a break from studying for midterms to celebrate with the rest of the Kamloops Vietnamese community and other TRU students in the central residence hall at McGill. The night included games, a buffet style dinner and performances of singing and dancing organized by the Vietnamese club with help from TRU World. The food included traditional spring rolls, barbecue chicken, fried rice and bánh tét for dessert – sticky rice wrapped around mung bean and pork.

Lunar New Year is celebrated over the course of a few days to a week. For Lisa Nguyen, third-year sociology student, the celebration is a time for family.

“We cleaned out our house entirely, and we celebrated by making lots and lots of food to put on the Buddha,” Nguyen said. “So things like green vegetables, which represent wealth, we want to eat red beans to protect away from bad spirits and mom makes a kind of sweet dessert so that you can stay sweet the whole year around.”

The night was filled with games for the younger attendees with the winning prizes being “lucky money” in red envelopes. These red envelopes are traditionally given to children after they wish a happy New Year to their parents and grandparents.

“Traditionally they would get money, and the money specifically would either have special numbers or be brand new and that would signify brand new luck and hopefully a brand new start for your New Year,” Nguyen said.

Children and young adults pay particular attention expressing their appreciation to their parents. While for some international students that means a phone call to their relatives back home, Tuan Nguyen got the chance to sing while playing the guitar for his mom who was visiting from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. By the end of his performance the crowd was in tears.

Tracy To, TRU alumna and the MC for the night, sang “Hello Vietnam” originally written by Johnny Wright.

“It’s a great opportunity to introduce Vietnamese culture to all TRU students and staff,” To said on the event. “By organizing the event we hope to increase the identity of the Vietnamese community at TRU.”

As 2015 marks the year of the goat, this year is extra special for anyone born in 1979 and 1991. According to Viet Horoscopes, those born in the year of the goat are level-headed and easily pleased.

“In the Vietnamese horoscope, the goat people enjoy the comforts of having great friends and an amiable relationship at work. They are not born leaders, but they make excellent members. They have smart opinions, which they willingly share to achieve success for the group,” advises Viet Horoscope.

Photos by Kim Anderson