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Monday, January 26, 2009

Tết

One of the unique advantages of being in a very large melting pot like New York City are the cultural events and celebrations. Today is the lunar new year - Tết for the Vietnamese and Chinese New Year ...
Yesterday, on the eve of the lunar new year an annual parade was held in Chinatown but I opted for the Lunar New Year celebration and Flower Market at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to experience a broader range of Asian cultures, particularly Vietnamese. DVL Dance Vietnam was doing a presentation in the Palm House, however an enormous line had formed well in advance and no seats were available.
All events were indoors and most of the programs family oriented. My understanding was that Tết is an enormous celebration in Vietnam - the largest of the year with preparations weeks in advance. You can read more about it here.
Lunar New Year Celebrations are spread out over a period of time here - calendars show activities and least another week. Today there is an Firecracker Ceremony & Cultural Festival in Chinatown. Sunday February 1st is the annual Chinatown Parade. Saturday, January 31, 2009 is the Lunar New Year Parade - January 31, 2009. There are many more activities this week.
I also took a trip to Tan Tin Hung, 121 Bowery in Chinatown, which carries the largest range of Vietnamese groceries in the city. Prominently placed right at the entryway was Banh Tết and Banh Chung. These are Vietnamese cakes with sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves (Banh Chung is wrapped in dong leaves), eaten during the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. The sign in magic marker on cardboard in Vietnamese was a badge of authenticity ...

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Mary said...

I guess you didn't stay for the Peking Opera. I didn't see you there. I also couldn't get into the Vietnamese Dance program. Got some nice pictures of the Opera, though. (Which I found out is not Italian style opera but an acrobatic performance with colorful, ritual costumes.)