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Significant Vietnamese Holidays

Tet Trung Thu (Mid Autumn Moon Festival)

In Vietnam, the Mid Autumn Moon Festival is often known as "Tet Trung Thu". To make up for lost time, parents will use this holiday as an opportunity to show their love and appreciation of their children after the harvest. Most children will participate in a lantern parade at dawn to wish for a bright and successful future. According to a Vietnamese cultural Website , lanterns represent brightness, and the possession of them meant success in school. Furthermore, children normally will perform traditional Vietnamese dances for adults and join certain contests in an attempt to win prizes and scholarships.
A favorite folklore about a carp that wanted to become a dragon. The carp worked and worked and eventually transformed itself into a dragon. This is the story behind the mythical symbol, Ca hoa Rong. Parents use this story to encourage their children to work hard so that they can become whatever they want to be.

Like the Chinese, Vietnamese enjoy putting up lanterns, eating moon cakes and gazing at the moon. However, the legend of the festival is very different. Interestingly enough, the moon lady of the Vietnamese legend went on an exile to the moon due to her misdeed. In ancient times, there was a sacred tree that had healing powers and everyone was prohibited to urinate at the foot of the tree. A woman named Chi Hang violated such rule and one day, while she was sitting on the tree’s branch, the tree started to grow and grow until it eventually reached the moon. She had to live in the moon for life as a form of severe punishment.

Tet (Lunar New Year)

The Vietnamese New Year celebration is related to the worship of the three kitchen gods known as "Tao Quan". Vietnamese believe that the gods are present in every kitchen to ensure safety and maintain discipline, in which they are obligated to submit reports of all happens to Ngoc Hoang, the Jade Emperor in heaven. Before their departures on the 23rd of the 12th lunar month, families will offer the best meals and gifts for the Tao Quan in preparation of their upcoming journeys.

Legend said that there was a couple that lived in the forest once upon a time. Due to economic hardships, the husband failed to keep his wife away from hunger and misfortunes. As time went by, his depression turned him into an alcoholic and abusive person. In an attempt to end the awful beatings of her husband, the woman fled and arrived at a hunter's cottage where she was offered food and shelter. In order to return this big favor, she married the honest hunter in hopes for a completely new beginning. Shortly after the woman had forgotten about her previous horrific marriage, a beggar knocked on her door a couple of days before Tet. After offering him some food, she realized that he was in fact her ex-husband. In fear of her happiness being ruined, she ordered him to hide in a pile of hay when she heard the footsteps of her current husband. Without noticing the existence of the beggar, the hunter set the hay into fire in preparation of roasting the wild animals he caught for dinner right after he stepped in. Frightening that the woman would be accused of adultery, the beggar kept quiet despite finding himself ablaze. The woman threw herself into the fire due to guilt and the hunter followed suit, as he could not bear with the pain of losing her. Many villagers came to show their respect for the three of them after the incident they were worshipped as kitchen gods.

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