By Thanh Nga
Nowadays, many Vietnamese people decide to travel over Tết (Lunar New Year holiday). It’s an opportunity to relieve the stresses of the old year, start the new one full of joy, and also an opportunity for families to spend some time together.
“I think Tết is getting simpler. Before, people made banquets as offerings to their ancestors over the first three days of Tết, and had to go to wish families well. Now, myself and many others chose ‘to enjoy Tết but not celebrate Tết’,” said Hanoian Trương Vị.
“My family only spends the 30th December of the lunar calendar and the first day of the new year for traditional Tết rituals, such as worshipping ancestors and wishing a ‘Happy New Year’ to relatives. For friends, I wish them well on Zalo or Facebook. For the rest of the holiday, my family goes travelling,” Vị said.
“It’s been five or six years now. On the second day of Tết, my family leaves Hà Nội to experience the unique cultures of different regions during the long holiday.
“Tết is a time when everyone has the longest holiday of the year, and also when the weather is relatively mild and pleasant. This is an opportunity for everyone in the family to have an enjoyable time together.”
Vị chose Vinpearl Nha Trang for this Lunar New Year.
“It is very cold in Hà Nội. I want to escape the cold and go somewhere where the sun is warmer. I selected Nha Trang, for my family to relax and to swim in the sea,” said Vị.
He said many families chose to go on holiday during Tết, because they get more rewards for the Lunar New Year. Depending on the budget of each family, they organise suitable trips.
Nguyễn Vũ Trang Nhung’s family in Hà Nội are also in the habit of travelling together during the Lunar New Year. On the first day of Tết, they pack up their suitcases and go.
Nhung, 22, said this activity takes place every year, partly due to the family’s preference for moving. Usually, they would travel abroad, to countries such as South Korea, Japan and Singapore.
However, COVID-19 has hindered Nhung’s family’s foreign travels for the past two years. Instead, they decided to discover some of the provinces and cities in Việt Nam.
This year, her family visited Mù Cang Chải District in Yên Bái Province.
For Nhung, trips during the Lunar New Year bring a lot of meaning and help her to connect with members of her family.
“Travel activities with family converge all the elements that help me and my family have a complete Tết. We both experience new things together and get well-rested after a year of hard work and study. In my opinion, Tết doesn’t mean that you have to gather at home and eat traditional rice cakes together,” said Nhung.
Discovery and rest
Near Tết, instead of cleaning and decorating the house, or preparing a big year-end meal, Vân Anh’s family from Hà Nội flew to Quy Nhơn City to welcome the new year.
Before the trip, her family went to the grandfather’s house to have a reunion meal.
Anh is the youngest of five siblings. As the only daughter in her family, she cooked rice from the age of five and washed dishes, until she had her own family.
“I am the head daughter-in-law, so I also have to cook and wash dishes. Before leaving to have our own house, I lived with my parents-in-law for 11 years. My mother maintains traditional culture so when Tết comes, I have to make many dishes to treat guests. I cooked rice and washed dishes all day, so I’m afraid of Tết rituals,” Anh said.
“I have lived with my parents-in-law for a long time. My own parents have a lot of children and grandchildren. I also visit them a lot during the year, so I don’t have to be at home for Tết. Since then, every new year holiday, my family goes on a trip. I feel more comfortable and can be myself when I have the opportunity to go somewhere.”
According to Anh, those who stay away from their parents for the whole year should go home during Tết. For families with many children or grandchildren, or who see their grandparents and parents all year, it is not necessary to stay at home.
“Young people consider Tết as an opportunity to rest, relax and have free time with their family. I think there is no right or wrong choice, just the right fit for each family. Just do what makes you happy,” Anh said.
Lê Phước Thành Luân living in HCM City has had four years of travelling and celebrating Tết away from home.
In 2018, he celebrated Tết in Đà Nẵng. In 2019, he greeted the new year with a journey from HCM City to Đà Nẵng and Huế.
In 2020, due to the spread of COVID-19, Luân stayed in HCM City. In 2021 and 2022, Hà Nội is the destination that he chooses to enjoy his own holiday.
“For me, Hà Nội during Tết holiday is really beautiful. The city has poetic and romantic features. In the cold winter weather of Hà Nội, there’s nothing better than having a toast with friends to welcome the New Year,” said Luân.
During Tết in the capital, Luân took advantage of trying delicious dishes and visiting places around Hà Nội that he had not been to.
According to Luân, he has been living alone for a long time. He likes to travel, so his family are used to his sudden trips. About a week before going to Hà Nội, he visited his parents, to celebrate the New Year early and announce his travel plans.
Luân’s parents understood and so they wished him well, told him to be careful and most importantly, to keep warm.
“Now that technology has developed, we can video call each other from anywhere to celebrate the new year together. For me, distance is not important. My heart is always with my family, so being in the north or south is the same,” said Luân.
Like Luân, more and more people choose to travel at the beginning of the year because it gives them a new vitality, an optimistic spirit and a warm outlook on life. It is the perfect start to a year filled with new challenges and new successes. VNS