English Corner / Mancanegara / Vietnam

Celebrating The Lunar New Year

Last mid 2010, I rounded trip to several cities in East Java and Bali: my BBB trip. I’ve shared the photo at Bromo Mountain a long time ago. But let’s forget that for a while because now I will tell you more about another round trip that I did with the same pals last January 2012.

As I already told you before, 9 days trip to Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore.Maybe those two last countries are already being a common holiday destination for some Indonesian. Malaysia and Singapore are being favorite’s destination for some Indonesian, because they are a good place for shopping a lot.

However, how about Vietnam?

I only knew this country before because of their winning history in the war against United States, the Cu Chi Tunnel, the new 7 wonders Ha Long Bay, its coffee, and also from Sylvester Stalone action as Rambo, absolutely. Then I got more curious since Air Asia often gives the promo ticket to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC).

Finally, at November 2011 I got the cheap ticket to HCMC for only US$50. I’m with other 6 best pals were arrived at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in January 24th, 2012.I spent 4 days in Vietnam. Well, actually not 4 days precisely… First story that I would like to share is about my first impression about this city that I will never forget.

Chuc Mung Nam Moi..

Well, first local phrase actually. That is the Vietnamese phrase that I always remember because I found those words around Ho Chi Minh City, everywhere I go. Lately I know the meaning of those words is “happy new year”. Yes, the whole city was celebrated Lunar New Year that fell on January 23rd, 2012.

If Indonesia celebrates the Lunar New Year for only one day, Vietnam celebrates it for 6 days. Many of the stores were closed. Even only small numbers of seller that still exist in Cho Benh Thanh (biggest market in HCMC) during the Lunar New Year. The tour guide said that the Vietnamese’s people, who works and lives in big city like HCMC, Da Nang, or Hanoi, will go back to their hometown during Lunar New Year. I guess the city’s condition like that was same with Jakarta when the Ied Day was coming.

Even though in many parts of the city was on silence, I still could feel Lunar New Year atmosphere. Almost every building put on the banner that said “Chuc Mung Nam Moi”.  And the most important, Duong Hoa Nguyen Hue or Nguyen Hue Flower Street Festival was held for 4 days in order to celebrate it. According to Vietnamese language, “duong” means “street” and “hoa” means “flower”.  So the festival was taken place in one of the biggest street in HCMC, Nguyen Hue Street.  Along the street—that resides in front of the statue of Ho Chi Minh—was filled with various kinds of flowers. However, I was not only found many kinds of flowers, but I also found a book fair and of course local attractions.

I was come to this event on the last day of Duong Hoa Nguyen Hue. It was soooooo crowded with many numbers of local and foreign visitors who caused terrible traffic jam. I stayed at District 1 around Pham Ngu Lao Street near to Cho Benh Thanh that located at the heart of city, and the traffic was just starting from that part.  That was really difficult for me to walk because too many people. Motorcycles were dominating the road. Moreover, there were also many food and souvenir sellers along the pavement footway.

There is one rule that you have to pay attention on it if you are in the middle of crowd like that, anywhere it is: be careful of your belongings. Put your bag in front of you. Just FYI, my friend was lost his iPod while walking along the road.

When I was already at the main road, Nguyen Hue Street, there was a big set of flowers that formed a shape of dragon. In Lunar calendar, this is the year of dragon. This figure believed can bring luckiness and prosperity. On the festival, I was astonished with many beautiful flowers with its beautiful colors. I read that Da Lat City is famous for its beautiful flowers. And I’m just guessing that… maybe those flowers were coming from Da Lat? Hehe

While I was busy in taking some photos, one Vietnamese lady in Ao Dai dress (Vietnam’s national costume) came and gave me a piece of paper that has short thread on the top side. So it could be hanging on the tree. She said that I should write my wishes for this dragon year and hanged it on the tree, as high as I could. Then, I’m with others six Indonesian friends (we called us “Genggong”) and our two Vietnamese friends (Vinh Nguyen and Thao Nguyen), wrote down on that paper:
dragon year wishes

Forever friend
All dreams come true

Because of Vinh is the tallest person between us, so he was hanged it up as high as he could. Well, sometimes I saw that kind of tree of wishes in Indonesia, but I never wrote down my wishes on it before.

Besides many flowers and tree of wishes, there was also two big screens that directly connected to live camera which always moving randomly. If you waving your hands to the camera, your face would be on that big screen. Simple, but that was really fun when you tried to raise your hand to the camera, made many little jumps between the crowd, and looking for your face on that big screen. Hahaa

find out your face here!

City Hall building with the statue of Ho Chi Minh in front of it looks more beautiful with the bulbs decoration. Finally I could saw that statue from close. Anyway, along the festival Genggong were accompanied with two Vietnamese friends that I already mention before, Vinh Nguyen and Thao Nguyen. My friend met them at CouchSurfing. They are one year older than us, so they are already graduated from university. They are really nice and kind guys for sure. Thao is a beautiful Vietnamese woman who has pretty white skin. And Vinh, I guess he looks like an Indonesian man. Haha 

By this posting, I would like to say cảm ơn, thank you, to Vinh and Thao. Have a bless dragon year (though I wrote this on July. Hehe) and chúc mừng năm mới! See you soon, guys! 😀


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