Happy Chinese New Year from Vietnam! While it is the Year of the Rabbit in China, here in Vietnam it is the Year of the Cat. According to legend, the cat was left out of the Chinese zodiac because the rat tricked the cat into missing Buddha’s call for the animals to come hear their assigned year. The rabbit is believed to be one of the happiest signs, with people born in that year renowned for their kindness, reliability and loyalty, though with an air of mystery and propensity to cry… while people born in the Year of the Cat are said to be smooth talkers, talented, and good students. They are known for being patient and waiting for good conditions before taking action.
Chinese New Year is the most important holiday of the year here. It is akin to Thanksgiving, when everyone returns home and all the stores shut down. The first day is reserved for just family and dragon dances (see the pictures at our hotel).
On the second day people daughters get to visit their families and on the third day everyone visits their colleagues, teachers, and friends. The first visitor to one’s home in the New Year is extremely important because they bring either good or bad luck.; they are looking for the right combination of age, business experience, and luck in their previous year. They take this so seriously they may actually lock the door on you. As you’ve probably heard, red envelopes are also huge as the giving of money expresses the wish that the recipient have good luck in the coming year.
Since the Chinese like numerous blossoms on a branch, the many buds of the pussy willow make it a favorite flower New Year’s and we’ve seen them all over. When the buds begin shooting green sprouts, the Chinese see the sign of growth as a sign of prosperity. There have been some really neat arrangements… and now I’m thinking it might be fun to have some around the house!