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Vietnamese Tet Festival at two venues: Unity of Purpose

12 January 2016 No CommentEmail This Post Email This Post

rey_andresSince arriving on the U.S. shores more than four decades ago, people of Vietnamese descent has traditionally celebrated Tet, the most significant holiday of the lunar year, in the beginning of Spring to start life fresh on a clean slate.

Celebrating the festival, a family holiday akin to the U.S’s Thanksgiving celebration, is a shadow of the event in their native Vietnam where “everyone is expected to return home shortly before midnight light firecrackers and spend  the next few days eating, drinking, and dancing”.

For 30 years in Orange County, the Union of the Vietnamese Student Associations Southern California (UVSA) has been the host of the Tet Festival driven as an important event by which the members establish connections to their native land,  kindle the spirit of volunteerism and work hard work to bring the bring life to the festivities.

The nonprofit group had been granted the exclusive right to host the event in 2002 which was able to accomplish collateral benefits to the student volunteers who were able to develop strong leadership skills, enhance their cultural awareness and earn valuable life experience.  Most important of all, holding the event benefited community associations and other sectors in terms of the benevolent sharing of the proceeds from the event to make their programs viable. Over the past years it is estimated that more than $1-M from the festival proceeds had been awarded to various nonprofit community groups.

Torres High School (Manila) Alumnae Remember: Former students of Torres High School (in Manila) who has had the good fortune of achieving a modicum of comfort in their financial lives haven’t forgotten their alma mater. Organizing themselves as Torres High School Alumni Association, the alumnae had launched a fundraising event for their scholarship program to defray the cost of sending poor students to school. The officers of TGAA are shown being sworn in office at a Montrose gathering

Torres High School (Manila) Alumnae Remember: Former students of Torres High School (in Manila) who has had the good fortune of achieving a modicum of comfort in their financial lives haven’t forgotten their alma mater. Organizing themselves as Torres High School Alumni Association, the alumnae had launched a fundraising event for their scholarship program to defray the cost of sending poor students to school. The officers of TGAA are shown being sworn in office at a Montrose gathering

UVSA will host this year’s Tet Festival from February 12-14 at OC Fair and Event Center in the city of Costa Mesa with the other celebration centered in Garden Grove, the choice city of the Vietnamese people.

Some in the Vietnamese community view holding the event at the same date on two different venues just a few miles from each other as “a proof that the Vietnamese community is maturing and growing” and the events being held at two different sites  is an endeavor for itself and for the rest of Orange County.

Some say that the Tet Festival is all  about the community coming together and both venues “are meaningful and great for holding the festival.”

This year is going to be the 34th edition of the Tet Festival, considered to be the largest Vietnamese celebration outside of Vietnam and “the longest continuous celebration in the United States” for UVSA. The three-day weekend event will feature hundreds of booths where the expected thousands who join in the festivities will be immersed in “a vibrant array of traditional foods, live entertainment, cultural displays, festive games and fireworks  to celebrate the Lunar New Year’.

Last year’s celebration at the Fairgrounds attracted more than 30,000 visitors, a far cry from the average 100,000 its attracted at the original venue of the UVSA-hosted celebration in Garden Grove the previous years.

Event organizers hope to surpass the number of visitors to the festivities in Costa Mesa with the community being informed of the new location and availability of parking space.

Even at two different venues of the Tet Festival, the community spirit among the revelers is expected to remain the same in commemorating a deeply-rooted tradition that brings pride in the Vietnamese culture.

“Chuc Mung Nam Moi”… Happy New Year

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