5 ways Vietnamese celebrate their birthdays
Birthday cakes, parties and presents… a birthday would not be called one without any of these! Here are 5 unique ways that the Vietnamese celebrates their birthdays:
Every Vietnamese shares a common birthday on Tet (Vietnam’s New Year)! Therefore, in the past, birthdays in Vietnam are not officially celebrated. It is only in recent years that birthdays are given more importance as Vietnam becomes more open to Western culture.
Birthdays in Vietnam are a celebration of life. The family unit plays an important role in a Vietnamese’s life as family members provide support. Therefore, birthdays are commonly celebrated with a family gathering, as the birthday of a family member is given honor. This is especially so on a baby’s first birthday when parents introduce their baby’s given name to their family members.
3) Ang Pao money? Or Li Xi
Singaporeans receive Ang Pao (red packets) during Chinese New Year. Similarly, Vietnamese children receive li xi (lucky money) on their birthdays. How lucky! Their seniors will wish them Của ít lòng nhiều, which reminds them that it is the thought that counts, instead of the money inside.
4) “Longevity ceremonies”
On the birthday of an elderly in the family, the elderly will be dressed in auspicious red and yellow colors. During the ceremony, the esteemed seniors will sit in important areas of the house such as the main hall or next to the altar. Juniors will express their well wishes of longevity to the seniors, using words such as Mung Tho, Chuc Tho, Trung Tho, based on the senior’s age range.
No celebration is complete without good food! The dining table will be filled with sticky rice , tea, fruits such as bananas, betel and peaches. Dishes such as spring rolls and noodles are also consumed. These food represent well wishes for the Vietnamese. For example, peaches and noodles symbolize longevity!
Tradition is an important part of Vietnamese culture. However, nowadays, some Vietnamese have questioned traditions. These Vietnamese (especially youths) think that longevity ceremonies are a waste of resources as seniors demand extravagant presents.
Families have come to La Saigon to celebrate their birthdays? Why? Because La Saigon is indeed home…