Today we celebrated the Vietnamese New Year, Tet. Tet is the most important holiday for the Vietnamese people and a very important holiday to our family as well :o) We enjoy celebrating Vietnamese holidays with an American Twist :o) We started preparing for the holiday this weekend by cleaning the house and paying bills. It is believed to be wise to start the new year with a clean home and being debt-free. I wish the latter part was possible :o)We settled for paying our monthly bills...haha! Another tradition is buying new clothes for your children so they can wear new clothes on Tet. So this morning I dressed the girls in their new clothes. Gymboree gym buck redemption time was last week, perfect timing!
This morning I took Sophie Le to Gymboree class and her Daddy joined us. It was his first time attending one of Le's classes. She was soooooo excited to see her Daddy walk through the door. After class, I brought Le home for a nap and afterwards we went to pick up Hillary Ashton from school. The girls & I then stopped by Gymboree for "free play" time. It is a great place to take them to play on a cold afternoon. Then it was time to come home and decorate for our party.
The girls loved decorating with the red and gold decorations. We tried a few "new to us" Vietnamese treats for tonight's "feast." We had Coconut juice, Asian pears and bamboo shoots (măng). Of course, Sophie Le LOVED everything. Hillary Ashton said she didn't like eating bamboo, she just wanted to eat the "American strawberries." We also had one of our favorite treats, Yan Yans. They aren't Vietnamese, I think they are Japanese. We would have LOVED to have some dragon fruit, but by the time the fruit gets to Central Arkansas, it is...not so good.
Another tradition is giving lucky money to children. The girls opened their red envelopes and were happy to find chocolate coins inside. Just as they were opening their coins, I remembered reading something about chocolate coins being recalled because they contained poison. The girls weren't very excited about giving up their lucky coins, but we didn't want to take any chances. So, turns out the coins were not very lucky! Not sure how that affects our new year :o) After dinner, we had a parade around the house. The girls carried their balloons and dragon bells and shouted things like, "We love Vietnam" "Happy Tet" and "Whoo Hoo Vietnam."
We finished up the party festivities by reading Ten Mice for Tet and The Year of the Dog (Sophie Le was born in the year of the Dog). Although, I wouldn't say I believe in the Chinese Zodiac, Sophie Le definitely posseses the stubborn and loyal traits attributed to people born in the year of the Dog :o) Sophie Le spent much of the day (like many days lately) crawling around panting and barking like a puppy...very appropriate for today :o) It is the cutest thing when we sticks out her little tongue and gleefully exclaims, "I puppy, mama!"
Here are the girls dressed up in their Ao Dais we bought while in Vietnam. They LOOOOOOVE getting dressed up in the "Vietnam clothes."