We may bitterly lament Tet these days- Prices have been ridiculously jacked up, compulsory meetings with your least favourite relatives, hour-long congestion of endless vehicle queues, financial burdens, the list goes on. Yet, we still find ourselves yearning for another Tet to come with joy.
Remember the thrill running up your forearms when spring songs suddenly play from every street corners? Tranquility infused our mind at the thoughts of our loved ones returning back to the place they call home from a long year working far away, or from studying abroad. On the brisk jogging during these days, we can’t help but fill our lungs with the familiar aroma of chrysanthemum and lilies while our eyes waltz across the symphony of colours composed by the golden yellows apricot and crimson red cockscombs. Before we even notice, all these sentiments will eventually revitalise to welcome another Tet’s arrival.
Tet is first and foremost about family. Throughout generations, family values were deeply instilled in our heart to teach us about the most quintessential part of every human beings. Home is where the heart is; no matter where we are across the country, or even in the world, home is always the first destination we think of when it comes to Tet. The images of our loved ones tenderly come to view despite our busy minds in the last days of the Lunar month, kindling a need to return home, to spend the Tet’s holiday in each other’s company. Perhaps, only in the snug embrace of a family reunion do we temporarily forget about the ups and downs of life, being able to unearth buried thoughts and feelings before kissing another year goodbye.
Tet has its magical way to bring out the best of everybody, such as the way we pay tribute to our ancestors, or how offerings are placed on the household ofrenda (altar table) and incenses are burned in memory of the departed. During Tet, we voluntarily look for the good in everybody, reconciling misunderstandings and disputes, leaving the faulty past behind in hopes for a fresh start. We also seek outwardly for the better version of ourselves through a new year resolution. We greet each other with heartfelt wishes and lucky money for children with great hopes, but most importantly, any gifts in Tet are embedded with our utmost sincere.
Nevertheless, the debate on whether or not we should celebrate Tet is revisited this year online, drawing surprising fervours from both sides. This time, youngsters joined the debate, and some supported the Tet reformation through the lenses of economist and other experts. They anchor their concerns to the costs of domestic businesses’ opportunities with foreign partners, the promotion of entrenched social evils such as gambling and irresponsible drinking, combined with many more that hinders the entire national economic growth.
But let’s table all of the aforementioned contentions aside to truly wonder why young generations start growing out of Tet. The thorny matter, perhaps, is the holly Tet’s spirit no longer prevail in our lifestyles. Families opt for cleaning services rather than doing the chores together, luxurious restaurants over home-made meals, online chat instead of physical conversation, and lavish vacations replacing family visits. Consequently, Tet is losing its charm to the more modern and advanced society.
Coming to the concluding remark, Tet’s future lies in the hand of the young generations: the future owners of the country. How are they going to celebrate Tet remained yet to be seen. Meanwhile, with the Tet spirit still lingering in our heart, why don’t we hold on tight to it? Not because we are trying to fight the “Tet reformers”, but because we, Vietnamese, inherently have some innate Amores for Tet, deeply buried in our heart and awaits our call.
Tet is regarded as a time-honoured tradition for many thoughtful reasons, of one in many should be enough for us to make that call?