|Tet flower market. Photo:Internet|
Tet (Lunar New Year) is an occasion not only to enjoy the change of year with family and friends but also the chance to thank the gods, spirits and nature, to visit friends, relatives and teachers, and to remember and honor their forebears.
Buying for Tet was spoken with passion by Vietnamese housewives - not that they had much money to splurge on Tet treats for themselves or the frequent guests they made welcome in their homes. For the very poor, “sam Tet” could be a real burden. Families would save up all year so that they could buy something special for themselves, their relatives, and their guests at this most special time.
The atmosphere of Tet is in the air already as people flock from the remote villages to the big markets in the North, Vietnam. Many set out early in the morning to buy gifts for friends and future in-laws. Farmers bring the best produce from their fields and gardens to the busy world of the Tet market.
|Tet market. Photo:Internet|
Even in the harried, upbeat world of today with all its commercial culturalism and globalization, the lead-up to Tet is still a vibrant time in the countryside.
Some Tet market sessions are the 23rd and from the 27th to the 30th of the final lunar month. This is when rural dwellers hunt for home decorations, prepared food and the essential ingredients for cooking up a feast.
In the North, Vietnam, most people have deeper pockets and no longer buy the cheap “mang” and “mien” (dried bamboo shoot and transparent noodles) months before Tet.They go about their preparations quietly and rarely engage in animated chatter with their friends and neighbors about what shopping bargains are available where and how best to scrimp and save for Tet.
In Nam Dinh Province, in the north, a special market is held from the seventh day of the new lunar year called "Vieng market" or "Am phu market" which means "the market where you can meet the dead."Besides shopping for beef and antiquated farming equipment at Vieng Market, it is said that people can meet and talk with their dear departed on the evening of the seventh and the next morning, if they are lucky.
Visiting a Tet market is a fascinating experience, full of sights, sounds, scents and emotions.