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Monday, January 26, 2009

Let the Good Fortune Begin!

Today is Vietnamese New Year, or Tet, which brings a vast array of traditions and celebrations to our house. We have been preparing for Tet all week long. The first step in the Tet celebration is to give our house a thorough spring-cleaning. Doing so is not simply about getting rid of the dust bunnies in your closet. Rather, it is about getting rid of the dust bunnies in your soul before the start of the new year. A spiritual cleansing, so to speak.

Dusting, mopping and vacuuming should have been completed over a week ago. No cleaning should be done in the days immediately leading up to Tet because Vietnamese are incredibly superstitious. As the belief goes, to sweep on the actual days of Tet would mean that you're sweeping away any potential prosperity. Sadly, since I was still cleaning as of yesterday, I have a dirty, dirty soul.

Following the cleaning is the decorating. We surround ourselves with things that symbolize good fortune, which means lots of red and gold colors. In our home, we symbolize good fortune with chrysanthemums, peaches, quince, and cherry blossoms. Gold chrysanthemums are symbolic of gold and prosperity. As for the flowering trees, it is said that the blossoms represent new beginnings and the hope that life will blossom in the coming year.

Beautiful Chrysanthemums


We are also supposed to don new clothes for Tet. In M's case, we dressed him in traditional Vietnamese ao dai. He was able to show off his outfit to some of his friends. They all looked so cute, but it was nearly impossible to get a picture of the three of them together.

M looking confused in his ao dai

The majority of the week is spent paying homage to our ancestors and "fairies" with offerings of flowers, food, fruits, and even banknotes, so that they may continue to watch over and protect us, their descendants. Earlier this week, my Mom wanted me to set up an alter in our kitchen to pay homage to Ong Tao, which I translated literally to mean Mr. Apple. (My Mom wasn't amused that I thought this was incredibly funny.) We start the week out by sending Mr. Apple our wishes because of his direct pipeline to heaven. (My husband calls him our Congressman.) At the end of the week, we invite Mr. Apple back to our home to thank him. I complied with my Mom's request. Some things that are just worth putting my faith in my Mom... and in Mr. Apple.

The Homage to Mr. Apple

Perhaps the most well known of the traditions are the red envelopes filled with money or lì xì. Red is considered a lucky color, so the money inside is also lucky. Older people generally give these envelopes to children, who in turn wish their elders good health and a long life.

M's Lucky Money

Since we'd like to wish good fortune to everyone this new year, we thought we would give away our own version of the red envelope. That's right people, let the good fortune begin.

We have six Baby Einstein DVDs that we'd like to share with three of our readers.

Numbers Nursery
Baby Galileo: Discovering the Sky
Baby Wordsworth: First Words - Around the House
Baby Shakespeare: World of Poetry
Language Nursery
Baby Da Vinci - From Head to Toe

The rules are simple:

1) To enter, leave a comment on this post, telling us what you'd like us to write about in the future. (If you do not have a blog/website, be sure to include your e-mail address in your comment.)
2) Contest ends on Friday, January 30 at 12:00 a.m. PST.
3) One entry per person.
4) Entrants must be U.S. residents age 18 or older.
5) Three winners will be selected at random and contacted via e-mail. The winners will also be announced on the 3 Bay B Chicks website.
6) Any failure to respond to the prize notification within three business days will result in the prize going to an alternate winner.

Be sure to check-out Bloggy Giveaways to see other fabulous freebies this week. Happy New Year!

-Thuy

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102 comments:

peewee said...

LOVE the new layout!! DO you guys do Vietnamese New Year's Resolutions?

Jillene said...

What a great post!! And M....he is just ADORABLE!! I think that you should post mommy moments--it's always nice to know that you are not the only one that has mommy moments with your kids!!

Michelle said...

You take beautiful pictures! I'm going to be a Godmother so I'd like to hear more about your children and the things that they like.
mpelosi@partners.org

So said...

I love how different cultures have such a diversity. How things and colors have such rich symbolism and ritual. Very cool. Your boy is adorable! May you have a happy new year!

Jo said...

Happy New Year! Please write some more about your culture, I love learning new stuff about people.

Lara said...

I would love to hear more about how you organize your lives/time with young children. I'm ALWAYS looking for new and interesting ideas! :)

mindy said...

vietnames traditions are just wonderful to read about more of that would be good thanks for the giveaway

Counselormama said...

Those pictures are beautiful! Thanks for sharing about your cultural traditions.

Kaycee said...

Neat post! I would love to know some more cheap/free things to do with baby in the Bay Area!

kayceewilliams at gmail dot com

Helene said...

That really was fun to read! Thank you for taking the time to write about the Vietnamese New Year! It sounds like such a wonderful holiday with beautiful traditions!!

janetfaye said...

I would like to see more writing about traditions.

Thank you!

janetfaye (at) gmail (dot) com

rebecca said...

Having grown up in Africa I am very interested to hear of differences in child rearing strategies between different cultures. And, just everyday funny sayings like the ones on your sidebar!


gitrecca at gmail dot com

♥georgie♥ said...

Okay i am not going to enter since i dont have lil ones-but i so enjoyed reading about your traditions and you pics are amazing your children beautiful!!!
Love the new look!

tami said...

just daily life is the type of blogs i enjoy :) great giveaway- my new baby andrew will enjoy these!!

KGW said...

I like the idea of the spiritual cleansing and getting rid of the dust bunnies in the soul. The kids look so cute in their ao dai's. Thanks for sharing a piece of your culture with us. I love it!

Laura said...

Happy New Year to you and to your family my sweets! Please eat some wonderful food and hug some family for us. I would love to hear where in San Francisco will there also be celebrations?

Dana said...

As a mother, I love reading about parenting.

Jen said...

I love the goofy mommy moments... it makes all the rest of us parents realize it happens to everyone! :)

Willow Tree said...

WOWSA look at your followers! You ladies deserve some cake. So I'd like to see a picture of you with K from FFL eating one of her masterpieces. Oooh, and I would really like one of those lucky red envelopes. And some Marigolds. LOL! Oh, AND I'm still anxiously awaiting my vicarious vacation to the Bay Area via your bloggy tour. Group High Five; well done gals.

Blessings, Carolynn

PS. Thuy, could your kiddos BE any cuter? Absolutely Adorable!

mom2anutball said...

I would like to see picture of where you are! I love seeing picture of places!

Jodi said...

I love just the everyday mommy topics.

purehrt555(at)yahoo(dot)com

Tiffany819 said...

I'd love to read about saving money and maybe even some photo caption contests just for fun. Thanks for the giveaway!!

Audra said...

I'd love to hear more about how you incorporate your culture into everyday life.

Stacy said...

How to raise responsible children?

hetz-junk(at)hotmail(dot)com

Freda said...

I love random blog posts, which is what I di myself, whatever hits me, I blog about!
fredagood@hotmail.com

Mama Hill said...

traveling abroad on a budget

donnas said...

How about more cultural traditions?

bacchus76 at myself dot com

FayeFaye said...

thanks !!

id love to win :)

luckymatt5 AT gmail DOT com

id love to learn about birthday traditions

Jessica said...

This is the first time I've looked at your blog, so I really don't have any suggestions on what to write... sorry!

The giveaway looks great, my son would love the DVDs :)

jesshekman (at) hotmail (dot) com

okaat said...

I would like to see more on traditions and customs.

LeeAnn said...

I'd love to see more on specifically how to incorporate your own culture into daily life interactions. Thanks!

Susan said...

love your site...how about some more information on traditions??

snkjohnson at gmail dot com

Sherry and Gena said...

i loved reading about tet...you have educated me and I would like more similar traditions you may have.

sgibbs58(at)aol(dot)com

Ashley said...

Baby M is so precious!! It was interesting to read how you incorporate these traditions here with your children. My husband is from Colombia and we are talking about different ways we can educate our children about Colombian culture while they are living here.

Erin said...

What beautiful pictures! I just love them.

Write about restaurants and things to do in San Francisco. I have a sister in law who lives there and I would love to go visit her one day.

Kristy said...

I would love to see you have more about your culture.

ksieker(at)hotmail(dot)com

Shelby said...

Thuy! Thank you for sharing your family traditions with the rest of us. I wonder if Tyler has any traditions he'd like to share.

-Shelby & Eme

blueviolet said...

I think I need to hear more about this dirty, dirty soul that you have. LOL

(and your kids are too precious for words)

Lilith Silvermane said...

I'd love to see/hear more of the holidays there..

LilithSilvermane(at)gmail(dot)com

Audra Marie said...

more posts on traditions, posts with pictures, and just day to day mom stuff are great. :) Your kids are darling. :)

Thanks for the fun giveaway. :)

adashofsassitude(at)gmail.com

michelle said...

I would love to see posts on favorite foods or recipes.

michelle at northofthe49 dot com

Kim and Ken Carlile said...

How to teach different cultures and respect for them to young children.
kimisslim at hotmail dot com

Yaya said...

How AWESOME is this?!
And he looks sooooo cute!
And I LOVE the thought of sweeping away and then decorating.

texasholly said...

So cool. I love learning about all this. I am past the Baby Einstein stage so please pass them on to someone that can get some good use out of them! Loved the pics.

Heidi @ GGIP said...

This is my first visit to your blog. I think that bloggers can keep an interesting blog by just being authentic and even by just talking about day to day things. That may or may not help. :)

PisecoMom (Mom's Marbles) said...

I'm also a first time visitor. I'd love to read any and every idea about keeping younger kids happy with older siblings in the mix!

jenny said...

well i just found your blog to day and well its realy neet one so i also now got you on my feed list please enter me in to your giveaway thanks

Storm, The Psychotic Housewife said...

OK, I am totally itching to see more photos of your adorable kids!

I enjoy reading the different traditions and cultures - how about more posts like this one?

Stacey @ satcygirl.com said...

I love reading about just everyday life stuff!

Kara said...

I love reading about fun ideas for holidays... activities, food, traditions, etc.
millkara [at]gmail.com

Lori said...

Thuy, thanks for the great post. I need all the culture ed-jee-cation I can get (we southerners forget other cultures exist sometimes).

As for future posts, I'd like for you guys to try out all the different hair removal options, then report on it. I'll be waiting.

No, really, I like the way you guys spice it up around here. You vary the pace and tone, all three of you have great writing voices, so I'm just going to cop out and say KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

TrueLoveIsaMama said...

Today my daughter came home with a fancy little red envelope with penny in it! Because of your blog I knew what it was and why! Thanks!

Monica said...

I grew up on the coast of Mississippi with many many Vietnamese classmates. I can actually pronounce Nguyen. This post makes me homesick.

As for posting in the future how could you get any better????

Sara said...

Well, first of all I think you should post more pictures. I love to see pictures!! Thank you so much for entering me. Sara
seewhatisgood at gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I would love to know more about traditional cuisines, I guess. I really wanted to post that I'd like to know about traditions but others beat me to that punch :)
Nikki
busymoms75@hotmail.com

Nicole said...

I like to hear about family traditions.

Mia J. said...

I think it would be great to hear more about your culture but maybe also add how mothering is different between the cultures.

An iMperfect wIfe said...

Vietnamese recipes the whole family can enjoy!

Thanks for the giveaway. Love Baby Einstein's series!

Jenny

Elisa Morrison said...

I have a little boy, so how about posts on fun little boy things to do? Mine is two now, so we are needing activities. :)

valerie2350 said...

loved the lunar new year info & pics - would like to see more of this type!

MEGAN said...

Wow! Seriously, that is SO cool! I would love to start some of those traditions myself. (Would that be weird if we aren't Vietnamese?) Where would I find red envelopes like that? Beautiful!

I love all of your posts, but I think the bargain ones are my favorites. Keep those coming! Keep them ALL coming! :)

smokey4 said...

Cute picture.
I'd like to see articles with tips on traveling at a bargain.

kamlchap(at)gmail(dot)com

tara @ kidz said...

Amazing traditions! M looks super fab in his Dai. Oh my, just fab.

Hmmmm. what should you write about in the future?

Given our friendship history, I think you should definitely write about trends that have come and gone, and which ones you'd like to come back! ...but you totally can't steal roof raisin' - that's my revolution!

Dree said...

I think you should write about wooden toys.

amgconz at gmail dot com

DANIELLERX said...

I would love to hear about other traditions, it so interesting to hear how different cultures treat the same events.

dlfrx(at)sbcglobal(dot)net

Omah's Helping Hands said...

Thuy, Thanks for sharing your customs. I so love learning about other's customs and culture. It's nice for those of us that can't travel to many of the different countries. Happy New Year!
Tammy

Ebie said...

well this is the 1st time i've visited your blog, but i love reading about vietnamese culture - or any other culture for that matter!

Deborah Wellenstein said...

I would like to know how you are getting along in this challenging economy. Thank you!

jawa22lly said...

wow..wonderful giveaway..thanks..

Melissa said...

What a fun post!! Love the pictures of the kids in their new clothes! So cute!
I would love to hear more about the Bay area also :) There is a very slight possibility that we will be moving to Northern California and I'm trying to collect as much info as possible

Sarah Berry said...

I would love to know more about Vietnamese culture. I think that learning about other cultures is vital to our world

MaybeMama said...

If you check our reecesrainbow.com you will find a great topic to blog about. Many of these kids face life bedridden in an institution if they are not adopted. They need people to advocate for them.

tatertot374 said...

This would be fabulous to win. I would like to see recipes. thank you!
tatertot374@sbcglobal.net

Jingle said...

I love all things crafty, so I'd love to see you writing about such things!
jinglesells at gmail dot com

Jessica said...

I'd love to see you write about ethnic cooking.

Ginny said...

I like reading about crafting with kids.

Lindsey said...

I love reading about other moms and their fun with their kids. :-) Your kids are adorable! I would be SO thrilled to win these DVDs! We're getting kind of bored of my daughter's one signing time DVD - yes it's good but every day? lol Thanks for the giveaway!

ladyufshalott at yahoo.com

Jackie said...

Love the blog! I would love to read about cooking with the children!

Daizykowgirl@yahoo.com

Katrina said...

Happy new year! I love reading about celebrations in different cultures. =)

Sandra said...

I would love to hear your comments on what works with your children and what doesn't...toys, activities,books that they have loved or hated...

owatz (AT) telus (DOT) net

Miranda said...

cooking in a pinch
Please enter me thanks
freebiegoddess03@aol.com

sherri419 said...

I would really like to see you discuss more of the Vietnamese culture. Perhaps some Vietnamese recipes????Or how you and your mom differ in your views?

sherri419 at gmail dot com

jnmacdonald said...

I love reading about the daily happenings for other Mom's. It usually encourages me.

andrea v said...

more about your children and the fun things they do.
vickers at comcast dot net

Rebekah said...

More about your little ones and how you teach them your culture!

scgirl816 at gmail.com

Godesseablu said...

I love the page but it would be great to blog about traditions of every different culture and the different ways they celebrate holidays. Also a blog about feeding your kids more healthy in such a fast paced world. Thanks, godesseablu@msn.com

Peggie said...

I had not seen your blog before but an going to subscribe. I found it very interesting and love cultures! Thank you for sharing this one with us. Since it is new to me I am not sure what to suggest, I need to pour through what is already here! Thank you for the giveaway.
peggie dot loden at gmail dot com

liane66 said...

So Vietnamese recipes would be great!

Thanks for the giveaway.

kimspam66(at)yahoo(dot)com

Donna M. Clark said...

I would love for you to talk more about your children and the things they say.

Richelle said...

I would love to learn more about your culture and traditions.

Erica G said...

How about writing about the life you thought you would have compared to the life you have today. Are you doing , living, working, how you thought you would?

babychooch (at) gmail {dot} com

Ashley said...

Th economy and how it affects children when they are older?
ashlomb at yahoo dot com

Mrs. Olsen said...

I always like craft ideas and recipes. Maybe Vietnamese recipes? rebolsen at gmail dot com

Sweet Mommy Dreams said...

Happy New Year! I live just down the road in San Jose and celebrated with our little one for the first time. We dressed her up and she looked really cute. Your post is very funny, as I am white and my husband is Asian. I see a lot of those things funny, but don't here other people say it often. I would love to hear more about your traditions. I will definitely be adding you to my list of blogs.

Amy L. said...

More budget friendly ideas or recipes.

Anonymous said...

Nice activities with kids on a budget.
Than you for the giveaway
valuedcustomer(at)live.com

LaVonne said...

family friendly crafts that go along with special blogs, or even recipes for kid friendly foods.

Teri said...

What a great giveaway & a great tribute to your heritage! I would love to read about more in the future!

Amanda said...

I'd love to hear more about celebrating the holidays with your kids.

Leah said...

I used to eat at this AMAZING vietnamese restuarant. Sadly, I don't live near there anymore. I'd love if you'd post some great recipes!

Jinxy and Me said...

I would love to hear more about traditions and I always love hearing about food!

Mama Hill said...

I just see that I won one of these, but I haven't received an email!

ralphandtara at gmail dot com