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.
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.
Baby Galileo: Discovering the Sky
Baby Wordsworth: First Words - Around the House
Baby Shakespeare: World of Poetry
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!