A cultural feature in a special Tet

The three first days of the 2021 Lunar New Year (Tet) festival have just passed with memorable experiences. This is a special Tet, because everyone celebrates Tet in the context of a new wave of COVID-19 outbreaks. Different from Tet in previous years, many people have not gone out, and rarely flocked to flower streets or pedestrian streets even though the weather was very nice.

San Diu ethnic minority people in the northern province of Bac Giang prepare for Tet (Photo: VNA)
San Diu ethnic minority people in the northern province of Bac Giang prepare for Tet (Photo: VNA)

People choose to stay at home. As every story always comes with updated information about the number of new cases, it is a sense of compliance with requirements of COVID-19 prevention and control.

It is important to know that as whole country welcomes the New Year's Eve, there are approximately 130,000 people being quarantined under medical supervision. Along with that, thousands of health workers, military and police officers have had to remain absent from home to ensure the safety of the whole community.

During the three Tet days, at major pagodas and temples in Hanoi, there was no situation of people jostling for ceremonies or worshiping like in years gone by. Those who went to pagodas all adhered to wearing masks and keeping distance.

The image of a long line of people wearing masks, waiting to buy Trang Tien ice cream on the afternoon of the final day of the lunar year 2020 was a beautiful image, showing the sense of self-consciousness to participate in COVID-19 prevention and control of each citizen in Hanoi.

The traditional Lunar New Year holiday for all Vietnamese people, is always the most important occasion in theyear forreuniting with family members. It is also a sacred occasion for the following generations to connect, pay tribute and remember their ancestors.

But due to complicated and unpredictable developments of the COVID-19 epidemic right inthe days before Tet, many people had to cancel their plans to return home to celebrate Tet with their families. Many other families’ plans for spring traveling and enjoying Tet also changed. Tens of thousands of workers in industrial zones in big provinces and cities could not return to their hometowns.

Along with the efforts of the Government and authorities to localise and stamp out the epidemic, individuals must fulfil their civic responsibility and abstain from some Tet habits by restricting movement and complying with medical measures to prevent the epidemic.

In the hustle and bustle of the industrial and social life with many pressures, the traditional Tet holiday is the time when each person experiences the necessary silence to slow down a bit, to permeate the unchanging values. And when cultural and entertainment activities such as the New Year's fireworks display were cancelled, and Spring tours had to be postponed for safety reasons, it's time for everyone to spend more time with their families.

This is also an occasion to promote the spirit of a digital society when people can greet each other by telephone, text message, and e-mail. Telecommunication technology on digital platforms, with forms of communication such as Facetime, Zalo, Messenger, and Viber, has helped reduce the gap for those who cannot reunite in person during this Tet holiday.

Vietnam has posted proud achievements in controlling and repelling two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Vietnam has proven itself to the world as a united and disciplined country where every citizen knows how to respect the rules of epidemic prevention.

Onthis special Lunar New Year, not going out to celebrate Tet, limiting going to pagodas, or restricting participation in traditional folk festivals are also cultural features. It is the culture of those who take away carelessness, superficiality and selfishness, to take responsibility for the safety of the community.

Each person is expected to continue to maintain a spirit of cooperation, calm, responsibility and solidarity to overcome all challenges together while controlling and repelling the COVID-19 pandemic.