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Saigon: Viet-namese New Year – TET 2009 – (Part 6)

On the third day of Tet, the circle of connections becomes larger and is extended to the broader community outside the family by visits to teachers, bosses or a helpful physician. The Vietnamese visit teachers and physicians although long out of school and long cured of their illness. This may be the time to have one’s fortune told to see what the coming year will bring. These days in Vietnam, there are fortunetellers using computer software. People are also especially interested in the significance of their first dream of the new year.

The evening of the third day marks the departure of the ancestors by burning votive objects such as gold and silver, for them to take with them on their journey back to Heaven.

Now the connections to the world beyond the family can take place. The non-family member who will be the first visitor is carefully chosen. The “first footer” is an auspicious guest who is considered to be good luck for the family. The first non-family visitor to the house brings in the year’s luck. This figure’s karma will charm the household for the entire year and determine the luck of the family. It is customary to invite a respected person to visit at that time, so that this turn of luck is not left to fate. This person, whose aura is believed capable of promoting the fortune of the household in the following year, is usually someone healthy, successful and prosperous. Some Viet-namese lock their doors to all chance visitors until after the visit of the chosen “first footer.”

What are your recollections of the 3rd day of Tet?

Where you ever chosen as a “first footer” while in Viet-nam? Or, by a Viet-namese family who came to the USA (or other country) after the 1975 evacuation?

As always, you are welcome to share your memories by leaving your comments below.

Chuc Mung Nam Moi! :)

Bob

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