Efforts to keep Lunar New Year holiday alive

The Lunar New Year, known locally as Tet, is an age-old cultural custom which should be preserved for future generations, particularly as cultural tradition supports and goes hand in hand with economic development of a nation.
Dự báo thời tiết dịp Tết Giáp Thìn 2024. (Ảnh: QH)
The Tet holiday contains hidden messages and beauty that can be found in the spiritual life of the nation. (Photo: VOV)

Tet is a special custom celebrated by the Vietnamese people that has been handed down from generation to generation for thousands of years. Through various stages of national development, despite ups and downs in its history, the Tet holiday contains hidden messages and beauty that can be found in the spiritual life of the nation.

In present-day life, when Vietnam is integrating deeper into the world, many people argue that the Lunar New Year and the Gregorian New Year should be combined into one, while others suggest that the Lunar New Year should be removed from the list of national holidays altogether.

The Lunar New Year is also known as the traditional Tet holiday in Vietnam. No one knows exactly when it was first celebrated, but researchers all agree that the long-standing and closely related custom goes hand in hand with the nation through thousands of years of national construction and defense.

Tet means both the beginning and reunion. Indeed, it is the time when people take out their worries and sorrows of the old year and welcome in the new year with much joy and excitement. Therefore, cultural researcher Prof. Dr. Nguyen Khac Thuan says that in Vietnamese culture Tet brings about good things and hopes.

“It’s difficult for a person to think of anything new and good unless worries and sorrows are removed from mind. It is even more difficult to think of anything that contains the humanity and the will towards the common good,” confides Prof. Dr. Thuan.

Despite its big spiritual value, the Tet holiday that often lasts for a week or more is said by some to create a big economic waste to society. Truly this is a one-sided idea that does not take into account the traditional cultural value of the Tet holiday.

In fact, the festive season is considered to be a golden time for the country to stimulate domestic consumption and promote trade exchanges. Therefore, it is not correct to say that Tet causes stagnation in economic development.

Dr. Nghiem Thi Thu Nga of the Institute of Culture and Development affirms that combining the Lunar New Year with the Gregorian New Year is dogmatic and mechanical thinking. In her opinion, the most important thing is how to celebrate Tet, rather than skipping it or combining the two.

“It’s a fine custom because we celebrate Tet in a meaningful way by turning our heart to the roots. Tet is an opportunity to rest, regain energy and meet friends and relatives. Therefore, Tet is a meaningful occasion that we need to preserve,” analyses the researcher.

Moreover, Tet is an occasion when people remember their roots and wish for a good new year ahead. It demonstrates Vietnamese people’s optimistic spirit of looking towards the future, as well as giving each other the best wishes.

In his opinion, cultural researcher Dr. Dinh Duc Tien, says that economics and culture are the two important industries which should be developed in a harmonious way. As long as the fine traditional cultural value is retained, the nation will achieve sustainable development and not be dissolved in the process of reform and integration.

“As long as we preserve the Lunar New Year, we can still keep our cultural and spiritual life alive. If we abandon the Lunar New Year in favor of the Gregorian New Year, it will lose its traditional cultural significance,” stresses Dr. Tien.

Culture is widely considered to be the identity card of each country, meaning if the cultural identity of a country cannot be maintained, then that country will lose itself.

Recently, the UN officially recognised the Lunar New Year as an annual UN floating holiday. Accordingly, the world’s largest international organisation encourages UN agencies not to hold meetings on Lunar New Year’s Day. It shows the international community’s recognition of traditional Asian culture, resulting from co-ordinated advocacy of countries at the UN, including Vietnam. This is good news for nearly two billion people worldwide who consider the Lunar New Year to be the most important holiday.

Following the UN’s recognition, there is no need to argue whether or not to abandon the Lunar New Year. Their decision therefore lays a firm foundation for Vietnam to keep preserving and handing down the traditional cultural value of the Lunar New Year to future generations.

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(Source: VOV)