Burning incense and ancestor worship, or roses and chocolates? Thatââ‚¬â„¢s the choice for many Vietnamese when the annual tradition of Tet, the Lunar New Year, clashes with Valentineââ‚¬â„¢s Day on Sunday.
For many Vietnamese, however, modernity will have to take a back seat while Tet, a family-focused festival, takes priority, but some say they will still try to make time for a romantic interlude.
ââ‚¬Å“We can delay it until another day, after Tet,ââ‚¬ says Bui Thi Thuy, 25, an events manager in Ho Chi Minh City.
Thuy and her boyfriend, Le Thanh Truc, 30, have only been together for a few weeks, so Valentineââ‚¬â„¢s Day is ââ‚¬Å“not as importantââ‚¬ as Tet, said Truc.
Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is the countryââ‚¬â„¢s southern commercial metropolis and its most Westernized city.
ââ‚¬Å“My friends said theyââ‚¬â„¢ll spend the day with their families, then in the evening they can spend time with their lover,ââ‚¬ said Luong Ngoc Phuong Chi, 19, a student and customer service worker at a shopping centre.
In the past, Vietnamese ââ‚¬Å“didnââ‚¬â„¢t show their feelings as strongly as now,ââ‚¬ said Luu Dinh Tinh, 44, an electronics retailer.
He said he would spend Tet with his extended family but would also buy his wife a Valentineââ‚¬â„¢s gift.
ââ‚¬Å“Vietnamese are now more romantic,ââ‚¬ Tinh said.
Vang My Lam, 25, a waitress, said some couples had booked tables for a Valentineââ‚¬â„¢s meal.
ââ‚¬Å“In the morning theyââ‚¬â„¢ll go to their family home for the celebration and then go out later. Tet is very important.ââ‚¬
Authorities have erected elaborate floral displays on Ho Chi Minh Cityââ‚¬â„¢s main Nguyen Hue street to welcome Tet. But in deference to Valentineââ‚¬â„¢s Day there are also heart shapes made of flowers, the state Vietnam News reported.
Thu Van, 50, said she and her husband usually celebrate Valentineââ‚¬â„¢s Day by dining out.
ââ‚¬Å“Itââ‚¬â„¢s a Western tradition, but itââ‚¬â„¢s a good tradition,ââ‚¬ Van said of the day.
Although Tet will take precedence over their usual romantic dinner, Van said she is still expecting a token of affection from her husband.
ââ‚¬Å“I love to get flowers, roses and chocolates,ââ‚¬ she said. ââ‚¬Å“He always has something to surprise me, a gift or flowers.ââ‚¬