An art performance by Vietnamese people at a party to celebrate Tet in Dongshin University in Naju City, South Korea, on January 19
Vietnamese people in South Korea found themselves in great company to enjoy the Tet (Lunar New Year) Festival far from home this year.
Le Hoa, a vice chairwoman of the Vietnamese community society in Gwangju City, said Vietnamese people established fanpages and groups on Facebook to keep in touch with other compatriots in South Korea.
They met offline sometimes, she said.
The “Vietnamese Society in South Korea” is the only official society established under the auspices of the Vietnamese Embassy in the country.
In recent years, the organization has held a party at the embassy to celebrate Tet every year, with around 50 people invited.
Hoa said Vietnamese people living in different areas of South Korea celebrate Tet in different ways, but usually they gather to cook, drink, sing and play games.
Phu Bang, 28, who lives and works in Gongju City, said Tet is an occasion for people like him to explore South Korea after a year of hard work.
“I went with my friends to some winter festivals where we could fish on ice, ice-skate and watch ice carving,” he said.
He added that most of his friends drank until they were drunk in order to feel less homesick.
Lai Thao Nguyen, 21, said she and her friends cooked banh chung – the traditional Tet Vietnamese rice cake – and other Vietnamese dishes.
South Korean people also celebrate the Lunar New Year as their most important holiday. But South Koreans only have three days off, while Vietnamese have a longer holiday.
Hoa said she had experienced her first Korean Lunar New Year holiday in 2009 at her husband’s uncle's house.
She was taught by his relatives on how to perform traditional Korean New Year rituals.
Bang said there are plenty of stores that sell Vietnamese food in South Korea. He found nearly everything he needed for Tet, except for family ties.
“In South Korea, daily life is financially abundant, so Tet is not so special for people,” he noted.
“The atmosphere of preparations for Tet is not as exciting as in Vietnam.”
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