What Tet holiday looks like in a Vietnamese prison

Thanh Nien News

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Rare pictures from inside a facility in northern Vietnam show how some inmates prepare for the Lunar New Year


 Quang Ninh Prison in the northern province started making banh chung, a sticky rice specialty of Tet, four days before the holiday peaks on February 8. Photos: Manh Thang - Viet Duc/Zing
 Around 50 inmates in the prison’s cooking team are in charge of the task, and they are supposed to make more than 2,400 cakes, or one for every inmate for the holiday.
Mung beans are cooked in the kitchen.
 Sticky rice is soaked in water.
 Another group of inmates clean and arrange leaves for wrapping. 
 Banh chung is wrapped in dong leaves. It is a square cake that represents the Earth, according to old beliefs.
 Ingredients including pork and beans are ready for wrapping after two hours of preparation.
 The prison’s banh chung tradition has been going on for four years, led by Canh Van Canh (second from top right). Canh is serving eight years for a drug crime. He can wrap 100 cakes a day, twice more than one can normally do.
 A 44-year-old prisoner with the first banh chung he has ever made. “It doesn't look really good,” he shakes his head smiling.
 More than 2,400 inmates at the prison will have a Tet break between February 7 and 11, when they can just hang out or enjoy time with family visitors. 
You can find the original Vietnamese story here on Zing.

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