There is something incredibly special about being in Vietnam during Tet. Not just because it means I got to have two "new year's" celebrations but because of the meaning and culture behind it all.
In the US, and other western cultures, we celebrate the New Year with alcohol, parties, and resolutions that barely make it through the month but there is no real meaning or significance to it. Just the start of a new year and the underlying notion of new beginnings.
In Vietnam, it's so much more than that. There are stories and traditions and beliefs that surround the whole time of year. Working in a Via real Vietnamese office, i began to see the holiday as not just a time that prices rise, streets crowd, and purses get snatched but as a real new beginning.
The Vietnamese reflect on the past year, and centuries almost and take the time to honor their ancestors and enjoy the time they have with their current loved ones. They pray to Gods to help bring love, happiness, health and prosperity in the new year, and what's more they actually believe it. Their strength in this makes it more than just revelry but turn it into something significant, something far greater than anything I've experienced before.
The time is about giving, peace and love. The debts and grudges from the years before are eliminated and they look at the new year with a fresh perspective and openness that is something I'd love to adopt and am trying to.
This goes back to the whole tradition and national pride element that I cherish so much about this amazing country. The people who reside here have followed the same rituals and routines for centuries and it is ingrained in their very being.
I was supposed to go to Thailand, but due to finances, I found myself in Hanoi in the eve of Tet, watching fireworks over Hoan Kiem lake before heading to Hoi An the following day for a week of sun and relaxation. As I observed the nationals at this time, I saw that of course they were engaging in partying for the new year, they weren't using it as an excuse to party, but felt genuine joy and love for the events going on around them. I think they are the ones who have got it right.
On December 31st, I danced around with my friends and drank and enjoyed the party. I made silly resolutions that I'm pretty sure I've broken but seeing Tet has made me rethink how I want to handle the new year.
This year is going to be another year of self discovery, self love and prosperity. I am going to start looking at things for what they actually are and valuing the greatness that has been thrust upon me. I have been given an immense opportunity out here, not only from a professional capacity but also from a personal standpoint as well. I am tired of claiming what I want, or who i want to be. I have decided, from this day forth to embrace who I am, to make necessary changes and to most importantly be happy in my own skin. I'm letting go of the past; past debt, past inflictions and everything else that I was allowing to hold me back and I am running forward to a bright and happy future.