Traditional food, performances at annual Vietnamese Tet Festival Celebration2 min read


Lauren Locquiao

An old couple stands infront of the venue with the Vietnam and American flags

Lauren Locquiao, Staff Reporter

It’s closing to midnight, and you probably heard it, the sound of firecrackers going off. This time around the zodiac sign aligns to be the year of the rat. The Santa Clara County Fairgrounds hosted a two-day event in celebration of Lunar New Year from Jan. 25 to Jan 26.

What some people look forward to is seeing the different performances and dances. One, in particular, is the lion dance. 

This traditional dance’s significance is to bring good luck and fortune. A group of bystanders encircles the lions as they dance to the beat of the drum, fluttering their eyes, inching closer to get a better view. 

Overall, this event itself is for a day but is usually celebrated over the weekend. San Jose has the largest population of Vietnamese people outside of Vietnam.

“Every year, I get money from my older relatives. It’s wishing luck to those who matter around us. That’s something I do look forward to,”  Kiet Tran, 19, a student at UC Davis said. 

At 12:30 p.m., there was a fashion show hosted by GGConnections. On stage, each model took their turn walking and all gathered to pose together on the end and show off each outfit.

Many people who attend wear a traditional áo dài. The direct translation means long shirt. Both men and women wear them to formal events like the one now or a wedding.

“I heard of this event from the designer I model with. This isn’t my first time at the Fairgrounds, but it is my first time modeling here,” Janneth Nguyen, 18, a student at SJSU.

Pavilion Hall served as the main location for the event. Once inside, there were the vendors towards the side and back. The tables included SJCleanEnergy, Lee’s Sandwich, and other local shops. What you see when you first enter are rows of chairs for the audience facing the main stage. 

The firecrackers and the loud noises that come with it have meaning behind the noise, as well as the various colors of the costumes, symbols and other decorations. 

The color yellow means to bring good luck while red means to ward off bad luck. Other beliefs that come for the New Year are explained by Nirvana Loi, 18, a student at UCI. 

“One superstition is to not clean on New Years. That includes showering because that washes away the good luck,” said Loi. “You don’t want to wash away your luck at the start of the new year.”

The event provided a place for culture to be celebrated, as families could be with each other, eat traditional food, watch performances of traditional chances, and interact with other families in their community.