In Vietnamese, they call it Tet Am Lich which roughly translates to “festival of the lunar calendar”. For most of the western world, and in the Philippines as well, calling it Chinese New Year is only out of convenience ignoring the fact that it is not only China that follows the movement of the moon to mark the year.
An hour ago was the start of the new year.
Two hours ago, I took a bath using boiled herbs which my friend told me will wash away all the bad lucks I accumulated from last year. The herbs smell like a combination of aromas of fish, garlic, onion, and turmeric but the steam coming from it felt good and soothing.
Six hours ago, my friend and I decided to take a bus and walk around Ho Hoan Kiem, a small lake they consider as the soul of Hanoi. Although the temperature was between 10 to seven degrees Celsius, this did not stop us from buying ice cream. The cold wind and the tropical fruit flavored ice cream complemented each other to create a beautiful sensation just between our lips and noses. The streets were deserted for most of the people left for their homelands and spend Tet festival there, as for Chi Le, my friend, she was born and grew up in Hanoi.
With the absence of motorbikes and other vehicles, the air quality of the city was drastically altered, made better, cleaner. I’d love Hanoi to remain like this, albeit lacking the charm of a bustling capital that it is.
Around twelve hours ago, we have had the last mid-day meal of the year. The banh chung almost filled us beyond what we are capable of digesting. It was such a great meal.
I can continue going back to what had been during the day, the week, the month, the year and so on, but I think nothing compares with what I feel right at this moment while I am typing the words in this post, far better than the thought of what will be tomorrow.
This year is the year of the Ox, I hope I’d be as hardy as an ox in accomplishing my goals and as resilient in weathering the challenges ahead. Chuc Mung Nam Moi. Happy New Year.