Vietnamese and Belgian Communities in Singapore Celebrate Tet with Traditional Dishes

Living in a distant land, Vietnamese expatriates come together every Lunar New Year to prepare traditional dishes, serving as a nostalgic reminder of their homeland.

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“Making Green Banh Chung to Welcome a Fruitful Spring” at the Vietnamese Embassy in the Kingdom of Belgium on Jan. 28. (Photo: VNA)

The General Association of Vietnamese People in Belgium organized “Making Green Banh Chung to Welcome a Fruitful Spring” at the Vietnamese Embassy in the Kingdom of Belgium on Jan. 28. At the event, young people and Belgian friends were taught how to make Banh Chung, an essential specialty during Tet.

Thu Hang, who has been living in Brussels for 13 years, taught the children and the Belgian participants how to wrap Banh Chung in dong leaves.

Tam Anh, another Vietnamese living in Belgium, said she wants her children to participate in Vietnamese cultural programs so that they can better understand the customs of their homeland. She wants to teach them the language and culture of Vietnam.

Despite not being fluent in Vietnamese, 12-year-old Antonio Duc Anh was enthusiastic about learning how to wrap Banh Chung. He carefully folded dong leaves, wrapped sticky rice and beans inside, and shaped the wrap into a beautiful square.

Belgian husbands of Vietnamese wives learned to make Banh Chung (Photo: VNA)

Dennis Laureys and Christophe Standaert were thrilled to witness the preparations for Vietnamese Tet for the first time. Dennis Laureys mentioned that he had visited Vietnam multiple times but never during Tet, so he was unaware of how to prepare for the holiday. Learning how to wrap Banh Chung provided him and other foreigners with a valuable experience to better understand the Vietnamese community and experience the warm atmosphere of Tet.

The “Making Green Banh Chung” event is the first activity organized by the Women’s Committee of the General Association of Vietnamese People in Belgium. Vietnamese Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium Nguyen Van Thao highly appreciated the initiative of the General Association in helping the younger generation to better understand the culture of their homeland, particularly during the traditional Tet holiday. Through this event, the Vietnamese community abroad gained a deeper understanding of the profound meaning of Banh Chung and continued to preserve and promote traditional values.

Vietnamese students in Singapore made Banh Chung together (Photo: Thai Duong)

Also on January 28, in Singapore, the Vietnamese Students Association in Singapore (VNYA) in collaboration with the Vietnamese Embassy organized the “Tet of Hearts 2024” event, bringing the festive atmosphere of Tet to Vietnamese students in Singapore.

Participants made Banh Chung, candied fruits, and distributed lucky money. They chatted and reminisced about Tet in Vietnam. Through these activities, the Vietnamese community in Singapore continues to preserve and promote cultural values, building a community that Vietnamese people can take pride in.

Vietnamese students in Singapore dressed in traditional ao dai for a group photo (Photo: Thai Duong)

Vu Minh Tran, a 10th-grade student at CHIJ High School (Singapore), expressed that the event was a warm and meaningful activity to welcome the traditional Tet. Despite living far from home, international students can still taste the flavors of Tet through familiar Banh Chung and candied coconut ribbons.

“We hope to participate in more events with the Vietnamese community in Singapore,” said Minh Tran.

In his speech, Vietnamese Ambassador to Singapore Mai Phuoc Dung said: “I hope you always remember your homeland, stay united, and support one another while living abroad. I wish you a year full of joy and success in your studies and personal development.”

Valerie Mai