Vietnamese Community in South Africa Celebrates Tet Together

Amidst the vibrant ambiance bidding adieu to the Year of the Cat and embracing the new Year of the Dragon, the Embassy of Vietnam in South Africa organized a splendid event called "Xuan Que Huong" (Homeland Spring) on January 27th, local time.

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The event was attended by overseas Vietnamese and officials at Vietnamese representative agencies in South Africa.

Vietnamese Ambassador to South Africa Hoang Sy Cuong. Photo: Hong Minh/VNA

In his opening remarks, Vietnamese Ambassador to South Africa Hoang Sy Cuong emphasized that the Embassy is the common home of the Vietnamese community who are working, studying, and living in South Africa. “Given that we are living thousands of miles away from our Fatherland, and that each of us resides in a different location, it is even more special and meaningful that we gather here today,” said the Ambassador.

Reviewing Vietnam’s achievements in 2023, the Ambassador emphasized that those results were reached thanks to the efforts of the entire political system, 100 million Vietnamese people residing in Vietnam, and valuable contributions from about 6 million overseas Vietnamese, including the community in South Africa.

The Ambassador affirmed that the Party and State always pay attention, facilitate, and support overseas people to settle down, do business, integrate into local social life, maintain good relations with the homeland, and actively participate in building and developing the homeland.

The Ambassador hopes that even in different circumstances and conditions, overseas Vietnamese in South Africa work together to promote patriotic traditions and continue to preserve their attachment to their homeland. He hopes they maintain a community of solidarity and support, and help each other to thrive, as well as preserve and promote the beautiful image of the country, people, and culture of Vietnam to South African friends. The Ambassador expects overseas Viet to comply with Vietnamese law and the host country’s local law, and make a positive contribution to the relations between Vietnam and South Africa. “Together, we will build and develop the Vietnamese community in South Africa, especially the younger generation, to grow stronger, more united, and thriving,” said the Ambassador.

Vietnamese Ambassador to South Africa Hoang Sy Cuong presented lucky money envelopes to representatives of Vietnamese elderly people in South Africa. Photo: Hong Minh/VNA

In a warm and intimate atmosphere, attendees watched a short clip of 10 outstanding events about aspects of the country’s life in 2023 and sent wishes for a good and peaceful year of the Dragon.

Ngoc Han, a Vietnamese expatriate in South Africa, said that she had not been in Vietnam to celebrate Tet for five years, partly due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Han misses the Tet atmosphere in her hometown and her family. Ngoc Han said the Embassy’s Tet celebration offered Vietnamese expatriates a friendly Tet atmosphere like in Vietnam.

Guntram Buchhold, Ngoc Han’s husband, said: “I love the traditional Vietnamese Tet atmosphere. Family members gather together to celebrate Tet, enjoy delicious food, chat, and exchange greetings.”

Meanwhile, James Mack, wearing the ao dai he bought when visiting Vietnam a week before, was excited to attend the event. He said: “It’s great to celebrate Vietnamese Tet together. This is the first time I have participated in an event like this. I love traditional Vietnamese Tet dishes such as banh chung, and fried spring rolls. I also love to learn more about the culture and the practice of giving lucky money to adults and children. These will definitely be great things to start a new lunar year for everyone.”

Giving lucky money envelopes to Vietnamese children in South Africa – a longstanding tradition during Tet. Photo: Hong Minh/VNA.

The “Homeland Spring” program to welcome the new year of the Dragon was held with many exciting cultural activities, such as giving lucky money to the elderly and children, lucky draws, and culinary festivals with traditional Vietnamese Tet dishes such as banh chung, fried spring rolls, soup, and Vietnamese sausage prepared by staff of the Vietnamese Embassy and representative agencies in South Africa. Thanks to those activities, a joyful and vibrant Tet atmosphere was brought to overseas people.

Valerie Mai