Counting Down and Ringing In
The way the Saigonese celebrate New Year’s was totally unexpected. First of all, the western or solar New Year is not as celebrated as the lunar New Year of course. In smaller towns, people don’t even celebrate the New Year that falls on January 1st on our calendar. However, in Saigon, the streets were filled with people as they were trying to find a spot to see the fireworks and the concert at the Heineken party on Nguyen Hue Street. We were nuts enough to try to join the party. The streets were so crowded that we could barely get past people walking on the street. Our friends who visited from Korea had to lug their suitcase around the congested streets because they were catching a flight back at 4am! After dinner at Barbecue Garden, a nice place for big groups with excellent food, we tried to get a bottle of champagne. Randy and Nguyen (a new friend who Rocky and Laura met at the airport and who is from Arkansas along with his wife, Kaci!!!) were on the search on the busy streets for champagne but ended up buying a bottle of champagne and two bottles of Welch’s Sparkling Grape Juice. Good try guys. The night was still memorable as we counted down the New Year on the sidewalk of the busy streets in Ho Chi Minh City with sparkling grape juice.
However, little did we know that the next day was a whole separate celebration. We thought that the Vietnamese didn’t celebrate the New Year, but we were wrong. They celebrated in a way that is probably on a small scale of what the Tet New Year will be (which is the Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year). We’ve heard that on Tet, Saigon is quieter because everyone goes to his or her hometown during the holidays. But our neighborhood is different because there are about three families who live in our alleyway and who own different stores. Therefore, Tet will be just as crazy as our new year was. Watch the video below to find out just how random it was.