Kim-Long Thi To

Mang-Non Vietnamese Language School Association principal.

Celebrations start on Lunar New Year’s Eve for Kim-Long Thi To, when families traditionally gather in the elders’ home.

“That night we cook only traditional food and we have ancestor worship,” she said. “We pray for the futures, we give thanks for our Gods or the ancestors to provide us with food, health, wellbeing and things like that.”

The next day, children visit elders at their home and are given a monetary gift in a red envelope or packet, wishing each other good health and happiness.

She said the local celebrations were similar to what she experienced in Vietnam.

“Vietnam has a holiday every year, for the three or four days,” Mrs To said. “We cook the day before a lot of food. During the three days we just enjoy ourselves, see people, see friends, we play and don’t cook at all.”

A special dish likely to be seen is sticky rice cake. Made of mung bean and pork filling and encased with sticky rice before being wrapped in banana leaves in square or cylindrical shapes, the banh chung and banh tet cakes are an integral part of the celebrations.