Mary Ellen Ritter
The annual event that packs the Northrop Auditorium and celebrates the Vietnamese New Year through songs, skits and dance will look a little different this year.
Tết Show, a celebration of the Lunar New Year, or Tết Nguyên Đán, will be held on Feb. 20, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Instead of an in-person experience, it will be a virtual event where attendees can watch at home.
The show, orchestrated by the Vietnamese Student Association of Minnesota (VSAM), will showcase modern and traditional dances, songs, skits, a fashion show and a raffle. Though the three-hour event will be live on Zoom, it will be available on Youtube afterward to watch at your leisure. This year, the show will include subtitles in both English and Vietnamese.
Amid such a crazy year, when time feels stagnant, VSAM decided to make the theme of the show “Moments in Time.”
“We wanted to kind of look at all of the times that we have with our friends, family and with each other in the past and kind of bring that to the forefront,” Sara Ho, head coordinator of Tết Show, said. The skits will play into this theme, accompanied by songs and traditional and modern dances.
Mandy Lu, a dancer for this year’s show, saw the performance last year and knew this was something she wanted to be a part of when she came to the University. Tune in and you’ll see the rice hat dances, the paper umbrella dance and fan dances that are an integral part of Vietnamese culture.
Even on Zoom, the event’s hallmarks – the celebratory lion dance and the student-run fashion show – will remain.
Tết is not just for University students to attend, Ho said. She remembers all her loved ones and community members in attendance at past shows, packed into the seats of Northrop. To be up on stage, sharing culture with the diverse crowd of students and families — “It’s a great feeling,” Ho said.
To VSAM members, Tết is a time of family, celebration and food. During the celebration of the Lunar New Year, people eat bánh tét — sticky rice, pork belly and mung bean wrapped in a banana peel. Children go around wishing their elders fortune, happiness, luck and health as they give out red envelopes, or lì xì, with money in them. With the money they receive, they’ll play bầu cua tôm cá, a Vietnamese dice game.
“Growing up, I remember Tết being so meaningful to me because it was the one holiday of the year that I personally identified with my culture and ethnicity,” Emily Nguyen, skit and performance coordinator said. Of course, Nguyen elaborated, she looked forward to Christmas, Halloween and Thanksgiving as well, but nothing compared to Tết.
“I especially look forward to Tết because it is the time where I can celebrate Vietnamese history and tradition. I feel so much pride in my Vietnamese identity when I get to share a part of it, especially with something as big and fun as Tết.”