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UVSA "Springs Into Action" with fashion shows, beauty pageants, lion dances and special performances at the annual Tet Festival.
Photos by Chau Nguyen ?Photo Essay
Kicking off the Year of the Monkey, UVSA (Union of Vietnamese Student Associations) held their 22nd annual Tet Festival (Vietnamese Lunar New Year festival) from January 23rd to the 25th at Garden Grove Park. Started in 1982 as a means to recognize the cultural importance of Tet for the Vietnamese community, this annual festival has become the largest cultural event in the Little Saigon community, attracting more than 150,000 people.?
With the theme of “Spring Into Action?(Xuan Len Duong), the three-day event featured a myriad of activities for the whole family with a multitude of vendors selling everything from New Year's ornaments to Vietnamese T-shirts and various carnival rides and games for children.
The festival also gave local businesses the opportunity to advertise their goods which ranged from medical services to travel information. After taking part in the day’s activities, visitors could indulge in the wide variety of dishes offered at the food court including papaya salad with strips of beef jerky, hot porridge, teriyaki sticks, boba tea and sugar cane juice.
But what was most impressive were the scenes set up to showcase Vietnamese mythology, traditions, and landscape throughout the festival grounds of which people could photograph. For example, there were students dressed up as the Kitchen God and his wife, meeting with the Jade Emperor. This symbolizes the traditional belief that at the end of the year, the Kitchen God often reported the year’s events to the emperor. There was also a replica of the Temple of the Earth God where people often came to pray for blessings throughout the year as well as a replica of a straw hut, and an artificial pond complete with a “Monkey Bridge.”
Undoubtedly, the highlight of the festival was the entertainment that occurred later in the evening, including special performances by Vietnamese singers such as Y Lan, Trish, Manh Dinh, Jacqueline Thuy Tram, My Huyen and many more. The festival also presented three fashion shows (the traditional ao dai (Vietnamese long dress) fashion show, the children’s traditional costume contest, and the JC Penny Fashion Show) as well as numerous performances ranging from martial arts demonstrations to hip-hop performances. There was also a beauty pageant that took place on Saturday in which 30 contestants competed for the title of Miss Vietnam of Southern California.
For more information and to see the festival highlights, please visit www.thsv.org.
Date Posted: 2/6/2004