For the romantic at heart…
- Think the colour red – give watermelon or dragon fruit, for example
- For children, money inside a red envelope or lì xì. Make sure the notes are brand-new.
- Orange or gold-coloured gifts are also great – two easy ideas are mandarins and pomegranates.
- Wrap gifts in red or gold paper, or with red or gold ribbon
- Scarves are an old favorite – you can’t go wrong, but don’t choose anything in white or black
- A cumquat tree or a peach tree branch covered in blossom – everyone will love you for this
- For old people, you can give a Dong Ho painting
- Wine – a winning idea, especially if it’s imported
- Preserved fruit is hugely popular – candied coconut & ginger are definitely good choices
- Nuts – peanuts are a bit lowbrow; instead choose cashews or pistachios. The more expensive, the better
If you have mastered”Chúc mừng năm mới” (Happy New Year), you may like to try these faves:
“Tiền vô như nước” (Hope money flows in like water)
“Sống lâu trăm tuổi” (Hope you live 100 years)
“Vạn sự như ý” (Hoping all your wishes come true)
“Hay ăn chóng lớn (Eat more, grow rapidly – only say this to children!)
“Năm mới, thắng lợi mới” (New year, new triumphs)
Emporium – 172 Xuan Dieu St: Business as usual, open 9am to 8pm every day
Emporium – 39 Xuan Dieu St: Closed 4th, 5th & 6th February
Villa Eatalia: Closed 3rd & 4th FebruaryO
Body & Soul Spa, 84 To Ngoc Van St: Closed 3d to 10th February
Sushi Dokoro, 95 Xuan Dieu St: Closed from 3rd to 5th February
Cugini’s To Ngoc Van St: Closed 3rd to 8th February
The Kneipe, 52 To Ngoc Van St: Open every day
L’s Place – 1 Xuan Dieu St: Closes 4pm on 4th February, opens 10am on 8th Feb
El Gaucho 99 Xuan Dieu St: Open every day
One Dental Clinic: Closed 4th to 9th February
Bookworm, Chau Long St: Open every day
Intercontinental Hotel, Westlake: open every day
Starbucks Xuan Dieu: Closes 12:00 noon 4th Feb; Opens 12:00 noon 5th Feb
St Honore – 5 Xuan Dieu St: Closes afternoon of 4th Feb ; Re-opens 9th February
Hung Long Minimart 71B Xuan Dieu St – Closed 5th February, opens 8th February
Republic – 12 Quang An St- Feb 3 to Feb 8: 12pm to 22pm. Open as normal from 9/2
Chops – Quang An St: : Feb 3 to Feb 8: 12:00pm to 10:00pm. Open as normal from 9/2
SOS/Raffles Medical: Closed Feb 4 to Feb 8
Family Medical Practice: Open 24/7 ph. 024 3843 0748
O’Douceurs – 90 To Ngoc Van St: Closed 2nd to 12th February
Pigs are the twelfth sign of the Vietnamese zodiac and this coming year is a desirable time to have a baby, for pigs are a symbol of wealth. Pig years include 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007 and of course 2019. People born during these lunar years are believed to be energetic, positive, generous and to have leadership potential. They love to enjoy themselves but are also hard working. Possibly their only fault is that they can be gullible. Pigs make great companions/spouses for people born in the Year of the Goat & Year of the Cat.
So let’s check these characteristics with a list of famous people born during the Year of the Pig: Ronald Reagan, Hillary Clinton, the current Dalai Lama, Mariah Carey, Elon Musk, Mark Wahlberg, Ewan Mcgregor & Kevin Spacey.
The mythical origins of bánh chưng, a traditional Tet food in Vietnam, go back to the sixth Hung King, whose son created the recipe for the steamed cake in a bid to become his father’s only heir. The green leaves that encase a bánh chưng represent the earth, reflecting the green forests, mountains and meadows of Vietnam. Inside the cake, hidden beneath a thick layer of sticky rice, are beans and pork, which are symbols of the earth’s plants and animals. During Tet, families make bánh chưng and offer them to their ancestors, and share them with friends. This year, you’ll know exactly what you’re biting into – a piece of Vietnamese heritage.
Giving lì xì or red envelopes containing lucky money is an integral aspect of Tet. Foreigners are very welcome to join in this custom. Apparently, it’s not the amount of money inside the envelope that counts – it’s the thought – so don’t get hung up deciding on how much to give. Anything from 10,000 vnd upwards is fine, but make sure the money you put in the envelope is new and clean. Many Vietnamese will go to the bank before Tet just to get hold of brand new money for their lì xì. Giving old and tattered notes is considered disrespectful.
If you receive some lucky money, don’t be in a hurry to spend it. It’s better to save your lucky money to use on something special. Both givers and receivers of lì xì will be lucky in the ensuing year. By handing out lì xì, you are inviting the flow of money and luck into your own household.
It looks like Moldy march has arrived 2 months early in Hanoi, so it’s time to post some tips that will keep your home or apartment dry and mold-free:
- Ventilate the 2 wettest rooms of the house -your bathroom & kitchen.
- Wipe down the shower recess with a clean towel or squeegee as soon as everyone has had a shower. Make sure you remove wet towels from the bathroom immediately after use.
- Keep windows open when it’s dry outside and close windows when it rains or it’s foggy. Ceiling or pedestal fans can help keep air moving – mold forms when the air is still.
- Direct sunlight kills mold – take moldy items outside when the sun is shining and let them ‘sunbake’.
- Keep the doors of your cupboards and drawers open. If possible, store everything on open shelves for the entire month.
- Turn on the dehumidifier. Check your aircon – does it have a dehumidifying function? The symbol for this is usually a water droplet.
- When you water your indoor plants, mix some Taheebo tea with the water. This tea kills mold and will prevent the soil in your pot plants from becoming mold factories!
- Don’t put furniture up against outside walls. The inside walls (between rooms) are always warmer and less prone to condensation. Leave a gap between the wall and each piece of furniture so that air can circulate freely.
- Stuff your shoes, boots and handbags with magazines or foam to keep them mold-free. Store them in a well-ventilated part of the house.
- Vacuum more often when the weather is humid, because mold spores attach themselves to dust particles.
- Don’t dry your clothes inside – put them in the clothes dryer.
- Clean the filter inside your air conditioner – this will stop mold from growing inside the unit.
Avoid swearing or using negative words in the first few days of the new year. It is believed that words like dead (chết) and sad (buồn) may haunt you for the whole year. It’s better to talk about the future in positive terms – use words like hope (mong or hy vọng) and sẽ (to indicate the future tenses) – and reflect on happy memories from the previous year. If your Tet is conflict-free and full of positive energy, fun and laughter, the ensuing year will be smooth.