Every year between late January and mid-February, the Union des Étudiants Vietnamiens de Bordeaux (UEVBx) organizes Tet Holiday , this celebration in Vietnam has the same importance as Christmas in France and other Western countries as well. Testimony of a 3rd year student at Vatel Bordeaux.
For international students, cultural festivals can be the hardest moment when away from home. I have been living in Bordeaux for 2 years, which means that I’ve already twice experienced my Tet holiday away from home.
Tet Holiday : Homesickness relief and perception of national solidarity overseas
Tet is the Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebration.
Every Vietnamese living abroad feels emotional when thinking about Tet, even though the holiday falls on normal days when everyone goes to work or to school.
Tet for me, is the feeling not to burst into tears when calling my parents on video chat trying not to say “ I miss home and I’m really sad’. It was the feeling of seeing my friends in Vietnam getting excited about Tet while I had to deal with deadlines and tons of assignments. It was the attempt of hiding my emotions in front of my friends in France.
Thanks to the Vietnamese students community in Bordeaux , the coldness in my soul has been relieved. Each year, the Vietnamese students host together on weekend, celebrating the Tet festival . Before that day, everyone all do their utmost in order to make the gathering the most joyful atmosphere for all the participants to enjoy. Organizing the traditional Tet within our community is the best way to ease our homesickness and consolidate solidarity. We also extended the Association by coordinating with other Vietnamese student groups in other cities, such as Toulouse.
In the New Year’s Eve, the students make Banh Chung cakes (a savoury Tet cake made of glutinous rice, pork, green bean, and pepper) and sell them as a means of pacifying the nostalgic feelings when the most important holiday is coming nearby.
Tet Holiday : The concept of celebration
The venue for the celebration changes each year but every of them is all a convenient place for the majority of Vietnamese students in Bordeaux, for example, they rented a hall in Bordeaux university campus which is familiar to the majority of students community and at the same time, the Vietnam traditional ceremony can be known widely by the French as well as international students within the area.
Above all, this is an opportunity for Vietnamese students as well as the Vietnamese Community in general to reunite and to honour our common ancestry. This is especially heartfelt after living apart from home for years and for those who are may be far away from
Vietnam as I am. The fullest experssion of Tet is to deepen the value, the idea and the experience of family.
Phuong N’Guyen – Mi3B from Vatel Bordeaux