Last weekend, we were able to go to Orange County to celebrate the Lunar New Year / Tet Celebration. We were very excited for different reasons:
Me: I can eat authentic Vietnamese food!
My Mom: I can buy stuff for the kids!
Daughter, 12: I can buy something cute from the Asian mall!
Daughter, 7: I can get a new toy!
Son, 5: I can see the Lion/Dragons and fireworks!
Son, 2: What’s happening?
I wasn’t sure if we were going to see anything because, officially, New Year’s was Saturday, but we were there Sunday. Luckily, everyone was still celebrating! The very first thing we happened upon was a Lion Dance exhibition outside a restaurant.
It was considered good luck for your business when you invite the Lions to dance and pray at your business.
This was the first time the toddler had seen the Lions, or Dragons as he calls them. He was very scared. Terrified, actually, when they got close. But of course, after the show, he couldn’t stop talking about them and watching the video I recorded. Haha.
When the exhibition dance was over, we headed for the Phuc (Happiness) Loc (Wealth) Tho (Long Life) Asian Mall. It was where we planned to spend the whole day.
I should have taken more pictures of the place, but I had four kids with me and it was crowded. But we did get to do the things we wanted to do. For example, THE FOOD! So yummy. If you’re ever in Orange County, you must try the food there.
There were lots of cute things to buy, such as lucky charms for your car or bag. Note to the wise, bring cash. The stores here like to deal in cash, especially the restaurants!
There is an altar on the second floor where Buddhists or Taoists go to pray for good fortune. They light incense and take a canister with fortune sticks in it. Then they shake the canister while praying, and whichever fortune stick comes out first is supposed to be the answer to your troubles. It’s called Kau Cim in Chinese, and Xin Xam in Vietnamese.
There are also markets where Apricot or Cherry Blossoms abound for people to buy. These flowers are important for the New Year because they mark the end of winter and the beginning of spring. They also bring good luck to your houses and their color is the symbol of happiness.
Finally, no trip is ever complete without posing in front of something cool. In our case, the kids posed in front of the Lion / Dragon Head for the win!
Like I said, the toddler was a little scared. Haha. He was okay after we showed him there was nothing inside the head though. Still, he pretty much prefers seeing them on video than in real life. Maybe next year, he won’t be as scared? 🙂
Anyway, the Tet Lunar New Year is always one of the celebrations we look foward to every year. Have you gone to one? If you haven’t, you should definitely try next year. I guarantee you will have so much fun.