Tag Archives: newyear

New Year – Viet or Chinese Style

3 Feb
Happy year of the Cat - 2011

Happy year of the Cat - 2011

Don’t get in a fight now – it doesn’t really matter. Some call it Chinese New Year, some call it Vietnamese ‘Tet’.  Fact is that 3 February is new year on ‘this side’ of the globe. The Vietnamese celebrate the year of the cat, which for strange reasons, in the Chinese world it is the year of the rabbit. (something got lost in translation?) – pics below.

However, both of the new years involve lots of kitchy decorations, sporting either rabbits or kitties for 2011. Red envelopes are present everywhere, in the New Year trees (who said only christians decorated pagan trees ;-), in your pocket (if all goes well) and you should make sure red envelopes make it to the pockets of your relatives and friends. In a tourist city, like Siem Reap, where life never stops to vibrate, all of a sudden shops close (tough luck for the tourists) and bus prices double. Continue reading


Sunny Wishes for 2010

30 Dec

I hope that 2010 will make your dreams come true – and you know what – if you really go for it – dreams do come true, as I realised on my travels in 2009.

Now I’m only wishing for a nice colleague to join me in SALTO Inclusion – so if you know someone? That would be the best New Year present ever! Deadline 31 Jan 2010.

And what are you wishing for?

Happy Wesak 2052 – Buddha’s birth

9 May
Burning my little lotus candle for Buddha

Burning my little lotus candle for Buddha

Yep – Happy New Year again! (for the 4th time this year, I know) This time the New Year took my by surprise. I was walking around town and on the spur of the moment, I thought to do something cultural, instead of only lying at the beach, reading, blogging and gazing at the beautiful sunset every night.

So I went to visit the lying Buddha in the Thai temple, and the Burmese Buddhist temple (in the same street). There were many many people around, and I only realized what was going on when I saw a little paper on the wall explaining that today is Wesak – Buddhist religious new year 2052. It was 2052 years ago that Buddha was born. So I decided to join in and get my blessing from the monks and light a flower candle for Buddha. Continue reading

Songkran: getting wet in 3 cities

15 Apr

Even the streets could not handle the tons of water

Even the streets could not handle the tons of water

Happy New Year – (many pics below) the Thai just arrived in 2052 (according to the Buddhist calendar). And they do celebrate this by splashing out – literally. The tradition wants that the houses are cleaned for the new year, the Buddha statues are washed in the temple, and people throw water at each other. This wet affair last for 3 days, except this year, the government decided to extend it for 2 more days because of the unrests that troubled the first 2 days of Songkran.

We had the wet pleasure to experience this Songkran water festival in 3 different cities: we were in Pattaya for the first day. The next day we moved to Bangkok to take the night train to Chiang Mai – but with an hallucinating stop in Silom road – getting more wet than wet. And in Chiang Mai, the streets had turned into rivers because of all the water throwing. Amazing.

Continue reading

Happy New Year again

13 Apr
Happy Wet New Year

Happy Wet New Year

I know, I sent you New Year greetings from Phnom Penh (the Western New Year), I sent you good luck wishes again for the Vietnamese New Year (end January) and once more it is time to wish you a superb New Year – the Thai New Year this time (and Khmer and Lao new year).

And of course New Year calls for celebration! The Thai start the new year ceremonially washing their buddha statues (from their home shrines) in the home temple. But at the same time, tradition wants that that the people also ‘wash’ each other Continue reading

Super-Sonic Saigon

25 Jan
A tiny portion of traffic in Sai Gon

A tiny portion of traffic in Sai Gon

Remember the structured traffic chaos I described in Cambodia? Multiply this by ten, and you get an idea about the traffic in Sai Gon. Or should I say Ho Chi Minh city? Many of the places in Vietnam have several names: dating back from the ‘old days’, from the French colonial period or from the communist (current) era – just to make understanding & traveling easier ;-) Add to that a few accents (meaning, completely different pronunciation and meaning) to every vowel, and you’re completely lost. But Sai Gon definitely had its charm, all done up in the New Year looks, and holding onto a hunk shooting through traffic on the back of a motorbike…

Are there enough accents ?

Are there enough accents ?

Traffic… I thought I’d seen it all in Phnom Penh, but Saigon beats it by large. The large bulk of traffic are not cars, not buses, but motorbikes and mopeds. It’s like dropping a handful of marbles in your bathtub, they all jump frenetically into different directions, bumping into each other, but still arriving where they should be. Continue reading

Very Vietnamese New Year

24 Jan
Offerings for the ancestors... and us afterwards...

Offerings for the ancestors... and us afterwards...

I had read so much about the Vietnamese new year that I was very curious to actually see it happen – and I was even more excited to be part of it in my boyfriend’s family. Having said this, this was certainly not the reason for getting back with my ex (that would be veeery cheap!). I made pretty sure that I’d prefer to stay at the hotel if it would be inappropriate to be at his place for Tet (Vietnamese new year) or at his family’s ‘tout court’.

Our ‘getting-back-together’ timing was not the best of all, as we only got back together the day before the new year. I had seen that it is traditional to give each other big presents for the new year, so I certainly didn’t want to be the pauper and come empty handed. Continue reading

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