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Expat shares about Tet: Vietnam’s Tet is full of traditions
Monday,  2/11/2019, 14:04 

Expat shares about Tet: Vietnam’s Tet is full of traditions

By Minh Tuan

Russian tourists look at a man making teppanyaki ice-cream at a night market. Photo taken on Phu Quoc Island a couple of days before Tet - PHOTO: MINH DUY

HCMC - Another Lunar New Year holiday (Tet) has come and gone. Many expats in Vietnam chose to go back to their home country on this weeks-long holiday but others stayed in Vietnam during Tet. Paul Tonkes, founder of Heart Beat, moved from the Netherlands to Vietnam in 2010 and he has experienced nine Tet celebrations here. The Saigon Times has an interview with Paul Tonkes about how he spent the Lunar New Year holiday in Vietnam.

The Saigon Times: Good morning Mr. Paul Tonkes. How was your Tet?

- Paul Tonkes: Since 2011 I have spent my Tet in Hanoi and Tet is the most wonderful time of the year when I could completely forget about my work and enjoy the stunning holiday atmosphere.

Which activities do you love doing the most on this holiday?

- I like the less crowded streets, flower market at night, hanging out with my two brothers in law, going to the country side, going to pagoda on the first day of the first lunar month to get my horoscope for the new lunar year and pray for health and peace.

What do you think about Tet in Vietnam? Which are the biggest differences between Western countries' New Year and Vietnam's Lunar New Year?

- Vietnam’s Lunar New Year is celebrated a bit like Christmas time in Europe. Full of traditions. But its intensity is like no other holiday in the western world. I like all these little traditions before, during and right after Tet. It’s also usually the time I extend with some holidays abroad. You can’t ignore Tet because it consumes you!

Do you love Tet food? Which are your most favorite dishes?

- Yes, probably banh chung (sticky rice cake stuffed with pork and mung beans) and cha gio (spring rolls) but when in Hanoi I also indulge in my street food cravings a lot. My favorites are bun oc (snail noodle), banh cuon (stuffed pancake), chao suon (pork rib porridge), and nem chua ran (fried fermented pork roll).

Can you reveal a little bit about your plans for Heart Beat in the new year?

- Heart Beat is continuing its monthly events, featuring international techno heavy weights. We are currently in our seventh year and our first event in the Year of the Pig is on Saturday, March 16, featuring English master producer “BNJMN” who is doing his Delsin album tour and DJ/producer “Flank” who will appear for the first time.

Then on April 6, we are very excited to have Discrete Circuit as our special guest. On June 7, Oliver Deutschmann is coming back for the second time. Of course all Heart Beat events are taking place at the Observatory in District 1 of HCMC.

Don’t forget our close brothers of Harbour Saigon, also part of the Heart Beat family. They will be doing many great events, live streaming podcasts with local friends as well as releasing their first full album on their namesake record label.

Thank you for your sharing. Wish you and your family a new lunar year full of happiness, health and success.

- Thanks. A happy new year to you too!

* Heart Beat is a group of music lovers that brings foremost the techno culture to HCMC’s nightlife by regularly hosting performances by international and local talents playing classic and grooving minimal techno.

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