Year Of The Rat

Technically, it’s not the Year of the Rat until tomorrow, but for us, the celebration has started since last week, after the Kitchen God’s farewell ceremony on the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month (in Vietnamese mythology, each household has a kitchen god, and a week before the New Year, he will return to Heaven to report on the family’s activities to the Jade Emperor, who will reward or punish the family accordingly, so every family has to offer the Kitchen God a great feast in the hope that he’ll put in a good word for them.) I’m helping my family to prepare for New Year’s Eve, so here are some photos of a New Year flower market for you guys to enjoy. Regular posting will resume next week; see you then!


Year Of The Dog

Happy Lunar New Year! It’s the Year of the Dog, so here is a picture of my dog looking all prim and proper and not her usual goofy self:

And some shots of the celebration and decorations:

My grandma’s house, decorated with the traditional kumquat tree

Traditional altar at my grandma’s house – the sugar canes are supposed to be walking sticks for the spirits of our ancestors

Chưng cakes ready to be boiled

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have food to eat and packing to do. There will be SIA posts up next week, so stay tuned!


Year Of The Rooster

It’s not the Year of the Rooster until tomorrow, but I know I would be too busy celebrating (i.e. stuffing my face), so here are some photos from yesterday’s Lunar New Year market that I went with my sister. This year, my dad was so busy that all of our preparations were done beforehand, so there wasn’t that exciting rush in the few days leading up to the New Year. To make up for it, my sister and I decided to go to the Old Quarter to check out the traditional market there – not because we needed to buy anything, but because we simply wanted to bask in that atmosphere. It was quite fun, but insanely crowded. I probably wouldn’t brave it if my sister hadn’t insisted.

lunar new year market by 14 shades of grey

lunar new year market by 14 shades of grey

lunar new year market by 14 shades of grey

lunar new year market by 14 shades of greyAn often-encountered sight around the Lunar New Year: huge pots of chưng cakes boiling away

lunar new year market by 14 shades of grey

lunar new year market by 14 shades of grey

lunar new year market by 14 shades of grey

lunar new year market by 14 shades of grey
Antique stalls

lunar new year market by 14 shades of greyPiggy banks (kids are often given piggy banks at the start of a new year, for their lucky money)

lunar new year market by 14 shades of grey

lunar new year market by 14 shades of greyThese are not a Lunar New Year thing, but they’re too delicious not to be included – donut holes

So anyway, Happy the Year of the Rooster! I’ll be back next week with (hopefully) a couple of outfit posts!

year of the roosterOriginal art by my niece


Happy Year of the Goat!

You know how I often complain that Vietnam doesn’t have enough food-based holidays? I think I know why now. It’s because the Lunar New Year is like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the Super Bowl all rolled into one. I’m currently stuffing my face and have been for the last three days or so. We had kind of a pre-New Year feast last weekend (when we made the rice cakes), we had one last night (for New Year’s Eve), we had one today (for New Year), and we’re going to have another one the day after tomorrow (for the end of the Lunar New Year holiday). So please, enjoy the photos of the feasts, the spring flowers in our garden, and the firework display, while I go sleep this off.

rice cakes by 14 shades of grey

kalanchoe flower by 14 shades of grey

camelia by 14 shades of grey

chrysanthemum by 14 shades of grey

camelias by 14 shades of greychrysanthemums by 14 shades of grey

camelia and bees by 14 shades of greypeach blossoms by 14 shades of grey

barbeque by 14 shades of greysticky rice by 14 shades of grey

barbequed meat by 14 shades of greyBarbequed pork and sticky rice cooked in bamboo stalks

new year feast by 14 shades of greynew year feast by 14 shades of grey
Bamboo shoot soup and sticky rice

new year feast by 14 shades of greyGlass noodle salad

new year feast by 14 shades of greynew year feast by 14 shades of grey
Slow-cooked pork and spring rolls

new year feast by 14 shades of greyBeef and vegetable stir-fry

new year feast by 14 shades of greyBraised chicken

firework by 14 shades of grey

firework by 14 shades of greyfirework by 14 shades of grey
Yeah, that’s a smiley face/Joker firework

firework by 14 shades of grey


Lunar New Year: The Celebration

The last in the Lunar New Year posts is some pictures of the fireworks (we’re lucky to live close to the National Stadium where the biggest firework display is), and of course, the most important part of any holiday (in my opinion, at least) – the food. I was lucky I remembered to take photos of the food at all before they were all consumed. Sorry they look kinda like stock photos with no people – my family are all camera-shy I’m afraid 🙂

lunar new year - fireworks - by 14 shades of greylunar new year - fireworks - by 14 shades of grey

lunar new year - fireworks - by 14 shades of grey

lunar new year - candied fruits - by 14 shades of greylunar new year - feast - by 14 shades of grey

lunar new year - feast - by 14 shades of greylunar new year - rice cake - by 14 shades of grey

And that’s it! Happy the year of the Snake!