The Vietnamese Student Association is proud to announce that they'll be holding a New Year Event right here on the Fort Smith Campus. This year, the New Year celebrates the Year of the Rooster, and anyone who happens to be a Rooster has a lot to be proud of. According to lore, the Rooster symbolizes confidence, motivation, and pretentiousness. The most positive traits associated with the Rooster include bravery, determination, and meticulousness. You know you're a Rooster if you work better around others, dream of new ideas, and are stylish, love being the center of attention, and your appearance in public is perfect. Of course, there are charts that show what years are associated with the Rooster though are few of the years included for most students on campus would be 1969, 1981, and 1994.
John Nyugen, the President of the VSA, has been putting the New Year Event together with his association. Earlier this week, he met with me and told me of the various activities that will be available to anyone who comes and participates in this celebration. Among the activities included are mock-gambling card games like Xì dách and activities that encourage social interaction and teamwork like Cướp cờ. The New Year is a time to be with family and friends and bring everyone closer together, and the Event will help stress the importance of that.
Traditionally, it's not a New Year Celebration without food, and there will be plenty of it for everyone who comes. John provided a menu of what to expect when attending the Event. It all looks and sounds both delicious and exciting if someone is looking for new things to try.
BANH CHUNG/ BANH TET - SQUARE CAKE
(Banh Tet is the Southern Variety)
A steamed square cake, Banh Chung/Tet is made with glutinous rice, mung bean and pork and wrapped in banana leaves that symbolize the Earth. Traditional reasons aside, Bang Chung is the main food for the Tet holiday because it can last long for days in severe weather.
Also known as Gio Cha (ham and sausage respectively), Vietnamese sausage is another traditional holiday food that is served with sticky rice (Xoi) and Banh Chung. The difference between Gio and Cha is that Gio is bioled and Cha is deep-fried in oil. Gio is made from lean meat with added fish sauce and covered by leaves then boiled for hours. Cha is made from lean pork and not wrapped in leaves. Cha will only last a few days, and Gio can last for months because of the covering.
The holiday would not be so without this sticky rice because the meals that worship the ancestors would not be complete without it. Like Banh Chung, it’s a staple food in the Tet holiday. There are many different types but Xoi Gac is most favored because the gac fruit gives it a red color. Red is symbolizes luck and new achievement.
BOILED CHICKEN - THIT GA
This dish plays an important role in the holiday cuisine because all tribute meals to the ancestors must contain a whole chicken, boiled or chopped. It can be served in many forms, but nowadays a fired or roasted chicken is used, sometimes placed whole on the plate. This type of dish is normally served with Xoi and Banh Chung, sliced lemons, and salt-and-pepper sauce by tradition.
MUT - CANDIED FRUITS
Not served in a meal, this sweet treat is more like a snack meant to welcome guests to this special occasion. Mut is kept in beautiful boxes on the table in the living room for the hosts and guests to enjoy over a cup of tea while they are talking. The mix can include ginger, carrot, coconut, pineapple, pumpkin, lotus seed, star fruit, and sweet potato.
The VSA’s New Year Event is scheduled for Tuesday, February 7th and will last from 4pm until 7pm at the Lion’s Den. Remember to wear red for luck, and if you happen to wake up that day feeling happy, it’s a good bet that your year will be full of joy and good luck.