Tet 2016 in Vietnam

This was my first Tet in the province. It's funny being a minority literally of ONE, the only foreigner in a reasonably large town of around 160,000 Vietnamese. The locals were shocked to see a white man on the street, usually doing a double take on their bikes and then bursting into a huge grin and waving or singing out hello as they almost fell off or ran into the bike in front. I felt like I imagine Brad Pitt or George Clooney or even maybe Obama must feel when they go out in public, minus the good looks and money of course. But, I digress.

The streets of the usually very sleepy Eakar, in Dak Lak Province were transformed into a see of Tet flowers and Kumquat trees in huge pots lining both sides of the main street. Business was brisk from sun up until late at night every day in the lead up to Tet with everything vanishing as if by magic on the first morning of Tet. 

In any event, spending Tet with a loving and fun Vietnamese family gave me a new understanding and appreciation of this annual celebration that is so ingrained in the psyche of a nation and so much about family, connection to home and rememberance and respect for the departed.

 Tet selfies were a popular pastime in Dakar, Dak Lak province.

Tet selfies were a popular pastime in Dakar, Dak Lak province.

 The flower sellers were going nuts from sun up until late at night. These yellow flowers in huge pots are a symbol of Tet. Large potted Kumquat tree's symbolise wealth.

The flower sellers were going nuts from sun up until late at night. These yellow flowers in huge pots are a symbol of Tet. Large potted Kumquat tree's symbolise wealth.

 Brother and sister in traditional dress out for a new year photoshoot.

Brother and sister in traditional dress out for a new year photoshoot.

 A three person job to manhandle these flower pots to the kerb they are then transported home on the back of a motorbike.

A three person job to manhandle these flower pots to the kerb they are then transported home on the back of a motorbike.

 Like Christmas in the West, Tet involves people spending money on new stuff that they neither need nor can afford.

Like Christmas in the West, Tet involves people spending money on new stuff that they neither need nor can afford.

 Kumquat Trees, a symbol of wealth for the new year.

Kumquat Trees, a symbol of wealth for the new year.

 Putting things in perspective a woman is dwarfed by her Tet flower pots.

Putting things in perspective a woman is dwarfed by her Tet flower pots.

 On the eve of Tet a man prayer for his departed relatives at an ancestral alter temporarily set up at the front of his house, facing the street for good luck.

On the eve of Tet a man prayer for his departed relatives at an ancestral alter temporarily set up at the front of his house, facing the street for good luck.