Last week the Vietnamese community celebrated Tet, the beginning of the lunar new year.
While not a religious holiday, the three-day observance began for many of Orange County's 90,000 Vietnamese residents with visits to churches, temples and pagodas to honor the dead, reflect on the past and pray for the future. The holiday, steeped in 4,000 years of tradition, transcends the religious boundaries of Buddhists, Confucianists, Catholics and Protestants.
In homes, families gathered around homemade altars piled with fruits and other foods-- symbolic offerings to ancestors' spirits. Children waited impatiently for money gifts enfolded in small, red paper packets.
Tet gives everyone in Orange County an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of our cultural backgrounds and look forward to a year of peace and prosperity. May this Year of the Dragon be filled with good health and a long life. Happy New Year-- Chuc Mung Nam Moi!