Vietnamese in Maine celebrate Lunar New Year with traditional festival

Posted Jan. 16, 2012, at 8:37 p.m.
Huong Thuy, an internationally known singer, performs at the Vietnamese New Year's celebration Saturday, Jan. 14, in Portland.
Huong Thuy, an internationally known singer, performs at the Vietnamese New Year's celebration Saturday, Jan. 14, in Portland. Buy Photo
Singer Don Ho performs at the Vietnamese Lunar New Year's celebration, Saturday, Jan. 14, in Portland.
Singer Don Ho performs at the Vietnamese Lunar New Year's celebration, Saturday, Jan. 14, in Portland. Buy Photo
Performers celebrate the Year of the Dragon, Saturday, Jan. 14, in Portland. In Asian culture the Dragon is believed to bring luck, strength and wisdom.
Performers celebrate the Year of the Dragon, Saturday, Jan. 14, in Portland. In Asian culture the Dragon is believed to bring luck, strength and wisdom. Buy Photo
A crowd cheers during a performance by singer Don Ho during a celebration of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, Saturday, Jan. 14, in Portland.
A crowd cheers during a performance by singer Don Ho during a celebration of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, Saturday, Jan. 14, in Portland. Buy Photo
A girl swings a stick at a panda pinata filled with candy at the Vietnamese New Year's celebration, Saturday, Jan. 14, in Portland. Pinatas are generally associated with Mexico but the game has its origins in Asia.
A girl swings a stick at a panda pinata filled with candy at the Vietnamese New Year's celebration, Saturday, Jan. 14, in Portland. Pinatas are generally associated with Mexico but the game has its origins in Asia. Buy Photo
Participants in a fashion show show off formal wear during a celebration of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, Saturday, Jan. 14, in Portland.
Participants in a fashion show show off formal wear during a celebration of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, Saturday, Jan. 14, in Portland. Buy Photo
Kim Ngoc of Portland shows off colorful formal wear during a fashion at a celebration of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, Saturday, Jan. 14, in Portland.
Kim Ngoc of Portland shows off colorful formal wear during a fashion at a celebration of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, Saturday, Jan. 14, in Portland. Buy Photo
Kendrich Nguyen, 3, swings a stick at a panda pinata filled with candy at the Vietnamese New Year's celebration, Saturday, Jan. 14, in Portland. Pinatas are generally associated with Mexico, but the game has its origins in Asia.
Kendrich Nguyen, 3, swings a stick at a panda pinata filled with candy at the Vietnamese New Year's celebration, Saturday, Jan. 14, in Portland. Pinatas are generally associated with Mexico, but the game has its origins in Asia. Buy Photo
Kevin Tran, 3, recieves a lucky money envelope during a celebration of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, Saturday, Jan. 14, in Portland. Asian cultures traditionally give lucky money envelopes to the young and the old during the holiday.
Kevin Tran, 3, recieves a lucky money envelope during a celebration of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, Saturday, Jan. 14, in Portland. Asian cultures traditionally give lucky money envelopes to the young and the old during the holiday. Buy Photo
Vietnamese Mainers cheer a singer during a celebration of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, Saturday, Jan. 14, in Portland. The day is the most important and popular holiday for the Vietnamese.
Vietnamese Mainers cheer a singer during a celebration of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, Saturday, Jan. 14, in Portland. The day is the most important and popular holiday for the Vietnamese. Buy Photo
Decorations commemorate the Year of the Dragon at a celebration of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, Saturday, Jan. 14, in Portland. In Asian culture the Dragon is believed to bring luck, strength and wisdom.
Decorations commemorate the Year of the Dragon at a celebration of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, Saturday, Jan. 14, in Portland. In Asian culture the Dragon is believed to bring luck, strength and wisdom. Buy Photo

PORTLAND, Maine — More than 300 people from Maine’s Vietnamese community gathered Saturday to usher in the Vietnamese Lunar New Year with music, food and fashion. The festival of Tet Nguyen Dan marks the arrival of spring, according to the Asian lunar calendar. The celebration included lion and dragon dancers and was highlighted by the popular California-based singers Don Ho and Huong Thuy.

The Lunar New Year’s holiday is the most important festival of the year for the Vietnamese. It has been called the equivalent of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and Easter all rolled into one. The celebration often last several days. Customs include cleaning the house to get rid of bad fortunes, purchasing new clothes for the holiday, and making offers to honor the souls of ancestors. Children love it because they receive red envelopes containing “lucky money” from their elders.

2012 is the Year of the Dragon. The mythical creature is the most revered of all the Vietnamese zodiac signs. It is a symbol strength and vitality that they believe will bring a year full of good fortune.

The event, which was held at the Gold Room, was hosted by the all-volunteer Vietnamese-American Association of Maine.

More slideshows

SEE COMMENTS →

ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business
ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business