My first Christmas in Europe

[Story to be told before New Year’s Eve]

I decided to spend my very first Christmas in Europe with my close friend’s family who’s now living in Karlsruhe city, Germany following her invitation. She and I shared a lot of childhood memories together in Vietnam and have not seen each other for 3 years since she got married and moved to Germany. On December 24th night, all German returned home to prepare for Christmas’ Eve dinner and their upcoming holiday with their families; and it was also the time when Vietnamese people in Karlsruhe finished their work and gathered together for the year-end reunion in which I was lucky to be invited to join with my friend’s family.

While the local people were celebrating their traditional festival, the Vietnamese got together to celebrate our own Tết eating our traditional food and singing the songs about the spring, Tet, hometown in the way that they always did at our homeland. Selected dishes are typical of traditional Vietnamese Tết with Chưng cake (stuffed sticky rice cake), red sticky rice, bamboo soup, spring rolls, grilled pork, boiled chicken, etc.

Vietnamese dishes

And all the performances throughout the event were prepared carefully in order to bring an amazing night to all guests. I was so surprised when seeing such a wonderful collection of Áo Dài (Vietnamese traditional costume) on the stage that night, then the costumes of Thái ethnic that cute tiny dancers wore which were so hard to be found out of the border of Vietnam. Then it turned out that all the costumes had been handmade by one woman  in a month to prepare the most vivid show to the community. By that way, all Vietnamese kids born in Germany can see the real clothes and colors of their father land and get engaged . Then there’s a little boy singing Vietnamese song without being able to correctly pronounce each word but he tried his best to finish the song, which was so cute and made everybody in the hall moved. A group of elder sisters even though not very young but still did the traditional fan dance very well and enthusiastically.

 

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It was my very first time celebrating Noel and New Year away from home (although a little earlier than our traditional Tết which follows lunar calendar), surrounding by other compatriots. Those feelings were so unique and authentic as before coming there, I just saw those same scenes on TV every Tết time, but at that moment I was part of it in reality. It was simply so touching, warm, indeed made me feel homesick, missing my Tết. It is true that sometimes we have to go far away to remember and treasure what we have!

May a New Year of peace comes to everyone, especially those far away from their homelands!