I don’t know since when lì xì becomes a custom during Tet. Instead of giving children a gift for Lunar New Year, Vietnamese adults give their children or grandchildren or young relatives a red envelop with some money inside
On the first day of Tet, Vietnamese people wake up early, and put on their best clothes to welcome New Year. Children will respectfully fold their arms in front of the chest, facing their parents as well as grandparents, and giving them best wishes. In return, the elderly people praise the children, wishing them best wishes, and giving them a red envelop.
When I was a little girl, I was warned to behave nicely and smile more often during Tet in order to have a lucky year ahead. Like me, other children also tried to be well-behaved so that they are given more red envelops. With the lì xì I got from Tet, I had my mom keep it so that she would buy me new books and clothes for new school year. Normally, my mom put the money in my pig bank, and locked it in our only wardrobe. I broke the pig banks twice a year: before new school year and before Tet . How exciting it was to smash the earth pig bank on the floor. Small notes would be unfold and counted.
With the amount of money we saved, my mom brought me to the market to buy my school things and a set of brand new white and blue uniform. Those were for new school year. For Tet holiday, mom only bought me another set of uniform. In my childhood, it’s normal to wear uniform – a white blouse and dark blue trousers during Tet. As long as, they were new, I found no reason to complain. However, with a lovely daughter like me, my mom sometimes had to stint on her own need to buy me a dress to wear during Tet.
Money, money, money. It’s part of life and also of Tet. Wish that the poor has more money and love to welcome and celebrate the year of buffalo.