Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has sent an open letter to the local Vietnamese community, wishing them happiness, the best of health and wealth in the Year of the Cat.

He described the Lunar New Year festival (Tet), which marks the overseas Vietnamese custom of family and friend union, as a contribution to Canadian social development.

The Vietnamese population in the North American country is estimated at 260,000 who are living in 10 provinces and three territories and have created a special cultural identity there.

The Vietnamese communities in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, France and Tanzania have also celebrated Tet, enjoying preparation of food specialties such as square sticky rice and art programmes about Vietnam .

The Vietnamese embassies in several countries have taken this opportunity to highlight relations between Vietnam and these countries, to which, ambassadors said, the Vietnamese communities have made considerable contributions./.