How Vietnamese women living overseas celebrate traditional Lunar New Year hinh anh 1Nguyen Thi Minh Lien, Director of the Vietnam Export Company in Brussels, and her family. (Photo: VNA) 
Hanoi (VNA) - As the traditional Lunar New Year, Tet, approaches, female Vietnamese entrepreneurs in Belgium often try to arrange their work and time to prepare the things needed for the longest festival, which they consider the most important part of the year for their family.

Director of the Vietnam Export Company (VINAMEX) Nguyen Thi Minh Lien, based in Brussels, is often up to her nose in work, spreading herself between the company; housework; studying European standards; and the operation of the financial and accounting systems of Belgium, as well as the habits and spending levels of customers.

However, she always tries her best to ensure that she is there for a family reunion over Tet as the family turns their heart toward Vietnam, their beloved home country.

Tet is always a sacred anniversary, Lien said, despite having celebrated it in Belgium more than 20 times.

Every year, she and her husband try to arrange their work to take leave on the traditional lunar New Year.

On New Year’s Eve, the whole family visit the church of the Vietnamese community in Brussels and got “Happy New Year” wishes.

On the morning of the New Year Day, they call family in Vietnam to extend New Year wishes to them, despite the distance.

This is a way she teaches her children to turn their hearts to Vietnamese culture. As a result, her sons, 12 and 9, are fluent in Vietnamese, although they were born and educated in Belgium, and they keep in mind that Tet is the most important yearly occasion in their family.

On January 20, the whole of Lien’s family will join their friends, who are former Vietnamese students in Belgium, to make “banh chung’, a must-have food made from sticky rice, pork and green mung bean for the Tet, in Louvain-La-Neuve, about 30km from Brussels.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been ravaging the whole world over the past two years, keeping people from meeting one another. The joint-making of traditional food moved the hearts of the participants and serves as a reminder of the value of love and family reunion.

For Nguyen Thi Minh Thu, the owner of a Spar supermarket in Zonhoven, nearly 200km from Brussels where locals speak the Dutch language and there are very few Asian people, Vietnamese Tet is more sacred than any other.

How Vietnamese women living overseas celebrate traditional Lunar New Year hinh anh 2 Nguyen Thi Minh Thu popularising Vietnam’s specialties for Tet. (Photo: VNA)

Married to a Belgian man, the mother of four daughters is trying to keep Vietnamese practices in her family. In previous years, before the pandemic, her family often visited Vietnam for Tet.

All of her four daughters have a passion for “banh chung” and a good understanding of the Vietnamese tradition of visiting their relatives during the special occasion.

Hoping to popularise her beloved country to locals, Thu keeps a beautiful space in her supermarkets to showcase typical Vietnamese spices and food. Visitors to her supermarket are mainly Belgian and European; that is why she often holds Vietnamese food demonstrations.

Thu also imports many Vietnamese handicraft products and shows her customers how to decorate their houses with them. As a result, locals in her region have developed a taste for Vietnamese products.

How Vietnamese women living overseas celebrate traditional Lunar New Year hinh anh 3Dao Hong Hai, owner of the Hanoi Station restaurant in Brussels. (Photo: VNA).

Dao Hong Hai, the owner of the famous Hanoi Station restaurant chain in Brussels, often has the families of her employees join her in the making of “banh chung” and preparing for the year-end party.

The Year of the Tiger is inching in and Vietnamese entrepreneurs in Belgium are hoping that the pandemic is put under control, so that they and their families can come back to Vietnam and so they can celebrate the traditional Lunar New Year, ensuring that the younger generations understand the customs and practices of Tet and maintain the cultural identities of the Vietnamese people./.