Jennifer Brinker is a reporter for the St. Louis reviews & Catholic St. Louis.Beats: Life issues, Young adult và youth ministries, liturgies and devotionsGeographic areas covered: Parishes & schools in the North City, North County, West County and St. Charles Deaneries.

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Van Ngo doesn"t have many stories to lớn nội dung from Lunar New Year celebrations growing up in Vietnam. Her family was poor, và her father died when she was young. When her mother remarried, she helped care for her siblings.

For her, the Lunar New Year — a national holiday và major celebration in Vietphái mạnh và other Asian countries — wasn"t celebrated with much fanfare.

That was many moons ago, but now the Vietnamese New Year evokes a feeling of happiness for Van, because of her sense of freedom living in the United States for several decades.

Her friover Sister Mary Thuy Nguyen of the Lovers of the Holy Cross translated for her: "Even though she come here, she misses her hometown in Vietnam giới. But she loves it here because she has freedom lớn talk, and freedom lớn pray & freedom lớn work."

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Father John Luu, SVD held up some “lucky money” during his homily celebrating the Vietnamese New Year. The Vietnamese community at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in south St. Louis celebrated New Year together on Feb. 11, 2018. Mass was celebrated và then a gathering took place that included performances and food. Pholớn Credits: Lisa JohnstonTết, which is short for Tết Nguim Đán, or "Feast of the First Morning of the First Day," celebrates the arrival of spring, và is based on the Vietnamese lunisolar calendar. Although it"s a national holiday in Vietnam giới, each region & faith tradition has its own customs.

Van và her husb&, Quy Tran, live with their adult daughter, Chi Tran, son-in-law and two granddaughters in a three-story home in south St. Louis. Chi & her family joined several hundred Vietnamese Catholics for a celebration of Tết, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, at Resurrection Church in south St. Louis.

Because the actual New Year falls on Feb. 16 — the first Friday in Lent — the parish moved the festivities to lớn the weekend before. They began with a Mass on Feb. 11, followed by a celebration in the parish hall with music, Long dancing và a luncheon with traditional Vietnamese fare.

For Vietnamese Catholics, this is a time to give thanks khổng lồ God for everything they"ve sầu received in the previous year, & lớn pray for blessings in the new year. At the end of Mass, parishioners received paper scrolls with different Scripture messages to inspire them in the new year.

Trust in God during the challenging times was a key message Father John Luu, SVD, mentioned in the homily. Sister Mary translated: "When we trust in God"s love sầu, we can overcome anything."

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As part of Resurrection of Our Lord Parish’s celebration of the Lunar New Year, a gathering after Mass included a dragon dance in which performers are hidden under the guise of a “Mua Lan,” a cross between a lion and a rồng. At the over of the dance, a confetti cannon shot out a surprise.Photo Credits: Lisa JohnstonFamily is another important theme. In Vietphái nam, people generally take off from work and school for an extended period to spkết thúc time together as a family. Families typically spend three days visiting with one another — the first day, children visit their parents; the second day, they visit with other relatives & friends; & on the third day, they visit with teachers.

Father John also noted in the homily a message of seeking forgiveness with family. Sister Mary explained that people are encouraged to lớn leave sầu their wrongs in the past and to lớn start anew. "When we begin the new year, we try to make good behavior. We thank God for forgiveness, for everything."

At home, Catholic families will decorate và erect a shrine with religious images. An offering of traditional Vietnamese treats is phối out, including bánh bác bỏ, a sticky rice cake wrapped in bamboo leaves, fruit, candied fruits và melon seeds. Adults typically give sầu children red envelopes filled with small amounts of cash, called "lucky money," và in turn the recipient offers a good wish for the new year.

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For Chi Tran, the new year "is a new beginning for planning and working," she said. "Everyone is happy."

As she shared her thoughts, her frikết thúc Tri Luu passed by & offered her a lucky money envelope. "Oh lucky! Thank you," Chi giggled.

While some cultural celebrations have become Americanized, it is still an important tradition và done out of respect for older generations, said Nick Nguyen, who came lớn the United States when he was 11.

Now as a father, Nguyen said he is happy to lớn share that tradition with his young family. The Catholic connection makes it all the more important. His family will spend time reflecting on the Scripture message they received. "The one I got said something lượt thích, "Jesus said if you ask in My name, I will give khổng lồ you.""

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Van Ngo, right, welcomed Sister Mary Thuy from the Lovers of the Holy Cross religious community to lớn her home page for tea and Lunar New Year’s food.Photo Credits: Lisa JohnstonSister Gwen Do of the Congregation of Mary, Queen of the World, another community of Vietnamese women religious who minister in St. Louis, said, "what brings the greatest joy is the ability to lớn bring a community together in celebration of the culture, of the heritage, of every aspect of being part of the Vietnamese community."

Vietnamese Lunar New Year (Tết)

New Year scripture message: Vietnamese Catholics traditionally receive sầu a paper scroll with a Scripture message lớn reflect upon in the new year. Sometimes families display the Scripture passage on the family shrine as a reminder.

Dragon or lion dancing: New year celebrations often include the traditional rồng nhảy đầm. It"s said khổng lồ bring good luck. There are several variations of dragon or lion khiêu vũ in Asian culture, including the múa lân; a lan is a cross between lion & Long & a symbol of strength that scared away evil spirits.

Bàn thờ: This is a family shrine erected in the trang chính during during Tết. Typically a Catholic family will include statues, images & other symbols of the faith, candles, incense, & food items, such as bánh bác (sticky rice cake), fruit, candied fruits và melon seeds.

Bánh chưng: Also known as sticky rice cake, this is a traditional Vietnamese rice cake made from gelatinous rice, mung beans & pork. It is wrapped in green bamboo or banamãng cầu leaves in a square shape.

Lucky money: Red envelopes with small amounts of cash are typically given by the elders khổng lồ young children, in exchange for good wishes for the new year.

Resurrection Parish

Founded in 1930, Resurrection has served the Vietnamese Catholic community in the archdiocese since 2005. Previously, the community was centered at the now closed St. Thomas of Aquin Church. In 2012, Resurrection welcomed the Lovers of the Holy Cross, a community of women religious from Phat Diem, Vietphái mạnh.

For more than 250 years, the Church in Vietnam giới has experienced suffering in many ways, from a Communist-led government lớn times of war. The Catholic population there is only about 7 percent; the country primarily practices Buddhism.