In the Vietnamese language one word can have several different meanings. For the Lunar New Year (Tet) many Vietnamese put together a grouping of fruit where the name of the fruit is the same as another word, thereby forming a message.
This is my ‘Tet Fruit Message‘ that our guide Phuoc put together for me: ‘Pray‘ for a ‘Medium-Enough‘ (Happy Medium) ‘Reunion‘. Essentially I’m hoping for lots of get-togethers with friends and family in lunar 2014, which starts today, January 31st!
The soursop, known as ‘Cau’ symbolizes ‘Pray’. The coconut, known as ‘Dua’ symbolizes ‘Middle’ or ‘Medium’. The papaya, known as ‘Du’ symbolizes ‘Enough’.
Phuoc didn’t know the name of this fruit in English but in Vietnamese it is called ‘Sung’, which is also the word for ‘Reunion’. The way these fruit gather up and down the tree trunk kind of looks like a grand family reunion, doesn’t it?
Another popular fruit for a New Year’s message is ‘Xoài’ or Mango. Here they are fudging it a bit, for ‘Xoài’ sounds a bit like ‘Sai’, which symbolizes ‘Wealth’. And mangos are golden, a reinforcement of the wealth theme: Cau-Dua-Du-Sai (without all those accents that make Vietnamese the language that it is).
Tất cả các tốt nhất cho bạn và của bạn!
- The Vietnamese also put out ‘flower’ messages – from Baohouse.net comes this interesting post on the significance of the flowers chosen to celebrate Tet: Vietnamese New Year Flowers.
- The New Year’s Celebrations in Saigon.
- More on our December 2013 trip to Vietnam.
Do they put the fruit together and display it around their house or on an altar?
I think they put it on an altar – almost every home has an altar (or three) where they can put displays. They also add a vase with some branches of ‘gold’ flowers and pink flowers but I was unable to get the names of the flowers in English.
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