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Tet Festival rings in Lunar New Year in San Diego

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Posted at 6:51 PM, Jan 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-28 12:15:05-05

MIRA MESA - Welcome to the Year of the Fire Rooster.

The San Diego Tet Festival will ring in the Lunar New Year this weekend, Jan. 27 - 29, at Mira Mesa Community Park. Admission is free.

Tet is a celebration of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, based on the animal zodiac calendar. This year, the fire rooster, will mark the end of the 12-year cycle.

Perhaps, just as importantly, the festival gives organizers an opportunity to reach out to the Vietnamese population in San Diego.

Jennifer Doan, the co-director of the event's host, VAYA, said the event's purpose is to educate and inspired San Diegan, either of Vietnamese culture or another culture.

"We believe it is important to reach out the Vietnamese community to remind them that it is important to learn about one’s own culture as well as being about to learning about many different cultures," Doan said. "The most important thing we want our attendees to walk away with is the realization of the importance of being open and accepting and having the willingness and passion to learn, step up, and make a difference in the community that one lives in."

The event, which the group said is the largest Vietnamese New Year event in San Diego and the second largest event of its kind in Southern California, will feature cultural singing and dancing, a Miss Vietnam pageant, a break-dancing competition, and more.

Doan said part of the festival's growth has been developing ways to continually reach younger generations.

"We want to try to make our festival attractive to everyone of all ages, background, social status, and so on," Doan said. "And our staff members have mostly consisted of older generations and we only stared recruiting younger generation and this year we definitely have realized ways to bring in the younger generation."

Tami Nguyen, who has served as Miss Vietnam 2016, said she hopes that attendees are inquisitive and embrace the cultural celebration.

"I want to encourage attendees to ask questions about everything," Nguyen said. "Attendees should even ask questions about traditional Vietnamese garments that I will be wearing and other VAYA staff members will have on also."

Nguyen said the Miss Vietnam pageant serves as an extension of the educational opportunities found throughout the festival and as a way to promote cultural pride.

One of Nguyen's favorite aspects about the pageant is how it connects people with Vietnamese culture and gives young women a chance to show their strength and confidence.

"Miss Vietnam really is about strength and proving that women can be beautiful inside and out, as well as be intelligent, and the way Miss Vietnam speaks would prove intelligence," Nguyen said. "These girls took a chance to put themselves out there, and not everyone has the courage to do this.

"I would like everyone to be as supportive to the girls and just really enjoy the show."

More information on the San Diego Tet Festival can be found online.

Year of the Fire Rooster

The rooster sign is regarded as an unlucky one, but those born under it still have desirable characteristics. Those born under the rooster sign are said to be have honest, bright, communicative and ambitious characteristics. 

It's believed that these individuals possess strengths in being independent, capable, warm-hearted, and quick minded, and have weaknesses with patience, narrow-mindedness, and selfishness.

If you base your sign off of the celebrities who share it - yes, some of us do - those born under the rooster share the sign with the likes of Benjamin Franklin, Nancy Reagan, Dolly Parton, ?Michelle Pfeiffer, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Beyonce, Eric Clapton and Yoko Ono.

This year's rooster sign applies to those born from Jan. 28 - Feb. 15, 2018. The next year of the rooster will take place in 2029: the Earth Rooster.