THE Wanneroo Showground will be abuzz with live music, lion dancers and fireworks next weekend as more than 12,000 people celebrate Vietnamese (Tet) New Year.
The free annual Tet festival, hosted by the Vietnamese Community in Australia WA Chapter, will start on Friday and run through to midnight on Saturday with fireworks lighting up the sky from 8.30pm each night.
WA Chapter president Anh Nguyen, who fled South Vietnam in 1981 with his family, said Tet was the most important cultural event for Vietnamese people that dated back thousands of years.
“It marks the beginning of a new lunar new year, the best time for family members to have a reunion, consolidating family love, wishing best of luck and success to everyone and helping others,” he said.
“Being expatriates Tet New Year celebrations reminds us of unity, collective strength and harmony with other culturally and linguistically diverse communities to help maintaining the Australian multicultural landscape.”
The Vietnamese ex-pat from North Perth remembered the time when there was no cause for celebration as one of the many “boat people” who fled their war-torn country for the chance of a better life without knowing what the journey held.
“The sea journey was quite lucky for me, without pirates or a storm, but five of my in-law family members disappeared on the sea one week after our escape,” the doctor of 27 years said.
“Pirates, storms or the boat sank? No one ever knew how their fate ended.”
With countless stories similar to that of Dr Nguyen’s family, he encouraged people of all ethnicities and cultural backgrounds to come together at the two-day event to celebrate the Vietnamese presents and contribution to WA.
“Gradually this Tet festival is becoming part of the local/state-wide mainstream public gatherings,” he said.
“By joining us in an event like this, the cohesiveness between Vietnamese people and other ethnicities will be enhanced via mutual respect, bonding and support.”
Dr Nguyen said he expected more than 12,000 people to attend the celebrations which would include about 50 food, merchandise, cultural and service stalls; live music, children’s show rides and games, lion dances, firecrackers and 15-minute fireworks displays.
There will also be prizes to be won by visitors who wear Vietnamese traditional dress, ao dai.
Tet New Year
Wanneroo Showground, Wanneroo Road and Ariti Avenue
Friday, February 23 from 5pm-midnight
Saturday, February 24 from 2pm-midnight