City gears up for more New Year celebrations

At Play Cultural Heart

Adelaide is home to people with connections to places all over the world; many eager to share aspects of their culture with others in the city community – whether through food, music, art, language or customs.

From 25 January to 8 February 2020, millions around the planet, including Adelaide locals, will take part in celebrations for Lunar New Year. This hugely significant cultural event goes by many names: Chunjie or Spring Festival (Chinese), Solnal (Korean), Losar (Tibetan), and Tết (Vietnamese) – and the event is marked in many unique ways.

This year the Adelaide Vietnamese community is bringing its celebrations, in the form of the Adelaide Tết Festival, inside the city limits for the very first time. Yolanda Nguyen – who volunteers as the Head of Marketing and Communications on the Adelaide Tết Festival Organising Committee – tells us what motivated the move and some of the traditions to be shared.

The magic of the New Year – there’s nothing much quite like it. The excitement that ensues once the clock strikes twelve after an almighty countdown, the smiles beaming on the faces of family and friends, and the exhilarating crack, bang and pop of fireworks welcoming a new beginning. For some of us, new year celebrations are only experienced at the bell of midnight on 31 December. But there are many Adelaide-ians out there who celebrate a new year twice a year.

In Vietnam and other parts of Asia, people celebrate Lunar New Year, otherwise known as ‘Tết’ for the Vietnamese. Tết is marked by the lunar calendar (based upon the monthly cycles of the Moon's phases, in contrast to solar calendars), but typically falls around the end of January of a typical calendar year. For the past 39 years, the Vietnamese Community in Australia / SA Chapter Inc (VCA/SA) has hosted a Tết Festival right here in Adelaide, enabling Vietnamese South Australians to celebrate and share their traditional Lunar New Year custom that is rich in both cultural and spiritual values within the Vietnamese and broader Adelaide communities.

The Adelaide Tết Festival has grown into a large community event since its humble beginnings in 1981, and has previously been held in council areas that have a strong Vietnamese presence. However in 2020, VCA/SA is taking the Festival to Bonython Park / Tulya Wardli (Park 27) for the first time, allowing it to be more accessible to the broader Adelaide community. VCA/SA is particularly proud of this initiative because it provides an opportunity for the Vietnamese Community to give back, strive for greater inclusiveness, and share Vietnamese culture with the broader Adelaide community.

This year, the Adelaide Tết Festival will be held on Saturday 1 February (11:00 am to 11:00 pm) and Sunday 2 February (11:00 am to 10:00 pm), and will involve a variety of activities designed to bring together patrons from communities around our state of South Australia, interstate and overseas.

Vietnamese food

The Festival will feature a range of carnival rides, sideshow games and amusements for children of all ages. Patrons will be able to support local Adelaide businesses who will showcase their products and services, and local Vietnamese food vendors will also share their secret family recipes by selling delicious Vietnamese food, drinks and sweet treats – think spring rolls, pork ball skewers, bun bowls, pho (beef noodle soup), Vietnamese iced coffee, and so much more.

For the ultimate chance to unwind, festival visitors are welcome to indulge in a selection of local beer and wine to complement the deliciously tantalising Vietnamese street food on offer. Together, the Adelaide Tết Festival provides South Aussies with an opportunity to support other South Aussies in a celebration of local produce, multiculturalism and unity.

After enjoying a feast of Vietnamese delicacies, patrons are encouraged to watch a range of cultural and diverse performances, with an exciting and varied entertainment program on offer on both Festival days. A stunning fireworks display on the Sunday night is also planned to embrace the spirit of the Lunar New Year and welcome good luck and fortune to all.

VCA/SA is very excited to share the Tết traditions with the Adelaide community, in hope of bringing the happiness, heart and spirit of the New Year to all people, regardless of where they live, and where they come from.

Find out more about the Adelaide Tết Festival – including ticket costs (which range from $3 to $20) and booking details.

Supported by a grant from Multicultural Affairs, Department of the Premier and Cabinet.

Across the city of Adelaide, all sorts of celebrations will take place to mark Lunar New Year. Discover more about Lunar New Year and all the different ways you can get involved locally in 2020.

Article by

Yolanda Nguyen

Yolanda Nguyen

Yolanda volunteers as the Head of Marketing and Communications for the Adelaide Tet Festival. Between baking, playing the piano, and crunching numbers in spreadsheets at work, Yolanda loves going out to explore our wonderful city and all the gems it has to offer.