The Vietnamese congregation of First Baptist Church rang in the new year Sunday afternoon at the church’s banquet hall in Gainesville.
“It’s very important to the people,” said Pastor Joe Tu, who oversaw the celebration. “Christmas is the biggest day; New Year’s is the second-biggest day.”
Festivities included eating traditional Vietnamese food, dancing and singing. A traditional Dragon Dance was performed. Some who attended gave money, or “Li Xi,” to the dragon for good luck.
According to Tu, the first day of the new year is a family affair, and “everyone stays with their family.” The reason for this is to bring good luck.
“The family’s ancestors, God and culture connect to the new year (celebration),” he said.
Jennifer Nguyen, a college student, was on hand to celebrate, and she agreed that the festivities are all about family.
“To me, it brings family together,” she said. “This is a day where I can relax and have fun with my family.”