In Melbourne the suburbs of Richmond, Footscray, Springvale, Sunshine and St Albans have a significant population of Vietnamese-Australians. This community is the fourth largest migrant group in Australia. Though the Vietnamese community gets unfavourable coverage in the popular media due to its criminal gangs and a larger than usual presence in the drug trade in Australia, Vietnamese lunar new year celebrations in Victoria street in Richmond was drawing an altogether different picture of the community.
A cloudy Sunday on a supposedly summer day in Melbourne, with its magical swings in weather, my expectations of a slide show of summer, winter and autumn, all in 24 hours proved to be true. But that was not enough to dampen the spirit of those gathered to pay homage to the most vibrant show of Vietnamese culture and food in Melbourne.
The Victoria Street in Richmond, the inner suburb of Melbourne, otherwise known as the Little Saigon was ready to receive the curious visitors with all its splendour. I considered myself to be lucky to be there but unfortunately I could not see many Indians around, except for a few Sikh guys selling a telecommunication product. Such celebrations offer heaps of opportunities to get to know other cultures and their traditions in a rather jovial way.
On both the sides of the street were many food stalls; though I tried a few delicacies, failed to notice its names. There were games and rides for kids, music and martial arts performances. Vietnamese lunar New Year is the most important celebration for Vietnamese people. It is celebrated on the first day of the first month of the Lunar Calendar. Vietnamese lunar New Year or Tet is the occasion for Vietnamese to express their respect and remembrance for their ancestors.