VSA rings in Vietnamese New Year

Marlon Pitter

Connector Editor

The UMass Lowell Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) and the Lowell community came together to celebrate Tet in the Cumnock Hall auditorium Saturday afternoon.

The event kicked off the Vietnamese New Year with music and dance performances from both members of the student association and Lowell’s Vietnamese community.

VSA photographer John Tran called the displays “a mix of traditional Vietnamese songs and modern American culture.”

Tran himself was among the student performers. His energy and seamless dance moves ignited the crowd during his dance solo performed to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”

Performers brought their own creative talents to the forefront as well. Moutwei Chap and Vickie Vo teamed up to sing an original acoustic song titled “Numb.”

Kimberly Truong (center) sings "The Star-Spangled Banner" during the opening ceremony of Tet. (Photo by Joe McDonough/Connector)

Kimberly Truong (center) sings “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the opening ceremony of Tet.
(Photo by Joe McDonough/Connector)

Other modern twists included a performance by the hip-hop dance group Rice Paddy Heroes and the Inspirits’ dance performance to “Not About Angels” by indie-pop singer Birdy.

While engaging with a demographic of college students and families with children, the celebration retained a traditional foundation throughout, as most of the songs were sung in Vietnamese. The MCs, too, rarely spoke English during the festivities of Tet.

The Múa Lân (lion dance) started the merrymaking after the opening ceremony, with two pairs of individuals joined together in lion costumes roaming the floor, while the rest of the performances remained onstage.

The event took place two weeks after it was postponed due to snowy conditions on Jan. 24, and it nearly missed another snowstorm.

Viet Le, president of the association, said he was frustrated at first when Tet was originally postponed but also said that it did help in preparation for the event.

Le said he was pleased how well Tet went. He said he was nervous, but “everything went according to plan.”

“Every one of the performances went better than I expected, and it seemed like everyone else was having fun,” said Le.

Le said Tet is one of the largest events in Vietnamese culture. “Vietnamese people have always been celebrating the new year according to the lunar calendar, so it’s a big part of our tradition and culture,” he said.

Integrating the Lowell community is paramount to the annual ceremony, according to Le. He said the organization made admission to the event free this year to “get more members of the community coming in and enjoying Tet.”

“Without them, we wouldn’t be celebrating Tet,” he said.

The future of Tet at UMass Lowell is bright after this event, according to Le, a senior civil engineering major.

“I expect it to be even greater because the new leaders coming up, I see great potential in them, and I’m sure that they can do an even better job than what we did this year,” said Le.

Marlon Pitter is a former editor-in-chief of the UMass Lowell Connector. Hailing from Hartford, Conn., he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in journalism and professional writing and a digital media minor in 2017. Follow him on Twitter @marlonpresents.

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