Saigon Chinese-origin community festival recognized as national cultural heritage

Tet Nguyen Tieu, considered the most important festival of the Vietnamese-Chinese community in Saigon's District 5, has been recognized as national intangible cultural heritage.

saigon chinese-origin community festival recognized as national cultural heritage hinh 0
A street parade during the 2019 Tet Nguyen Tieu festival of the Chinese community in Saigon's Chinatown. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.

The decision was made on February 8 by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, following a proposal made by the city administration last September.

In District 5, home to the largest Vietnamese-Chinese community in the city, Tet Nguyen Tieu is the biggest and most important festival of the year, marking the final day of the traditional Lunar New Year (Tet) celebration. It is observed on the 15th day of the first lunar month, the first Full Moon day of the New Year. 

Lanterns are lit, dumplings made and eaten and residents flock to pagodas with offerings and pray to deities with special incense.

Tet Nguyen Tieu is also the time for the Chinese-Vietnamese community to organize the city's largest street parade, featuring lion dances and performers in costumes accompanied by marching bands. The parade winds its way through main streets in the Cho Lon area, the largest Chinatown in Vietnam that spreads over Districts 5, 6, 10, and 11.

The recognition continues to honor the cultural identity of the Chinese-origin community as an inseparable part of Ho Chi Minh City and recognizes their efforts to keep their long-standing traditions alive, municipal authorities said.

This year, Tet Nguyen Tieu festival, which fell on Saturday (February 8), was cancelled to limit crowds amidst the new coronavirus (nCoV) epidemic.

Vietnam has so far confirmed 13 nCoV infections, including three in HCMC. Three have recovered and been discharged from hospitals.

The global death toll has reached 813, with 811 dying in mainland China, one each in the Philippines and Hong Kong.