Monday, February 19, 2007

The Year of the Golden Pig

This is a special year. It's just not the year of the pig but it's THE Year of the Golden Pig according to the Chinese Zodiac. Depending on who you talk to, this only happens every 600 or 60 years (why isn't this definitive?) Babies born this year will experience a prosperous and wealthy life, a golden life. Korea and China are anticipating an increase in birth rate this year. Lucky for my cousin and my two girlfriends who are expecting this Spring!

On the first day of Tet (Lunar New Year), we met the family at the Vietnam Quan Am Temple, the spiritual center of Little Saigon.

Husband honoring my ancestors.

Good Luck, Good Health, Good Prosperity
The "li xi" blessing from the head monk of the temple.

This probably looks rather flippant as the oranges were a blessed gift from the monk but we were just innocently posing for the camera!

The Fortune Sticks game found at most Buddhist temples. Husband was watching the girl next to him so that he could see what to do next. You have numbered sticks in the container, you shake it as you concentrate on a prayer. Then one stick will hopefully jump out onto the ground. You read your number and then go pick up your fortune with the corresponding number. Unfortunately, for Husband, his number was unlucky 13 and his fortune was quite unfortunate!

Not believing that he did it right the first time, Husband went back for a second try. At first, his sticks flew all over the place but he did managed to get them back in. The result? He got number 13 again! Not satisfied with the outcome, once again, he went back for a third try and ended up with number 32 which was as unlucky as 13! What to do? Was this a sign? He said he shouldn't have gone behind Christianity and played with voodoo!

After Temple, we headed to the Tet Festival.
Dried squid is a common Vietnamese carnival snack. I pretty much like everything Vietnamese and am totally open to trying anything and everything but shit, this squid was too intense for my palette. It stank.

A giant Checkers game

A traditional Vietnamese wedding took place at the festival! Such exhibitionists! But it was entertaining to see...

Was glad to see Vietnamese emo/goth/punk kids keeping it real and not totally succumbing to the Forever 21 & Hollister look that was prevalent at the festival.

Yes... I am a winner, every single time...

The two best things in the world... Caramel apple & Viet beauties.

This is the best cake in the world. It's not really a cake in the traditional sense but I don't know what else to call it. This is it, there's nothing else like it anywhere; three different layers of jello topped with a creamy layer of flan. Not too sweet but there's caramel sauce if you need it like me. I LOVE flan and jello and I can't believe someone ingeniously thought of combining these two together... and do they go together oh... so... perfectly... This is a relatively new creation and you can only get it at one special place in Little Saigon...

After dinner at my Uncle's, the "kids" did the customary "Tet" thing and played "bau cua ca cop," a gambling game using three dice. It's similar to the English Crown and Anchor dice game. We all really got into it. I'm not into gambling but once I started, I almost couldn't stop... but i did...

Chuc Mung Nam Moi!