31st Sea Games - Vietnam 2021 Covid-19 Pandemic
Feb 08, 2021 / 06:44

Tet market in California is bustling with excellent flower and goods stalls

The largest Vietnamese community in California is eagerly preparing to welcome their traditional Tet (Lunar New Year Festival) as the lockdown for Covid-19 in this state has been recently removed.

Lively reunited flower market

On the occasion of Tet, the Vietnamese community in Little Saigon District, Orange County, Southern California, open a flower market outside the Phuoc Loc Tho mall. Both traders and buyers are excited to see the spring and their traditional holiday atmosphere return in the US.

The Ochna flowers and tropical fruits for Vietnamese traditional Tet holidays in the US. 

The atmosphere is very busy in joy as no one expected that they could do it this year. “It is a big surprise for me. Every year, in November, we are ready to open the flower market. This year we were not expecting its opening because we thought it would be impossible due to Covid-19,” said Mr. Minh Tran, owner of Nguyen Hue shop, “about a week ago, we were informed that the flower market is allowed to open we are very happy although we would be much busier.”

Along with fresh flowers as the main product, Tet market in Phuoc Loc Tho mall this year also offers fruits, jam cakes, red envelopes for lucky money for the New Year, calligraphy and handicrafts.

In the section of flower, popular flowers for display during the holiday such as peach, ochna, orchid, daisy are available, reminiscing everyone about the familiar atmosphere of Tet at home.

Another flower shopkeeper, Ms. Anh Le shared his impression on the flower market: “There is neither music nor lion dance, ao dai (traditional dress) show and banh chung (traditional rice cake) packaging competition, so the ambiance seems less animated. However, I can still have a good sale. Everyone keeps a social distance to ensure safety and avoid the spread of disease."

The flower of Vietnamese Tet - the Chrysanthemum could be found in market in the US. Photo: Gia Tuan.

Ms. Katty Dang (from Los Angeles), a visitor at the market, said that she stayed at home from March 2020 until now due to the Covid-19. She thought that she would continue staying home before and during Tet without celebration as well.

But now as the lockdown has been lifted and shops reopen so people can go shopping for Tet, she said “I'm very happy to know that the flower market is open. Today I only take a walk around to enjoy contemplating the flowers. Seeing blossom peach and ochna is also seeing Tet” she said, “I will come back with my daughter to buy some ochna or orchids to relieve my homesick during the New Year Festival.”

Meanwhile, Lion Plaza - a long-standing traditional market of Vietnamese people in San Jose City, is always busy at this time. A lot of people come here for shopping for the Lunar New Year Festival.

Goods are offered in abundance. Since last week, Ms. Mai, a cashier at the plaza said she could not stop counting money. “People fill their trolleys with food, fruit, cake, jam, meat, vegetables and everything. They are so excited to do shopping and everyone wears masks and keeps a  safe distance of two meters,” she said.

The colouful ao dai (Vietnamese traditional dress) is on sale for the special occasion. Photo: Gia Tuan

Meanwhile, in the Little Saigon area, the number of customers going shopping has increased sharply as Tet is closing in fast. The most purchased products are jam, banh chung, gio cha (Vietnamese sausage), salad, ao dai, votive paper, among others.

All shops have reduced inventory amount this year compared to other years, because the Covid-19 pandemic is still evolving seriously in the world and the US.

It is predicted that most Vietnamese families in the US will limit traveling to see each other during this Tet holiday and only pay each other short visits to exchange Tet gifts, these stores focus on making gift baskets to offer them.

Despite the absence of entertainment activities this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the atmosphere at Vietnamese malls and stores now is still lively and representative of Tet.