Rosa Parks celebrates Tet

Rosa Parks students perform Vietnamese dances for their classmates

Rosa Parks students perform Vietnamese dances for their classmates

Hundreds of students and other City Heights residents welcomed the Year of the Snake during a Feb. 14 Tet celebration at Rosa Parks Elementary School.

Lunar calendar years are represented by 12 zodiac animals which rotate through 12-year periods. While some follow these traditions for fun, others make life decisions based on what the year is predicted to bring. For residents who subscribe to lunar calendar teachings, those born between the Vietnamese New Year (called Tet) on Feb. 10, 2013, and following New Year will have certain strengths and weaknesses associated with the snake.

Tet is by far the most important holiday in Vietnamese culture. Every year is seen as a clean slate and an opportunity for people to be more successful than the year before. Some people renovate their homes, buy new clothes, or look for new businesses opportunities leading up to Tet.

The Rosa Parks Parent Center and Vietnamese Parent Association have hosted a Tet celebration on the campus of Rosa Parks since its opening 16 years ago. This year, residents from all over City Heights came to campus to celebrate, including even those without children at the school.

“It’s important to pass Vietnamese traditions and culture on to the next generation,” explained Thu Tong, president of the Vietnamese Parent Association.

The traditions are supported and celebrated by students and faculty of all cultural backgrounds at Rosa Parks, with everyone participating in a school-wide assembly. Children with ethnic backgrounds from Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and the United States made dragon and snake costumes, waived Vietnamese flags, and danced to authentic Vietnamese songs.

This spirit of cooperation will return when the Latino Parent Association hosts Mexican Independence Day in May.