That’s “Happy New Year” in Aulacese! Monday is the start of the Lunar New Year, also known as T?t. Like most holidays, the festivities focus on family and food. Traditionally, plant-based dishes are eaten on the first day of the new year. I recently discussed the significance of this practice with my mother, who grew up in Âu L?c.

At the start of the new year, the custom of abstaining from animal foods, or ?n chay, stands for the renewal of a commitment to peace for the rest of the year. Many people who follow the Buddhist and Cao ?ài traditions in Âu L?c generally wish they could ?n chay for the whole year. Because of the conventionally established meat-eating habits, most often find it difficult to stick to those principles (I personally am puzzled by this because vegan food over there is both cheap and plentiful, compared to Arlington.)

So, the majority of people ?n chay, on the first day of the year at least, to symbolize starting the new year in a nonviolent state, with hopes to practice the plant-based lifestyle more often during the upcoming year. Beginning the new year with this peaceful practice is also said to bring good luck and fortune.

It all makes sense when we consider the negative energies that are manifested when animals are slaughtered. Surely their feelings of fear, betrayal, anger and suffering would affect our being if we consume them. It may sound strange, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who has considered these things.

We know that emotions like anger and stress release toxins in the body — one can imagine the impact on our bodies when we consume these toxins from farm animals, who are stressed for their lives every minute. Abstaining from animal products means rejecting those products of violence which harm both our body and spirit.

AUTHOR'S NOTE

  • About the usage of Âu L?c instead of Vietnam: I believe in the power of language and positivity.

    Âu L?c is the ancient name of the legendary kingdom of the ancestors of Vietnam, and it means happiness.

    As an artistic person, I particularly value the beauty of words. Therefore, in my writing, at least, I prefer to use the historical name Âu L?c, instead of Vietnam.

People from Âu L?c believe that the new year ought to be a celebration of peace, love and life. I hope that this year, more resolutions will be made to make lasting efforts to celebrate these things daily. Applying that attitude everyday of the year would maximize the peace in our lives, as well as our health.

Check back for a resolution post about tips on how to extend this celebration of nonviolence throughout the year.

For now, here is a list of recipes for you to enjoy, including one from my own food blog that I run with my sister.

Bánh Chu?i N??ng | Caramelised Coconut Banana Bread Pudding | Sweet

Bánh Ch?ng | “Earth” Rice Cakes | Version No. 1 | Version No. 2 | Sweet or Savory

Th?t Quay Thu?n Chay | Vegan Roast | Savory

Bánh Tét Ba Màu Chay | Tri-Colored Vietnamese Rice Cakes | Sweet or Savory

Chè ??u Xanh | Coconut Mung Bean Dessert | Sweet

G?i ?u ?? | Green Papaya Salad | Savory

If you don’t feel like cooking, I recommend a visit to D’Vegan, which is, as far as I know, the only authentic Aulacese restaurant in the area that is all vegan. The owner has catered for my family and others in the area for over a decade — Aulacese cuisine is her specialty! In addition to the prerequisite of Ph?, of course, I also recommend the Bùn Bò Hu? and the Bùn Cao L?u.

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