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January 23, 2004

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Tet ceases public transport, yet after a day one bus leaves for Hanoi and we're on it faster than a little kid can light a firecracker. The New Year celebration continues. People release fish or birds, cover altars with offerings, and give children money in red envelopes - all for good luck. Vietnamese believe that the actions taken during these first days of the year affect life's course in the year ahead.
Take a picture with Santa? on Vietnamese New Year.
The Vietnamese invented water puppetry. Historians claim that rice farmers developed the art in their paddies 1,000 years ago. Since then gala performances moved from the rice fields into Hanoi's famous Water Puppet Theatre. Water enhances drama that involves fishing, dragons, harvesting, a turtle god, and water buffaloes.
Instead of Christmas pines, the Vietnamese decorate homes with kumquat trees to ward off evil spirits.