Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Chúc Mừng Năm Mới! (Happy Lunar New Year!) and Singapore

Tết or Vietnamese New Year, is the most important celebration of Vietnamese culture. The word is a shortened form of Tết Nguyên Đán "Feast of the First Morning of the First Day". Tết celebrates the arrival of spring based on the Vietnamese variation of the Chinese lunar calendar.  Tết is celebrated on the same day as Chinese New Year.  It takes place from the first day of the first month of the Vietnamese calendar (around late January or early February) until at least the third day. Many Vietnamese people prepare for Tết by cooking special holiday foods and cleaning the house. There are a lot of customs practiced during Tết, such as visiting a person's house on the first day of the new year, ancestral worshiping, wishing New Year's greetings, giving lucky money to children and elderly people, and opening a shop.  Tết is also an occasion for family reunions. During Tết, Vietnamese visit their relatives and temples, forgetting about the troubles of the past year and hoping for a better upcoming year. They consider Tết to be the first day of spring and the festival is often called Hội xuân (spring festival).

While everyone in Hanoi was preparing for Tet, all I could think about was upcoming ten day holiday vacation that was scheduled from school.  During Tet, the city shuts down almost completely as the locals celebrate the New Year with their family and friends.  Well...when you live in Southeast Asia and school is closed for 10 days...what's a girl to do, but travel!  So it was off to Singapore with Penny, Rob, Perrine and Daniel for a week of sunshine and adventure.  

Singapore was absolutely awesome and definitely my kind of city (clean, modern and organized).  Here are some pictures from our trip.  Enjoy! 

Shopping on Orchard Road is amazing!  Every store imaginable!

The view from the catwalk at The SuperTree Park at the Gardens by the Bay.  These 16-story-tall vertical gardens collect rainwater and generate solar power.  You can see Marina Bay Sands, the conservatory and the Singapore Flyer in the background. 

                          It was super windy, but the view was amazing! 
                               Beautiful dragonfly statues in the lake
This was an awesome statue at the Gardens by the Bay entitled "Planet" by sculptor Marc Quinn.  White painted bronze and stainless steel and depicting a gigantic sleeping baby based on Quinn’s own son, the entire seven-ton sculpture balances on one arm, with the body and legs floating in the air. 

                                       The Super Trees at night

The Singapore Flyer is the world’s largest observation wheel. Standing at a stunning 541 ft from the ground, the Flyer  is an great way to get a panoramic view of  Marina Bay, the island and beyond.

                               Sunset from atop the Singapore Flyer. 
                            What a beautiful view it was from the top!

 A tour through Little India was filled with beautiful buildings and bustling with culture.
                We passed the Mosque just as prayer time was beginning.
                                             The streets of Little India

Marina Bay Sands stands 679 feet tall overlooking the Singapore skyline.  The mixed use space houses shops, a casino, 2,561 hotel rooms and several restaurants high atop the 57 story structure.  Opened in 2011, Marina Bay Sands is an impressive addition to the city skyline. 

 The view from the rooftop deck bar looking across at the infinity pool. 

Drinks on the rooftop with Daniel, Penny, Perrine and Rob.  The view and the experience were worth every penny.

It was an awesome trip!  

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