By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
Tran thought that she and her boyfriend, Bao Mai, would just be playing pretend in the mock traditional Vietnamese wedding ceremony, a part of the Tet Festival that took place over the weekend.
However, during the “wedding” ceremony, Mai surprised Tran by getting down on one knee and asking her to marry him.
Much later, in a real wedding, of course.
“I was pretty surprised,” said Tran as Mai stood by, smiling, “I didn’t know he was going to do that.”
The 31st annual Tet festival took place in Garden Grove Park over the weekend, marking the Lunar New Year. This year is the year of the Water Dragon, thought to a prosperous symbol of the time to come.
Mai and Tran participated in the ceremony, which held at the festival’s cultural village.
The village area hosts traditional activities and displays so that Vietnamese history can be passed down to younger generations or viewed by other cultures.
“Ceremonies for weddings are held in the spring, because the harvest is done, the weather is nice and it is a time to celebrate,” said Luong Tran, “wedding party” member, “this wedding is staged to remind young people of what is was like back in Vietnam.”
The Tet Festival is put on by the Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of Southern California.
According to event Chair Victor Lieu, around 700 students volunteered to run the festival, from taking tickets to doling out snacks.
“I don’t know how many hours have been put into this,” said Lieu, “I mean, for each person? Maybe the grand total is a few thousand.”
This year’s festival also had a human Chinese Chess game, where actors or volunteers were the games pieces, moved by players seated high above in lifeguard chairs.
Hieu Pham, of Boy Scout troop 997, was part of the chess board.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before, not even when I went to Vietnam,” said Pham.
Most of the Boy Scouts admitted that they did not play much chess, Chinese or otherwise.
“I’m just excited to be volunteering,” said Andy Pham.