Walk through a bamboo gate to Lunar New Year
TAMPA, Florida – Hahn Ho envelopes yellow Maytree flowers on a large oak branch.
If the May tree cannot bloom for the Lunar New Year, as is the case in Vietnam, the Vietnamese separated from their homeland recreate it.
“So it’s very symbolic for our Lunar New Year to have this type of bloom at this time of year,” Hanh Ho explained.
Ho is part of a stream of volunteer parishioners from the Holy Martyrs Catholic Church of Vietnam, giving her time and energy to make their Lunar New Year event a success.
Another group of parishioners work on a stage under a large tent, and another on a traditional bamboo gate for festival-goers to take pictures and walk through – symbolic of ushering in a new year.
This is a major fundraiser for the parish as they are renovating the church grounds where they moved in 2020.
Renovation of the main church will be completed in March, and parish priest Father Viet Nguyen said this year’s celebration is filled with food, cultural performances and music.
He will help the parish renovate another building on its campus for use as a Sunday school and daycare center for parishioners and their neighbors.
“I am truly blessed,” the father said. Nguyen of his parishioners. “I give thanks to God and I pray for them daily. Be there in all the situations that I can in joy or in pain, whenever they need me, I will be there with them.