Vietnam celebrating Year of Cat

This photograph shows people eating ice cream next to a large cat statue at an ice cream shop in Hanoi, ahead of the lunar new year. – AFP photos

HANOI, Vietnam (AFP) — As China gears up to welcome the Year of the Rabbit, Lunar New Year looks slightly different in Vietnam, where the Year of the Cat is about to begin.

Across the country, streets are decked out with statues of felines and shops are stocked full of cat-themed decorations, popular gifts during Vietnamese New Year, known as Tet.

Vietnam and neighboring China share 10 of the zodiac calendar’s 12 signs — the rat, tiger, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
But the Vietnamese honor the cat instead of the rabbit, and the buffalo instead of the ox.

There are a host of theories to explain why the Vietnamese plumped for the cat.

Nguyen Hieu Tin, an expert on traditional Vietnamese culture, said the answer may lie in the rice fields prized by farmers.

“Rice is a huge part of Vietnam’s agriculture, but with the threat of many rats in the fields, the cats (which can hunt them) are a popular animal for the Vietnamese,” he told AFP.

“Another explanation is that the Vietnamese don’t want to observe two years with a similar animal. They see the mouse and the rabbit as being closely linked,” Tin said.

There is also a theory that the Vietnamese made their own interpretation of the Chinese word for rabbit, “mao.” In Vietnamese, this sounds like “meo,” which means cat.


Read more Daily Tribune stories at: https://tribune.net.ph/

Follow us on social media
Facebook: @tribunephl
Youtube: TribuneNow
Twitter: @tribunephl
Instagram: @tribunephl
TikTok: @dailytribuneofficial