Vietnamese New Englanders gather in Boston for Lunar New Year Tết Nguyên Đán Celebration

Thousands of people gathered at Flynn Cruiseport in Boston on February 6 for Tết Nguyên Đán, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. Despite the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Boston’s Vietnamese community came together to celebrate Vietnamese culture, history, art, and cuisine, and to welcome the Year of the Tiger.

Theresa Tran, recent alumna of UMass Boston’s Asian American Studies Program, is Tết in Boston’s sponsorship director. Tran believes Tết unifies the growing Vietnamese community in Boston and helps promote Vietnamese small businesses. Tết draws multi-generational crowds from all across New England to honor this Vietnamese tradition and connect with the community.

“You have the older generation coming in, kind of bringing in their knowledge of how this was celebrated back in Vietnam, and then you have the younger generation that is eager to learn and that wants to do more to be involved and engaged to also kind of hold with that tradition,” Tran shared.

Theresa Tran smiling
Theresa Tran, Tết in Boston’s sponsorship director.

UMass Boston’s UMass Boston’s Institute for Asian American Studies (IAAS) reports demographic data for Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Korean Americans in Massachusetts. Dorchester has the largest Vietnamese population in the state. Little Saigon is Boston’s burgeoning Vietnamese cultural district in Fields Corner.

Many Vietnamese small business owners in Dorchester have struggled to keep their doors open during COVID-19. In 2019, the poverty rate for Vietnamese Bostonians was nearly 15%. The average household income for Vietnamese families is lowest among all of UMass Boston’s reported groups. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated high poverty rates and isolation in the community.

The Fields Corner–Little Saigon neighborhood and community organizations like VietAid have helped to build, strengthen, and engage the Vietnamese community in Boston, especially during these challenging economic times.

Though community connection has been difficult during the pandemic and through myriad economic challenges, Tết in Boston’s Year of the Tiger brought a welcome excitement, positivity, and hope for Vietnamese communities across New England. Read more in The Boston Scope’s feature on Tết in Boston.

UMass Boston’s Asian American Studies Program integrates community-building and advocacy into culturally responsive classroom instruction and mentoring.

Learn more about UMass Boston’s Asian American Studies Program and UMass Boston’s Institute for Asian American Studies, which aims to strengthen and further Asian American involvement in political, economic, social, and cultural life.

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