“Chuc Mung Nam Moi (or Happy New Year)!” Adults and children alike greeted one another at the annual Vietnamese Lunar New Year Festival, known as “Tet,” during the Feb. 16-17 weekend at Seattle Center.
The Center’s Fisher Pavilion and Armory burst with parades of people walking between activity booths, catching glimpses of Vietnamese food from steaming pots, and swerving around running children clutching their “li xi” red envelopes.
The festival is the undisputed highlight event of the year for the Vietnamese community in Seattle. Over 15,000 people from around the Puget Sound gather to honor the Vietnamese heritage and preserve cultural activities.
“There is a large Vietnamese population [in Seattle], and it would be a shame if we didn’t have this on an annual basis to celebrate such a vibrant culture,” said Kathy Ho, one of the event coordinators. “From food to fashion, from martial arts to musical entertainment, and from red envelopes to dragon dances and fireworks, it’s truly like Christmas, Thanksgiving and western New Year’s all in one!”
Comcast is a proud supporter of the New Year’s event, recognizing that the Vietnamese community–like many other immigrant and ethnic communities–are part of the fabric of Washington State. The event organizers, volunteer-run Tet in Seattle, partnered with Comcast to distribute information about the company’s discounted Internet service eligible for families with children on the National Free and Reduced Lunch Program, called Internet Essentials. Comcast has sponsored a variety of events throughout Washington in support of Internet Essentials. The program is the company’s initiative to bridge the digital divide.
“The Comcast sponsorship of Tet was very ideal,” said Ho. “We had several volunteers passing out Comcast information and at the same time interacting with attendees, which opened up more socializing opportunities for everyone in such a friendly and positive environment. There was no pressure to sell anything–just outreaching and getting to know each other, and that’s a great way to start closing the gap on the digital divide.”