Surviving Tết: Luckiest Of the Unlucky

Many moons ago, I lived with a local Vietnamese family and taught English in Ho Chi Minh City. For my first celebration of Tết, I learned a few customs for attracting luck — sweep your room, adorn family altars with fresh fruit, and wear red.

Less clear, however, was what to do when my host mother believed that I was not only unlucky, but a ‘bad omen’.

A dream-like rendering of a photo where two ethnic minority girls ride the back of a buffalo, around the glow of bright pink, oranges and teal.
Two Montagnard girls ride the back of a buffalo. Photographer unknown.