Just a few decades ago, mut was as integral and indispensable for Tet, the Lunar New Year festival, as the banh chung (square sticky rice cake). The making or even purchasing of the traditional candies were exciting signs that the festival was round the corner. In those days, the vivid colors of the fruit candies were a magical treat for children that only came once a year. Having had to make do with very few snacks the whole year long, children eagerly awaited the arrival of Tet just so they could have the colorful, sugared candies. While adults enjoyed the treats, too, they had added significance. Mut was a special offering made by Vietnamese households to their ancestors every Tet. They were snacks to be served to New Year guests along with green tea. Tasting sweet things on the first day of the Lunar New Year would also sweeten the year with luck and happiness. Hong Van, a 60-year-old resident of Hue Street in Hanoi, said mut Tet was an emotional experience for her as the festival drew near. “Before the country’s doi moi reforms (introduced in 1986), when I was young, mut was something so important that it had to be exchanged for stamps and tickets. “A household would be able to buy one tiny box of mut for Tet. We did not even have enough sugar to… Read full this story
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