Planning around the Cat
Vietnam remains to be the most significant source for pepper, therefore planning around Lunar New Year and the TET festival remains important.
TET festival will start January 22nd 2023 (Holiday January 21-26 officially); we consider Vietnam more or less closed during 15 Jan-Feb 5th.
2023 will be the year of the Cat in Vietnam, but in China it is the year of the Rabbit. New Year is celebrated on the same date in both China and Vietnam. In China, it is called Chinese New Year and in Vietnam, it is typically celebrated as Lunar New Year.
How the Cat managed to replace the Rabbit in Vietnam’s Chinese zodiac remains unclear. In both the Chinese and Vietnamese zodiacs there are 12 animals, and the 4th animal is the Rabbit, in the Vietnamese zodiac the 4th position is occupied by the Cat.
In China, the story says that the Buddha invited the animals to participate in a river race, and the first 12 to reach the shore will appear in the Chinese zodiac. The cat and the rat, who were close friends at the time, decided to walk on the back of a bowl because they couldn’t swim. But as they approached the finish line, the rat pushed the cat into the water – and so the rat won, making the cat and the rat enemies ever since.
In Vietnam the story is different. Emperor Jade, a Taoist god, organized the race. During the race, the cat is the one who won his place among the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. Another explanation would be that most Vietnamese people are farmers, and the rabbit has nothing to do with Vietnamese farmers. Instead, the cat has always been a good friend to farmers, trying to kill the rats that threaten their crops.
At the same time, the Vietnamese year of the Cat also symbolizes tenderness, gentleness, and kindness.