HCM CITY — Many fishermen will be unable to celebrate Lunar New Year next week on land with their families because the new fishing season has just started.
|Fishing boats harbour off the coast of Song Doc Town, Tran Van Thoi District, Ca Mau Province. Many fishermen will not get the luxury of celebrating the Lunar New Year on dry land. — VNA/VNS Photo Le Huy Hai
Vung Tau's Ben Da and Ben Dinh ports are seeing a flurry of activity, with fishing ships arriving and departing in a rush.
Many have returned after long trips at sea in time for the Lunar New Year, but many others have just left shore.
Vung Tau is where fishermen from around Viet Nam, especially the central region, gather to put out to sea in a region stretching from Con Dao to the waters just off neighbouring countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
It is the main season for catching octopus, with fishing trips taking around a month.
Dinh Thi Kim Hoa from the central province of Binh Dinh has brought everything for her husband, a fisherman, including square cakes, candies, beer, votive papers, and incense sticks, to worship while at sea.
Dinh, her husband, has spent 30 years at sea, including more than 10 Tet festivals.
"We prepare very well for New Year's Eve though we work on Tet," Dinh said.
Many wives from other provinces arrive here before New Year to meet their husbands before they leave for the sea.
"We feel so lonely at sea during Tet," Phuong, who has celebrated six Tets at sea, said.
"At that time, we miss our family, our children, our houses."
A trip during Tet could fetch each man VND3-6 million (US$150-300) but since the weather is usually severe in winter, they sometimes end up with only VND1-2 million ($47-$95), just enough for travelling back home once they reach land.
Before leaving for sea, most fishermen cook a giant meal to pray believing that the God of the Sea will bless them.
Fishermen go to the sea based on the lunar calendar, leaving shore when they see the full moon and returning by the next full moon day.
In Viet Nam, many spend 11 months at sea and only one month on shore. — VNS