Planting rice before Tet

Sau, Planting Rice in Hoi An, Vietnam

Ask him (hus­band) to help plant rice?! He will step on all the rice!!!”

Rice plant­i­ng sea­son in the coun­try­side of Hoi An, Viet­nam. Just before the Viet­namese Lunar New Year (Tet) there was a flur­ry of activ­i­ty to get all of the rice fields plant­ed before they took time off. We met Sáu work­ing hard to get her rice plant­ed and talked with her and her friends for a while, work­ing as the sun went down.

Trinh: Have you pre­pared any­thing for Tet?

Sáu: No Tet. Noth­ing at all. Tet is for young people.

Trinh: You should do at least a lit­tle some­thing for your­self, for Tet. For exam­ple, going to the beau­ty salon. (In Viet­nam it is cus­tom­ary to look your best for Tet.)

Sáu: I can­not do it. Because today I am still work­ing, and tomor­row I will still bend­ing here in the water, plant­i­ng the rice. Today the oth­er women have their nails paint­ed already. But we are still work­ing on the rice field! My nails get paint­ed brown by working!

Trinh: Where is your hus­band? Why don’t you ask him to come here for help?

Sáu: I asked my friends over there for help. They are help­ing to plant the rice. My hus­band is at home. He is a con­struc­tion builder. He is off from work for Tet already. Ask him to plant rice?! He will step on all the rice!!!

Sau, Planting Rice in Hoi An, Vietnam


Plant­i­ng and har­vest­ing rice is typ­i­cal­ly a coop­er­a­tive effort in which the farm­ers will solic­it help from friends. They will in turn return the help in their friend’s rice fields.

Sau and friends planting rice Hoi An, Vietnam

Sáu and friends plant­i­ng rice seedlings as the sun goes down in the coun­try­side of Hoi An, Vietnam.

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