"Giao thua" is the moment ending an old year and beginning a new year.
"Dem giao thua" is the last night of an old year and after the midnight will be a whole new year.
Like every year, I and my mom spend our Giao thua at Tran Hung Dao temple on Vo Thi Sau Str. of my city. Many people from the North of Vietnam worship the historic general Tran Hung Dao, who is also called "Thanh Tran"(Saint Tran). That explains why many of visitors,like my mom, in this temple are Northern-original.
The layout of the temple has a front yard with a big bronze statue of a powerful commanding Tran Hung Dao at the feet of which are loads of incense (and smoke). At the back of the layout is the temple with the main hall, left wing, right wing and a small space backward. Although called the temple of Tran Hung Dao, it is also the worship place of a buddha and some relics.
At a corner of the front yard is a small temple of Than Tai and Tho Dia. Than Tai is a saint who take care of wealth while Tho Dia is a saint of land managing. These two are usually worshipped together for their importance to people business.
On the right of the front yard is a gallery displaying the history of wars relating to Tran Hung Dao. So disappointed that they have closed the gallery for years.
Young volunteers from the Union of Communist Youth.
They give "loc" for free and people may donate for the charity fund.
"Loc" can be anything that the temple distribute: a small plant (that will simply grow much more when brought home and put into water), a cake or a "Lixi" (red envelope with some money inside)
Because the temple is over-crowded, some people choose to stand outside in the yard to worship.
Some people believe that cutting a branch of any trees in the temple or pagoda and bring home will give them "loc". In fact, that just helps killing the trees. Religiously, I'd rather bring a small plant so that I will grow it. That is the true sign of prosperity.
Some people buy lottery. Yeah I wish I would win billions someday.
After rituals, some people stay at the temple for awhile, calling their beloved families and friends just to say cheerful things. Such a way to begin a Happy New Year!