Situation: Matthew is preparing for a party to celebrate New Year’s Eve. While discussing the party with Phuong, a friend visiting from Vietnam, Matthew realizes that his party will be Phuong’s first time celebrating the American New Year.
Matthew: This party is going to be the best ever! I am so glad you came to visit in time to celebrate the New Year with me, Phuong.
Phuong: Thank you for inviting me. I get to celebrate two New Years this year then. My
parents asked me to come back home to celebrate the Vietnamese New Year with them, but that is not until February 7th.
Matthew: Oh, that is right! You and I celebrate New Years at different times! Although the date of the Vietnamese New Year depends on when the new moon rises, Americans celebrate the New Year precisely on January 1st, regardless of whatever phase the moon is currently in.
Phuong: Why are you having the party tonight? Why not wait until tomorrow?
Matthew: Well, don’t you stay up the night before waiting for New Years to start? I remember you telling me awhile ago that you would stay up the night, waiting to set off fireworks with your friends when midnight finally arrives.
Phuong: Yes, we do stay up the night before. It is called Dem Giao Thua.
Matthew: Exactly! So your Dem Giao Thua celebration is exactly like my New Year’s Eve party. Although the party will not be as big as the one in New York, we will still be counting down to midnight.
Phuong: How do you know about a party in New York if you live in California? Were you invited to the party?
Matthew: No, I was not invited to the party exactly. I know about the celebration in New York because it is broadcasted on TV every year. And, everyone is welcome to attend; it is not an exclusive party like the one I am throwing tonight.
Phuong: This party is shown on television? What is so special about it?
Matthew: Well, it is quite a big celebration. Everyone gathers at a traffic intersection in New York called Times Square to watch various musical artists perform as they wait for midnight to come. But everyone’s attention is mainly focused on the Ball.
Phuong: The ball?
Matthew: Yes, there is a very tall pole that stands upright on top of a building overlooking Times Square and at the very last minute before midnight, a large ball slowly slides down the pole. The Ball is made of crystal and electric lights and signifies the New Year. When the Ball
reaches the bottom of the pole precisely at midnight, everyone celebrates the arrival of the New Year.
Phuong: Wow, that all sounds so exciting! I wish I could see the Ball drop. Perhaps I should have gone to New York instead of coming to California to visit you.
Phuong: I am just teasing you, Matthew. I would rather celebrate this New Year with you than a bunch of strangers in New York.
Matthew: Well, I am glad to celebrate New Year with you too, Phuong. And if you really want to see the Ball drop, it is always televised remember? I was planning on turning the TV on before the countdown begins. We can all count down the last minute of this year and watch the
Ball drop together.
Phuong: Awesome! Your New Year customs are so fascinating. I am glad to be here at the