Dragons help Biloxi business ring in "Year of the Horse"

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It has been three days of tasty dishes, colorful costumes and well wishes. Sunday wraps up Tet, a celebration of the Vietnamese New Year. One Biloxi business is keeping the tradition alive by ringing in the "Year of the Horse".

The drums signaled the start of the celebration. Then came the ear-splitting burst of firecrackers. Not one, not two but three dragons pranced around before a delighted crowd.

"I loved it. I love the colors. The dragon costumes are fantastic," said Tammy Godard of Biloxi.

The dragon dance has long been a Vietnamese New Year tradition at Le Bakery in east Biloxi.

"The dragon dance is supposed to drive out the bad luck and ills of the past year and bring in the New Year and bring in the good luck," said Sue Nguyen-Torjusen, owner of Le Bakery.

The dragons danced their way inside to bless the business with prosperity. Nguyen-Torjusen talked about a blessing she received this past year, a baby boy she named "Cash".

"Last year, this was the day I announced to the family I was pregnant. So this year he's here. He's almost six months today."

She is hoping the "Year of the Horse" will rein-in even more good fortune. She's trying to share this Asian tradition with the next generation.

"Culturally, I think it's a great thing for them to experience and see."

Two-year-old Abigail Godard was among the onlookers who experienced the Tet festivities for the very first time.

"I want her to know though. I don't want the heritage to be lost. I definitely want my wife to teach my daughter. I may be dumb to it, but I want her to know," said Abigail's dad, Samuel Godard.

"It's always been a Vietnamese tradition for us to start the New Year. It's always fun, exciting," said Tammy Godard, who is of Vietnamese descent.

As part of the Vietnamese New Year tradition, young people give their parents and older relatives gifts like food and drinks. The children receive red envelops filled with money, with hopes that the cash will continue to grow.

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