Friends of Hue

University Entrance Exams in Vietnam and “chè đậu đỏ” Superstition

Again, it’s the time of the year when nearly 2 million students have to take tests in the hope of landing only one of 300,000 spots in Universities nationwide. This University Entrance Exam, taking place in the first 10 days of July, dividing into two phases, is one of the most intense exams in Vietnam. Students take an exam in three subjects that are based on their prospective fields of study. The basic groups are in Group A (Maths, Chemistry and Physics), Group B (Maths, Chemistry and Biology), Group C (Literature, History and Geography) and Group D (Literature, Foreign Language and Maths). The pressure is unbearable. This is considered as the test of your life, the fruit you reap after 12 years wearing your pants out on school’s chairs – “mài đũng quần trên ghế nhà trường.” No matter how hard you learn, there are still ways to ease your mind before stepping to this nervous-stressful stage. Here is one of the most common superstitions: Chè Đậu Đỏ.

Chè đậu đỏ

We Vietnamese have a saying “có thờ có thiêng, có kiêng có lành” – which means better safe than sorry. Even most of the students are not supremely superstitious, but they somewhat do believe in this sweet positive superstition, it’s “chè đậu đỏ,” literally translated from Vietnamese as “sweet red bean soup.” If you ever asked any students or their parents, the answer would definitely be this is a “must” try of every student before taking exams or facing challenges. “Đỏ” means ‘red” which symbolizes the luck, “đậu” homonymous with “pass,” therefore this savory dish is gladly eaten with a pocketful of hope.

With such belief, on the day Minh Thanh and Thuy, two of our Shelter children, joined their exams, the shelter’s housemothers had got up early to prepare some “chè đậu đỏ.” This action is not only to secure Thanh’s and Thuy’s anxiety, but also showing the care of the housemothers to their kids. All their hard work plus the joint beliefs from “chè đậu đỏ” paid off as Minh Thanh and Thuy have passed their exams! We are incredibly proud as we’ve “reaped the fruits of our labor.” This upcoming fall, Thanh will enter into University of Fine Arts and Thuy will be part of the University of Economics.

So, JUST bear in mind, no matter what challenge you will take, please have a glass of “chè đậu đỏ,” then the luck will come to you! Good luck to you all next year!

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