With Lunar New Year a week away, a bustling Vietnam-centric shopping center in Northern Virginia is even busier, as families prepare for days of celebration.
The Eden Center on Wilson Boulevard in Falls Church boasts that it’s the heart and soul of the Vietnamese community on the east coast.
On Saturday, a steady stream of drivers circled the front and rear parking lots of the sprawling shopping center, while on the promenade shoppers hurried from one specialty shop to another.
“This place anchors the Vietnamese community here. Not everyone here can afford to live in Falls Church, but people come from all over all over the place,” said Duc Nguyen, of Fairfax.
“Oh, yes, I’ve been coming here for 40 years … since I was a child all the way till now. So it’s a place with a lot of fond memories … there’s not a lot of places where there’s just concentrated Vietnamese restaurants and … access to grocery stores and food stores and all that stuff. So this place has at all, so it’s really nice,” Tram Ly, from Germantown, said.
Shoppers said they were stocking up for big gatherings when families will welcome the year of the Dragon next weekend. At the Eden Center, there are bakeries, restaurants, gift shops, grocery stores and jewelers.
“Lunar New Year for the Vietnamese community is called Tet. It basically is several weeks worth of celebration. You know, it’s our Thanksgiving, New Year’s, Christmas, all rolled into one,” Nguyen said.
“I have a mother who’s in her late 80s … all of the grandkids are going to converge here from all over the country … as far as California, New York … North Carolina, and they’re going to celebrate with my mom,” Nguyen said.
Ly said there will be about 50 family members gathering together for the new year.
“We’re always excited to gather. This is, outside of Christmas, the one time when the entire family or, extended family gets together,” Ly said.