Prosperous Spring in Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago

For officers, soldiers and people of Truong Sa who first welcome the dawn of the new year, Tet is always full of unforgettable memories, from hardships to beautiful traditions.

Spring always comes early in Truong Sa (Spratly) as it welcomes the first sunrise of the country.

20 years of bearing true faith

It is impossible to tell all the hardships and deprivations that Truong Sa soldiers have to go through when first setting foot on the island.

Prosperous Spring in Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago
Photo: Bao ve phap luat

Welcoming spring on the little island, they carried great responsibilities while standing in the middle of the immense waves. New Year's dishes were humble, just dried rice and shrimp noodles. At night, lying on the bed holding a gun, kneeling on the backpack, they came about singing to each other to forget the intense homesickness.

But absolutely no one was confused, wavering, leaving their positions.

Colonel Truong Ba Son, former deputy head of Da Lat island, recalled the Tet holiday more than twenty years ago. In 1989, more than twenty people together with Son were divided and stationed in 3 groups of islands A, B, and C.

At the end of the year, Tet gifts were transferred from the mainland to the island quite early, but because they didn't last long.

So, the main dish for the holiday was still sea fish.

Fish near these islands are abundant on shoals stretching for kilometers. At low tide, you only need to go for a while to have enough fresh food for regular meals as well as on New Year's Day.

In addition, there is a specialty that is sea cucumber and sea snail. Big sea snails are a delicious delicacy of the island.

Spending Tet holidays away from home, Regiment 83 soldiers had a hard time coping with bare heads and feet kicking against sharp coral stones when building the island. All the islands like Fairy Nu, Son Ca, Sinh Ton, Song Tu ...had marked their footprints

There is no fresh water on the island so every time there is a supply ship, the regiment had to store multiple buckets of water. Freshwater is as precious as pears for soldiers.

On New Year's Day, everyone is excited, especially the young soldiers. The regiment prepares the Tet tray and decorate the altar of the Fatherland. On the afternoon of Tet's Eve, everyone gathered beside a tray of rice with all the flavors of the sea.

On that day, the unit was always in a state of high combat readiness. During New Year's Eve, everyone turned to the radio to listen to the mainland's New Year wishes. The smoke of incense drifted into the space in the midst of the sacred moment, and everyone recalled the sacrifices of their comrades. Waves and waves hit the hut, but the soldiers feel close to home as they are sitting side by side with their new family.

Storm season is life-threatening for soldiers on the island.

Storm Rai (typhoon No. 9) made landfall in the East Sea, sweeping over islands in the Spratlys. The storm has terrifying destructive power in its path seemed to sweep everything away. Big trees were broken, or uprooted; gardens and barns were destroyed.

Prosperous Spring in Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago
The whole island must urgently clean up in time to prepare for Tet. Photo: Bao ve phap luat

Still, the soldiers stay excited about protecting the sea, land, and sky of the homeland. The place is full of sunshine and wind, full of laughter after recovery.

During the day, the sky is clear with immense white clouds, the wind blows strongly, the waves roll and roar against the breakwater, creating columns of dust several meters high. The patrol road walked like in the mist, drizzle in the North.

On the tanned skin, only an innocent smile shone.

The whole island district is filled with a joyful atmosphere. Tet comes, the joyful laughter of the eager children joins with the military to wrap banh chung and decorate to welcome the new year.

Best gifts from the homeland

The mainland always gives the best for Truong Sa, especially during the coming New Year and Spring.

Tet gifts are sweets, sticky rice, pork, dong leaves, bamboo shoots, vermicelli... peach branches, apricot flower, kumquat trees, etc.

Prosperous Spring in Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago
Photo: Tai nguyen va moi truong

Truong Sa has always received a lot of love and attention from the whole country, including Tet gifts from the President, Ministry of Defense, Navy, Navy Region 4 and Khanh Hoa province.

In addition to the essential goods of the army, there are Tet gifts sent to households, pagodas, and teachers living and working on island communes. Ngoc Linh Conservation NFT JSC and East Sea Star Co., Ltd. sent volleyball equipment, football, printing paper, etc. worth VND 45 million (US $ ).

Khanh Hoa Provincial Youth Union sent 21 gifts to the islands worth VND 70 million VND (US $). "Youth for the homeland sea and island" club sent flowers and kumquats. "Love for Hoang Sa - Truong Sa" Club, donate VND 700 million.

And, more than that, there are millions of hearts of people across the country who are always looking forward to day and night, giving the best feelings to the army and people on the Truong Sa island district.

Beautiful customs on the first day of the year

Prosperous Spring in Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago
Photo: Bao ve phap luat

Some of the most unforgettable memories are Tet tray and Tet games. Besides the traditional dishes, there are always seafood dishes prepared in the soldiers' own way. Generous nature has endowed Truong Sa with sea specialties like grouper, tuna, sea cucumber, cuttlefish, squid ... and even hand-made anchovy fish sauce distilled by the soldiers.

On New Year's Day, the unit organizes contests for wrapping banh chung, picking flowers for democracy, playing volleyball, tug of war, human chess, blindfolded and catching ducks... The beautiful tradition never fails to bring laughter, applause, cheers resounding a Spring festival in the middle of the ocean.

On the morning of the first day of the New Year, the sacred flag-raising ceremony took place in the warm sunshine, the Spring wind was filled with the scent of the sea.

The ceremony reminds people to forget the worries and hardships of the old year, immerse in the exciting and joyful atmosphere of the new Spring. The soldiers were together in peace, the temple bell rang in the distance. A warm Tet, closer to the mainland…

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