Inside Out and Back Again

by Thanhhà Lại

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Why did Ha's brothers do things before her in "Inside Out and Back Again"?

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It's the Vietnamese festival of Tet, the first day of the lunar calendar, and Ha is celebrating with her family. It's also Ha's tenth birthday, so there's a double cause for celebration. Ha's family are very traditional and adhere to a number of superstitions that have been passed down from generation to generation. One such superstition stipulates that it's good luck for male feet to step on the floor on the first day of the new year. This means that Ha's brother will do the honors, not her, and this annoys her greatly; it just doesn't seem fair, especially as it's her birthday. But Ha defies tradition in her own little way by putting her toe on the floor while everyone sleeps.

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