Tet Holiday in Viet Nam

What is Tet Holiday – Vietnamese New Year?

Tet Vietnam is celebrated to welcome the Lunar New Year and summarize what they did in the old one. It is considered an important mark for changes, plans, and progress. In addition, Vietnamese people believe that what they do on the first day of the new year will affect their rest. Therefore, they pay great attention to every word they say and everything they do. Furthermore, Tet in Vietnam may be the only occasion for all family members to have happy moments together after a year of hard-working.

A traditional Tet festival in Vietnam often lasts for a month. However, the busy life makes it shorter, even disappears. If you choose a new type of travel like cruising to enjoy multi-culture Lunar New Year, your travel plan should be picked the right countries where people still hold a long festival such as Thailand, China, Taiwan, and Vietnam, which is often a week. Recently, some people express their idea to cancel the Vietnamese New Year and only celebrate the Western New Year. Although it is constructive, Tet holiday will have still been remaining as the vital festival in Vietnam because of its priceless traditions, customs, and meaning.

Vietnamese Lunar New Year is NOT Chinese Lunar New Year

It is absolutely mistaken to say that the Vietnamese are celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year. Although both countries use the lunar calendar, Vietnamese people have different lunar new year customs, celebrations, and traditions from China.

The History of Lunar New Year in Vietnam

According to the historical document, in the thirteenth century, Vietnamese people often celebrated Tet holiday by painting on themselves, drinking traditional glutinous-rice wine, using betel nuts to welcome guests, and eating Chung cake, pickled onions. In the Ly dynasty (1009-1226), many important rituals were made on Tet festival such as setting up a dome to pray for the rains or building communal houses to crave for a year of abundant harvests. In the period of King Le Thanh Tong (1442-1497), Tet was the most important festival and hundreds of mandarins had to gather at the court to celebrate this lunar new year festival with royal families.

The Tet Holiday’s Foods

In the Vietnamese language, to celebrate Tet also means to eat, which affirmed the important role of Vietnam Lunar New Year’s Food. One Vietnamese traditional proverb denotes that you can be hungry all year except three days of Tet festival because dozens of delicious dishes and desserts will be prepared on Lunar New Year in Vietnam to feast the ancestors as well as every family member.

Chung Cake

Chung cake is the traditional cake in Vietnam that only appears on Tet holiday. Tasty and savory Chung cake is made from very familiar ingredients to all Vietnamese such as sticky rice, green beans, and pork, which is wrapped in green leaves and boiled overnight. According to a legend that has been passed on for thousands of generations, Chung cake is the symbol of Earth because it combines all unique ingredients of Vietnamese agriculture. Although nowadays Chung cake can be tasted all seasons, enjoying these cakes at Tet holiday still brings special feelings for Vietnamese people.

Jam – Vietnamese Lunar New Year’s Dessert

Jam is the common snack to welcome guests on Tet holiday. It is mainly made from dried fruits like carrots, coconuts, apples, or some kinds of seeds such as roasted watermelon seeds, sunflower seeds mixed with sugar. The Vietnamese believe eating sweet things on Tet holiday will bring them luck for the Lunar New Year.

Pickled Onions

On Tet holiday, people often eat fat and oiled foods which easily cloys their appetite. This is high time for something with low calories and fresh like pickled onions. Pickled onions help the digestive system digest high protein food more easily. In the minds of Vietnamese people, Tet is only complete when there are fat meat, pickled onions, and red distiches.

Mascots of Tet holiday

Vietnamese Zodiac Signs

Each Lunar New Year will have a symbolic animal. 12 Vietnamese zodiac signs are different from Chinese ones (The fourth zodiac sign in Vietnam is Cat while it is Rabbit in China). Every animal will bring the unique lucky in its year so you can see them everywhere in Vietnam through Tet holiday decorations or advertisement signs. Tet holiday 2021 is the year of the Buffalo.

Trees & Flowers on Tet Holiday

Peach blossom in Northern Vietnam and apricot blossom trees in Southern Vietnam are also symbols that exclusively appear on Tet holiday. The light red of peach blossom will bring the luck while the yellow of apricot blossom will bring the fortune to the owners. It is said that Tet Vietnam will lose itself if missing two of them.

Tray of Five Fruits

This is a tray of five different fruits such as bananas, grapefruits, oranges, and other tropical fruits which are only prepared on the Vietnamese New Year. Although each region chooses different fruits, a tray of five fruits is still used to express the wishes for the Lunar New Year of the host family by their names, colors, and arrangements.

How is Tet Holiday Celebrated?

Before Tet holiday, people clean their houses and decorate them beautifully with kumquat trees, peach blossoms, or apricot blossoms. The streets are also festooned with lightening lanterns and red banner “Chuc Mung Nam Moi” or “Happy Vietnam New Year”. They try to clean and dush-wash everything because the cleaning is believed to erase and sweep away all the dust and bad things that accumulate in the old year. Additionally, everyone has their hair cut, buy new clothes, and bring gifts to their relatives, friends, and supervisors. They spend lots of money to buy all the best things to ensure that they will have a prosperous year. Another vital thing is that all the debts should be paid off or else they will bring bad lucks to the whole new year.

Tat Nien – or the meal in New Year’s Eve is the meal to finish the entire year. There are lots of well-prepared dishes and everyone happily enjoys the meal while talking about good memories and nice things. They have many traditional foods such as Chung Cake (Sticky rice cake), Day cake, pickled onion, pork, beef, sweets, dried fruits, and seeds. After that, people may go out to watch fireworks displayed in the public area or simply stay at home and watch Tao Quan (a very famous TV show in Vietnam that is only broadcasted on the 30th of Lunar December).

During Vietnam New Year, the first guest coming to the house plays an important role because they are believed to hold in their hand all the lucks of the family. Then people visit their grandparents and relatives. The second day is for friends and colleagues and the third day is especially for teachers. In those days, children are given lucky money inside the red envelopes as the red and lucky money are considered good things and may keep children away from the evils. People also go to the pagodas and pray so that they could have a year of prosperity, happiness, and health.

Festivals & Activities after Tet Holiday

Tet Vietnam ends when votive papers are burned and offerings are taken down from the altars to share for every family member. It is the time for people to join in festivals all around the country after Vietnamese Lunar New Year such as buffalo fighting festival or boat racing, wrestling, lion or dragon dances. Festivals will be organized for a month after Tet holiday so you are able to attend and explore them as many as possible.

To talk about Tet Holiday, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year is the priceless value of Vietnam and an indispensable part of the life of all Vietnamese people. Plan Vietnam tours to enjoy Tet holiday and experience unforgettable experiences of Vietnamese cultures, customs, and traditions.

Published at: 07-01-2021
Copyright © 2020 - The Light Travel. All rights reserved.