#ExploreVietnam

All About Lunar New Year In Vietnam

Tet Holiday decorations

Lunar New Year is a time for families to get together and celebrate the start of a new year. It is considered the most significant holiday in the majority of Asian countries. Thus, are you aware of what to expect this year around for the Lunar New Year in Vietnam? Let's explore! 

The meanings of Tet 

While the exact origins and comprehensive history of Tet remain a source of fascination, the prevailing belief is deeply rooted in the rich history of Vietnamese tradition. Legends such as "Bánh Chưng Bánh Dày" depict Tet celebrations from the Hung Kings' reign, before northern colonization. Ancient Chinese scriptures support this, describing Tet as a joyful festival highlighted by singing, dancing, and eating.

Tet is more than just a celebration for the Vietnamese people. It embodies fundamentally spiritual ideals and develops strong emotional connections, thus cementing its status as a beloved tradition. Tet is more than just a calendar event; it represents the complicated relationship between heaven, earth, humanity, and the divine. It is a time for families to reconcile, hearts to heal, and spirits to rise. As the old year ends and the new one begins, Tet transforms into a hallowed venue for Vietnamese people to express their innermost wishes for good health, abundance, and harmony.

This beloved holiday also serves as a powerful reminder of one's roots and the lasting value of tradition. It instills an attitude of reconciliation, promoting harmony and resolving problems within communities. Tet is essentially a monument to the Vietnamese character, providing a unique time for rebirth, introspection, and celebration of life.

Traditional Tet in Vietnam

How do people wish Tet holiday in Vietnamese? 

Vietnamese people frequently wish each other well during Tet in terms of their health, careers, and riches. Another exquisite aspect of Vietnamese culture that has been passed down through the generations is this.
Popular wishes during lunar new year in Vietnam
In Vietnam, family members, close friends, and neighbors share wishes for good health, prosperity, happiness, and good fortune during the Tet celebration. In Vietnamese, "Happy new year" is most usually expressed as "Chúc mừng năm mới." Furthermore, the following wishes are frequently used by Vietnamese people; you could be referring to:
Vạn sự như ý:  Everything in the new year will go smoothly, without any obstacles.
An khang thịnh vượng: Wishing you peace, health, promotion, and wealth
Công thành danh toại: Wishing your career always as favorable as what you want
Phát tài phát lộc: Wish someone would be rich and prosperous in the new year
Tiền vô như nước: Money and possessions are always abundant and full.
Dồi dào sức khỏe: Wishing someone always healthy, free from disease, and illness.
Sống lâu trăm tuổi: This sentence often wishes for the elderly, wish them a long, long life.
Hay ăn chóng lớn: Wish the children eat well and grow up quickly

Wishes for good health, prosperity and lucky

Popular dishes during Tet holidays in Vietnam

There are numerous meals in Vietnam that, when their names are mentioned, express memories of Tet. Naturally, it's not because the ingredients are pricey or difficult to find—rather, it's just that particular recipes, when eaten during Tet, will make you feel the most fulfilled. These are some of the most well-known meals to taste during Tet in the spring: 

Bánh chưng (Chung cake)

Every Vietnamese family considers banh chung to be the most important dish during the Tet festival. Glutinous rice, green beans, and pork are the key constituents of Chung cake. Banh chung is wrapped in dong, or banana leaves, which are widely available in Vietnam and add a stunning green hue to the dish. The fact that chung cake is easily kept for an extended period of time in Vietnam's winter climate is a bonus.

Banh Chung

Thịt kho hột vịt (Braised Pork Belly with Duck Egg)

Although this meal is more well-liked in the South than the North, it is nevertheless undoubtedly associated with the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. Pork and eggs are the two primary components, and they are cooked together with coconut milk and fish sauce until the meat is tender and equally absorbed. This results in a flavorful dish that is sure to please even the pickiest eater.

Braised Pork Belly with Duck Egg

Mứt (Jams)

Although jam isn't a savory dish that goes alongside every meal, it's a kind gesture to offer visitors on times like this one. Tet jam comes in a variety of flavors because it is made with so many different ingredients. Among the most popular are ginger jam, carrot jam, coconut jam, pumpkin jam, lotus seed jam, and so on.

Popular jams On Tet Holiday

 

Xôi (Sticky rice)

Sticky rice is an essential part of the Tet holiday in Vietnam, along with Chung cake. People in Vietnam eat a variety of sticky rice dishes, such as sticky rice with green beans, peanuts, and sweet gourd (gac fruit), during the Tet celebration. Gac sticky rice is favored by many because to its crimson hue, which in Vietnamese tradition is said to signify luck and prosperity.

Sticky Rice with peanuts

 

Nem rán (Fried spring rolls)

This dish is regarded as the most sophisticated yet well-liked dish because it calls for a multitude of elements. Depending on the tastes of each family, traditional fried spring rolls may contain vermicelli, wood ear, carrots, pork, and green bean sprouts. This meal is even more enticing than it was before—fried spring rolls are wrapped in rice paper and cooked.

Fried spring rolls

Gà luộc (Boiled chicken)

In Vietnamese culture, chicken represents wealth and good fortune at the beginning of the year. Typically, boiled chicken is made by cleaning fresh chicken and adding spices like star anise, navigator, and ginger to a boiling pot. Boiled chicken is served with lemon, salt, and pepper to enhance flavor.

Tet meals

Traditional customs during Tet holiday in Vietnam

Vietnamese people have always believed in the idea of "pray for holiness." Be patient for good," therefore Vietnamese people continue to follow these customs despite the passage of many generations. Customs from the past serve as a way to wish people a prosperous and joyous new year. The following long-standing traditions that are still held dear during the Tet holiday in Vietnam are listed:
Giving lucky money (Tặng lì xì)
We refer to this tradition as "mừng tuổi." This could be the children's favorite Lunar New Year tradition. Adults in the home will give children red envelopes stuffed with cash. The luck that the giver wishes to bestow upon the receiver is symbolized by these crimson packets. Children will thank elders with several desires before they receive lucky money.

Lucky money

Become the first guest (Xông đất)

The first individual to visit a home during Tet will be asked by the host to bring luck to the family for the entire year, as the Vietnamese believe that the luck of a family is determined by the first guest they receive in a year. This is known as "xông đất" hoặc “xông nhà,” and it is a significant Lunar New Year rite for any household.

An individual who possesses kindness, virtue, and prosperity will typically be invited into the house first and be considered a favorable omen for the owner. 
The main event of the Vietnamese festival is the beloved custom of visiting family and friends. Traveling to see their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, families frequently bring gifts and customary dishes like Bánh Chưng and Bánh Tét. Laughter, deep conversation, and blessings for good health, happiness, and prosperity in the upcoming year are all part of these visits. Elders give children lucky money in red envelopes, which represent good fortune and a promising future.

First guest of the year

 

Cleaning the house

The days before Tet are spent cleaning the house by Vietnamese families as part of a custom. Cleaning out all the bad stuff and bad luck from the past year and beautifying the house to welcome new and better luck in the upcoming year is comparable to this action.

Cleaning the house

Before New Year’s Eve meal (Cúng Tất niên)

After everyone has finished their job for the year, the year-end feast is typically served in the afternoon on December 30. During this time, every Vietnamese family will cook a dinner in honor of their ancestors, and everyone will assemble around the tray to eat. Traditional Tet fare like banh chung, boiling chicken, fried spring rolls, etc. are also served at the year-end feast.

Year-end feast

Tet market

Tet market brings together many traditional cultural aspects of Vietnam. Each place has its own distinctive features. That cultural attribute can be seen in the way people go to the market, in the items, and in the minds of those who go to the market.

Cherry Blossom Tet MarketAbove all, going to the market allows you to observe the intimacy, gentleness, sincerity, and simplicity of both the seller and the buyer. 

Tet Market

Decorating the house during lunar new year in Vietnam

During the Tet festival in Vietnam, peach or apricot blossoms will be used to adorn every house. Aside from these two blossoms, kumquat trees are widely employed for home décor during the Lunar New Year. The family's aspirations for abundance in the upcoming year are symbolized by the vivid yellow, pink, and orange trees.

Before decorating the house for Tet

The year 2023 is drawing to an end, and 2024 is drawing near quickly. Have you discovered a wealth of fascinating and practical Vietnamese information in the past year? If you get the chance to spend the Lunar New Year in Vietnam this year or in the future, don't forget to read our post from today to have a full Tet celebration—a “Vietnamese” Tet holiday!  

Tet decoration

Ask for Calligraphic Words

During the Tet celebration in Vietnam, locals practice a charming tradition of seeking "Calligraphic Words," or "Chữ Thư Pháp," as their wishes for the new year. These words, precisely handwritten by professional calligraphers on red paper, have significant meanings and desires for good fortune, health, and success in the next year.

Seeking "Calligraphic Words"

Popular calligraphic terms include "Phúc" (happiness), "Lộc" (prosperity), "Thọ" (longevity), "An Khang Thịnh Vượng" (peace and prosperity), and "Vạn Sự Như Ý" (may all your wishes come true). These statements are then posted prominently in homes and workplaces, providing as daily reminders of the goals and dreams for the coming year.

Ask for Calligraphic Words
Go to The Pagoda and Temple

During Tet, Vietnamese people commonly visit pagodas and temples to seek blessings, express gratitude, and establish community relationships. These sites' calm ambiance allows for introspection and renewal, while the vivid decorations and traditional ceremonies offer a distinct cultural experience.

Offering fruits, flowers, and incense to gods and ancestors is a common way for people to thank them for previous favors and ask for continuous protection in the upcoming year. The community ambiance of these sites promotes relationships between families and friends, and they pray for themselves and their loved ones to have peace, health, prosperity, and success. A key component of the Vietnamese Tet celebration, this is a time for spiritual rebirth, asking for favors, expressing thanks, and building communal ties.

Go to The Pagoda and Temple on Tet Holiday

Where to Feel the Most of the Lunar New Year Festival in Vietnam

Hanoi
During the Tet vacation, visitors have additional alternatives in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. Even though public service facilities, museums, and monuments are closed for the full week beginning on Tet Holiday, visitors can still participate in the New Year's festivities by taking a leisurely stroll around the Hoan Kiem Lake region. 

Not all companies will be closed; just some will. The majority of upscale hotels are open, and business is highlighted by tourism activities. Finding a few of eateries for supper is simple. While most grocery stores will be closed, big-box businesses will be open during the day.

It is best to get to Hanoi a few days ahead of Tet in order to take in the sights and marketplaces before staying on to celebrate the Lunar New Year. It will be much more enjoyable if you are invited to a Vietnamese home because you will get to know the locals.

Hang Ma Street on tet Holiday

Hoi An

Several customary celebrations are held in this 200-year-old city in honor of the traditional Lunar New Year. The lottery games, the lantern festival, the unicorn dance, and the recitation of Vietnamese poetry are all happening.

Tet in Hoi An

A significant amount of people attend these events. When visitors arrive at Hoi An Ancient Town, they will encounter a wonderful ambiance that is entirely distinct from the normal calm.

Tet in Hoi An Ancient Town

Ho Chi Minh City

Thanks to its vibrant and intriguing nightlife, Ho Chi Minh City is a more interesting tourist destination than the capital Hanoi. You have the option of spending Lunar New Year's Eve among the locals watching the fireworks in the streets or celebrating in the pubs.

Another way to enjoy Tet in a really local setting is to take part in the Nguyen Hue Flower Festival and the Tao Dan Flower Festival. The streets will be decked out with flowers, primarily in the Lunar New Year hues of red and yellow. There will also be activities, food, and folk music in a cozy setting.

(Souce: JellyfishVietnam, IDC Travel)
 Tet atmosphere in Ho Chi Minh City

 

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