Tết is the Vietnamese New Year celebration, which happens every year between January and February. This Lunar New Year holiday celebrates the coming of spring and is an important time for people to spend with family and friends.
What is Tết?
Tết is the commonly used name of the Vietnamese New Year, it is short for Tết Nguyên Đán which means ‘Festival of the First Morning of the First Day.' It is also called the Spring festival or Lunar New Year.
Tết celebrates the new year and the start of spring and takes place between mid-January to late February. It changes every year depending on the Vietnamese lunar calendar and the first new moon. One reason this festival is so important is that the Vietnamese people believe the way they spend the first day of the new year will represent how the rest of the year will go.
Why is Tết so important?
This celebration is the most important Vietnamese national holiday. Many people travel to be with their families, spending quality time together and paying homage to their ancestors. Many businesses will close and companies will give their workers time off to allow as many people the chance to be with their loved ones. Employees that have to work during this period get three times their usual pay for doing so.
The family focus of the holiday is one of the reasons Tết so important, but it’s also a very symbolic holiday. The Vietnamese New Year involves many traditions to do with starting afresh and trying to begin the new year with good fortune. It’s thought that your actions during Tết will reflect how the rest of your year will go. So, celebrating well is very important!
How is Tết celebrated?
An important aspect of the Vietnamese New Year is that it is viewed as a fresh start. In preparation for Tết, families clean their homes a week before the holiday starts. Households will do very deep clean chores such as washing mattresses, sorting through their belongings and even repainting the house. This is seen as a symbolic way of clearing out the home of any bad luck from the previous year, to make way for good luck in the new year. Sweeping during the Lunar New Year is considered taboo as it represents brushing away good luck that you want to welcome in
Similar to Christmas, the most important aspect of the gift-giving tradition is focused on children. During Tết children will formally greet their elders, expressing some good fortune wishes for the year ahead, they will then be given a special red envelope with money inside. Red is considered to be an auspicious colour, meaning it symbolises good fortune and prosperity.
Lanterns are a common Vietnamese decoration for all sorts of holidays and celebrations. However, during Tết red lanterns are most popular as this is a lucky colour.
Flowers and plants are an important part of decorating for Tết. In Northern Vietnam, branches of peach blossoms are very traditional decorations, representing wealth, luck and happiness while in Southern, a mesmerizing yellow shade from apricot blossoms will bring in the fortune we wish for. Often they will be in a large vase and decorated with red envelopes and emerald jades . Other flowers will also decorate people’s homes. Orchids are a popular choice as they look very elegant and represent good luck