“Tet” Lunar New Year of Vietnamese


Vietnamese celebrates Tet, “Tet” means transition of weather season from cold winter to warm and colorful spring time. Tet is a time of reunion, a new day and the day of thanksgiving and hope.

“Tet” Reunion  is always on reunification of families. Whether they trade, work or study far away from home, they usually try to save money and time to return home. Everyone are eager to meet and hang out with family.

Tet was also reunite with those who were lost in term of spiritual concept. Vietnamese people have strong emotional and spiritual to relatives and friends who passed away. On New year Eve, every family invite their ancestors going back home to enjoy food and reunification with their children.

One week before Tet, people are busy with cleaning, whitewashing, painting to redecorate their houses. A side from that, Vietnamese also renewed on the emotion and the human spirit, to relationships with loved ones. On the altar, foot candles and incense burners are polished. Adults and children will wear new clothes. All debts are paid before the new year. For each person always put the sadness, the argument aside. In three days of Tet, people laugh together, and speak calmly and politely to expect  the coming years the relationship was good.

Before Tet is also wedding season. Couples prefer to marry on this occasion of the year as wish of their parents. A New year comes to bring  a new hope of life for new couple. Parents of tow families will have a chance to visit and strengthen relationship.

Tet is also Vietnamese “thanksgiving Day” – the Vietnamese New Year is an opportunity to thank everyone. The children thank their parents and parents thank the grandparents, ancestors, Student thanks to their teachers. Chief thanks to staff for their good work.

Custom of Vietnamese “Tet”

Preparation before Tet:

In the week before the TET, many families visit the grave of their ancestors, build up more land, clean grass, put incenses, we consider grave is also a home of our ancestors and it’s very good to make it tidy and new before the new year.

Farewell to God of kitchen:

23 of December in lunar calendar, rice, cake are offered to send God of Kitchen to heaven. God of kitchen have lived with each family, he observed all activities throughout the year. He will report to God of heaven for good and bad behaviors of family members.

“Banh Chung” Sticky rice cake – Cake of New Year.
From 25 of December onward, many families have begun to cook for TET cake. Sticky rice cake in square  about 17cm on each side and 6 cm thick in the North of Vietnam and in shape of tube about 20cm long and 5 cm in diameter in the South of Vietnam. Cake wrapped with banana leaves, inside is a layer of glutinous rice and middle has green been or of marinated pork. Sticky rice is served onion pickle. Vietnamese children know well about the legend of sticky rice cake which represents for earth and heaven.

Tet also presents in each family with  five types of fruit on the altar. Fruits represents for best wishes of prosperity and good luck for the coming year.

New Year Eve of Tet

New Year Eve – is the most sacred moment. When night falls, important moment all eyes looked towards the direction of the clock to wait for Eve time. Church bells echos, the temple drum beats, everywhere in the village could hear, The exciting new year arrived.

Vietnamese call New Year Eve is Giao Thua. “Giao” means “to give”, “Thua” means ” to receive”. This moment the old year in both term of time, soul, and spirit are transited and given new life through the years. Ancestor spirits come back and present during this moment.

As practiced, the head of family burns incense, his hands clasped in front of chest prays and he invited  soul of the ancestors coming back for 3 days of Tet to stay and enjoy with all family.

First day of new year:

The first day of the year, normally reserved for small family and close relatives. Adult and children are dressed nicely and gather together. Children begin folding arms and greet parents and grand parents for good age, good health Then parents and grandparents and adults give children lucky money which is kept in side small, red envelope. money is usually small note choose a brand new paper money, it is known as the little gift brings good luck wishes for children as well as  encouraged to try to study and live in harmony with those around them.

The first visitor came into the land or house known as the burst person (xông đất), is believed to bring the bad or good fortune for whole family that year. So many families very carefully, they arranged to arrange lucky and healthy people who are also good, mature, nice and cheer and friendly.

Second day of new year:

The second day of New Year, Vietnamese often spend New Year’s greetings to visit teachers and family friends. They usually don’t stop there long instead just a short visit. They chat about previous year achievements and review old memories. Children with lucky money in their pocket could spend at gambling or lottery to look for good fortune.

Third day of new year:

The third day in the new year. Vietnamese often visited and social relationship is  also extended beyond the family such as old friends, neighbor and colleges. In the evening meals are on offer farewell to ancestors back to heaven and also welcome Kitchen God back home after 3 days trip to heaven. There are many families believe in superstition, they are burning fake money and silver paper clothes send to pass away relatives in the other world.

In summary, Vietnamese says “back home for New Year”, which is not a concept of normally going back home as literal meaning, which is a pilgrimage to place of origin, where they were born and grew up with their childhood. According to Vietnam’s concept, early spring day of New Year is a time of reunion for all members who are alive. A side from that it is  also a solely time of the year when deceased relatives, parents could go home to live, have fun, enjoy food with their children. By this time,  kin relationships also extended and refresh, strengthen during this time of year, It builds up from each family to villages and tie up to the whole moral society of the country. Tet is a good time to educate younger generations about kin hood, love and share, it helps to get children back to good nature of human being of living without anger, argument, will to listen and open to sympathy for misfortune of others.

Thanks for your reading!

Hong Duc

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About Insiderjourneyguidehelpdesk

Local guide manager-Vietnam
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