Vietnamese New Year Tet
Vietnamese New Year Tet is the most important, brightest and noisiest holiday for the locals. Vietnamese New Year Tet is a time when all family gathers together under one roof and decorates all house with flowers. Sticky rice and fresh fruits to make New Year’s dishes are usually bought in advance. Everyone from small to large in all provinces of the country celebrates Vietnamese New Year Tet.
Why should you visit Vietnam during the Vietnamese New Year Tet
Vietnamese New Year Tet is first of all amazingly unusual. If you want to immerse yourself in a completely unusual New Year atmosphere, different from Christmas and New Year celebrations in USA or Europe, get yourself the tickets to Vietnam for this time.
There is no usual snow or Christmas trees decorated with shiny balls and sparkling tinsel. Cities and villages are full of flowers. The Vietnamese can decorate their homes with fresh flowers thanks to the excellent climate. Often the flowers are not cut. Lush flowering bushes in pots with the ground can survive for a very long time, delighting everyone around. Tangerine trees are also a popular decoration. Anyone can decorate his house with a green bush with small ripe orange tangerines, that are considered a symbol of prosperity in Vietnam. In the north, flowering branches of peach with pale pink petals are used as decorations.
Locals decorate not only their homes, but also cafes, restaurants, shops, and even the streets for the celebration of Vietnamese New Year Tet. In any shop you can see the results of the efforts and fantasy of the staff: pale pink and bright yellow twigs with paper flowers hanging from the ceiling.
Fairs and concerts are held during the New Year holidays. It is these days you can see traditional dragon and lions dances on the streets. Young men wearing colorful costumes perform it to the sound of folk instruments. The purpose of the dance is to get a blessing for all your activities next year.
When to celebrate Vietnamese New Year Tet
Vietnamese New Year Tet is celebrated on the lunar calendar, so it may fall on different dates:
- In 2020, Tet will be celebrated on January 25.
- In 2021, Tet will be celebrated on February 12.
- In 2022, Tet will be celebrated on February 1.
Food for Vietnamese New Year Tet
As for the food, Vietnamese New Year Tet has its own traditions. If you associate Christmas and New Year with turkey and pudding, the Vietnamese can’t imagine the Tet without the unusual banh chung pie. The filling for the pie consists of rice and meat (it is unlikely that such a traditional dish would do without rice, because it is the main product consumed by the Vietnamese). The filling is put inside banana leaves. It can take up to ten hours to cook the pie, it is quite a long and time-consuming process. Pies can be of different shapes, round or square. This is due to a local legend. Initially, the pies were presented for the New Year to the ruling king: round ones symbolized the sky, and square ones the earth. Since then, the people of Vietnam maintain the tradition of cooking such an original dish.
Rice pies are accompanied by fresh and candied fruits at the table during the celebration of the Vietnamese New Year Tet. Many families also cook the vegetable called angled luffa, stuffing it with minced meat. Luffa is a distant relative of a pumpkin, and tastes a bit like it, but has a characteristic bitter taste. In Vietnam, this vegetable is considered not only delicious, but medicinal (helps restore the liver).
Vietnamese sausage made from pork and potato starch with fish sauce and garlic is another festive dish for the Vietnamese New Year Tet. In the North, the New Year is celebrated with pork legs with bamboo shoots.
In general, it is believed that if the New Year’s table is full of food, the next year will be rich and successful. Therefore, the people prepare for the holiday in advance, buying the best products in the markets the week before. Locals also put a watermelon on the altar of the ancestors, that symbolizes good luck in the new year.
Other New Year’s traditions for celebrations of the Vietnamese New Year Tet
Money in red envelopes is the traditional gift for the Vietnamese New Year Tet. So do not be surprised if the hotel staff gives you such a small gift on this day. Family members also give each other these red envelopes. The money is not necessarily real, it is only a symbol of wealth.
The Vietnamese wish everyone a happy new year using the phrase “Сhúc mừng năm mới”. They’re always happy to hear you wishing them happy new year in Vietnamese in return.
The Vietnamese also write poems on red paper with calligraphic cursive and hang them on the doors of houses and on the altars. This ceremony is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity.
Another tradition is associated with an interesting legend. The myths of Vietnam tell us that the gods of the hearth live in every house, guarding the home and the family. Once a year, the gods sit on the red carp and travel to heaven to tell the heavenly lord about what happened during the past year. At the same time, people buy three carps and release them into nearby bodies of water, after all, gods fly to heaven on their backs.
As you can see, the Vietnamese New Year Tet is a time permeated with an atmosphere of universal delight and anticipation of a miracle, so visiting Vietnam at this time is a great idea!