Jan 2020: See how we celebrate our Tet Holiday

The Lunar New Year, known simply as Tet is the most important and happiest holiday season in Vietnam. We use this time for family, and friendships relationship as well as to show our respect to the ancestors. All family members spend quality time gather together after a year of hard work. 

Should you find yourself in Vietnam during Tết, here’s how we celebrate and you can join the fun too.

Enjoy the flea-markets before Tet

To get into the spirit of Tet, a vase of flowers and branch of peach blossom in the North of the country, and yellow Ochna flowers on the South for your staying space can’t be irreplaceable.

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Like the Christmas tree, we color them red by hanging red and yellow small decorations. Red always is the most favorite color during Tet, most of the Asian people believe that red always brings good fortune and prosperity, which is why you’ll see red banners with yellow lettering everywhere during Tet.

Picking up some decorations for Tet | © AngelaGrant/Shutterstock
Clean the house and arrange the ancestor altar

This custom is considered as the cleansing of past misfortunes, sort out the mess of this old year, and hoping for a smooth transition into the new year. Sweeping out the house and cleaning the ancestral graves is not only a purification ritual to avoid an unlucky year, but it is also a chance for everyone to show respect and remembrance of our ancestors. 

The majority of Vietnamese people are atheist, we do believe in an afterlife. Since the altar is where the ancestors stay, it always occupies the highest and most prominent place in the house and has to be kept clean, especially on the occasion of Tet. Arranging the ancestral altar has to be within the realms of Feng Shui. Vietnamese people offer flowers, incense, five-fruit trays, a boiled cock, Chung cakes, dishes of steamed glutinous rice, rice wine, tea, and votive paper products (gold, silver, money, clothes, etc.). 

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Making Banh Chung or green square cake

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The most exciting part of preparing for Tet is wrapping and cooking “ Banh Chung” -  this is the heart and soul of our Tet. Vietnamese people make this cake to express gratitude to their ancestors and homeland, as well as remind the next generation of this ancient tradition. Chung cake is a square-shaped sticky rice cake with pork, green beans, and onions inside, wrapped in Dong leaves. The maker can use their hands or a mold to achieve a near perfect square shape.

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Since the process of making Chung cake is really time-consuming (the cake is supposed to be boiled for about 12 hours over a wood fire) and requires the participation of several people, waiting for the “Banh Chung” bring chance for all members in a family to get warmer and closer.

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Celebration & Wish anyone a Happy Lunar New Year “ Chuc Mung Nam Moi”!

Tết festivities always include big explosions of firework, so figure out where they’ll be and take in the show. Big cities will launch fireworks on New Year’s Eve instead. But many families in the countryside still light fireworks and firecrackers in celebration of the New Year regardless.

The first day of Tet is reserved for the nuclear family only. Family members dress up in their best clothes, gather in front of the ancestral altar according to age to offer incense and tea to their ancestors, paying respect and expressing strong attachment to the family. In the course of three days, Vietnamese people remember their ancestors through daily offerings of food and prayers.

If you happen to attend, don’t forget to give children the lucky money. The money is put inside red envelopes as the red color signifies the prosperity and great luck according to Asian's belief. We also give grand generation the wish for a happy year, great health, and longevity.

Many people visit pagodas, temples, and shrines in the New Year Days, and bring some incense sticks that they burnt for the worshipping rituals, as well as some buds in the yards of the sacred places that they picked on the way back.

Writer and Poets still maintain the Khai Bút custom (writing for the first time) People flock to places like Văn Miếu Quốc Tử Giám (The Temple of Literature) to ask for scripts in ancient Vietnamese, with the hope of having more luck in the intellectual intelligence C:\Users\asus\Google Drive\B2B consultant - Trang\MKT support\2020\2 Feb\Asking-for-scripts-custom.jpg

And finally, wish everyone a happy new year and do not forget to say “Chuc Mung Nam Moi” to anyone you meet on these days.