TET HOLIDAY - VIETNAM TRADITIONAL LUNAR NEW YEAR
Tet Nguyen Dan, more commonly known by its shortened name Tet, is the most important and popular holiday and festival in Vietnam. It is the Vietnamese New Year marking the arrival of spring based on the Lunar calendar. The name Tet Nguyen Dan is Sino-Vietnamese for Feast of the First Morning.
The dates of Lunar New Year differs every year but it generally takes place around late January or February. Because of the fact that Vietnamese families are so close- knitted, Tet Holiday is considered the best occassion for family members to return home and get together. During Tết, Vietnamese spend time shopping for the New Year, go to Pagodas and Temples. The items of shopping range from food to clothing to decorations for the house. The Vietnamese believe that Tet Holiday is an occasion to enjoy life after a full hard-working year, thus people forget their struggles and focus on making the celebration as festive as possible. Due to the high regard in which people hold it, Tet, as often as not, is consumed with unique, distinctive colors and flavors.
Many Vietnamese prepare for Tet by cooking special holiday foods and cleaning their house. There are a lot of customs practiced during Tet such as visiting a person’s house on the first day of the new year (xông nhà), ancestral worship, wishing New Year’s greetings, giving lucky money to children and elderly people and opening a shop.
Tet is also an occasion for pilgrims and family reunions. During Tet, Vietnamese visits their relatives and temples, forgetting the troubles of the past year and hoping for a better upcoming year. They consider Tet to be the first day of spring and the festival is often called Hội xuân (spring festival).
Like other Asian countries, Vietnamese believe that the color of red and yellow will bring good fortune, which may explain why these colors can be seen everywhere in Lunar New Year. People consider what they do on the dawn of Tet will determine their fate for the whole year, hence people always smile and behave as nice as they can in the hope for a better year.
Tet in the three Vietnamese regions can be divided into three periods, known as Tất Niên (Before New Year’s Eve), Giao Thừa (New Year’s Eve), and Tân Niên (the New Year), representing the preparation before Tet, the eve of Tet, and the days of and following Tet, respectively. All of these customs are to celebrate Tet in Vietnam.
At Tet every house is usually decorated by Apricot Blossom (in the central and south Vietnam) or Peach flower (in the North). In the north or central, the Kumquat tree is a popular decoration for the living room during Tet. Its many fruits symbolize the fertility and fruitfulness that the family hopes for in the coming year.
Above all, time to Tet is counting down, so if you want to experience this extremely special event at least once in a life, just pack up your luggage and reserve a Lunar New Year trip in Vietnam!