Vietnamese New Year – the main family holiday “Tet”;

One of the most memorable holidays in Vietnam . If you ever manage to visit this country during the “Tet” period (Tết means “the first mornings feast”), consider that you are lucky.

How to celebrate New Year in Vietnam

The Vietnamese New Year is celebrated according to the lunar calendar, the same as in China and other Asian countries. January 1 is for Vietnamese people – it’s rather an advertised holiday, as we have a Catholic Christmas.

Below you can find the dates of the Vietnamese New Year (Tet) according to the lunar calendar from 2017 to 2030.

Table of dates for the new year according to the lunar calendar from 2017 to 2030
Dates of the Vietnamese New Year (Tet) according to the lunar calendar from 2017 to 2030

Decoration

Tet is an ancient traditional holiday, which, like us, is celebrated in the circle of relatives and friends.

On holidays, everything around turns red. Red is the color of celebration. It may seem surprising, but at the wedding, the bride is also usually dressed in a red dress, and a watermelon (a symbol of success) is placed on the altar in each house.

Red Vietnamese lanterns
On holidays, everything around turns red. Red is the color of the celebration.

The houses are decorated with red ribbons and lanterns, and before the entrance to the dwelling put large pots of mandarin trees.

Mandarin tree – this is also a certain symbol of the New Year, which, most likely, was borrowed by the Vietnamese from the nearest neighbors – the Chinese. Since the translation of the word “mandarin” sounds about the same as “luck”. Therefore, in Asia, in the houses and near them, mandarin trees are put on good luck.

Monk makes purchases before Tet
The houses are decorated with red and yellow ribbons and lanterns.

Even large international companies decorate their offices with this decorative plant. I must say that these manadrinas are completely inedible in taste: they are very acidic. Probably, they are grown such specially, so that the tree can stand until the end of the holiday.

The cities and towns in the New Year period are not ignored. Nyachang, for example, from the end of December and another month after Tet is decorated with colored signboards with the inscription “chúc mừng năm mới” (it sounds like “chuk mine is mine”), which means “Happy New Year!”.

Holiday for all ages

Before the holidays, all Vietnamese families (with parents and children) are beginning to buy. All shopping centers are overcrowded, the counters are emptied at an incredible rate. All is bought up: fruits, sweets, flowers, clothes.

In the evenings in each yard from time to time you can hear the drumming. This local youth, dressed in dragons, arranges dances. Vietnamese believe that the dragon’s dance drives away evil spirits from their homes and family.

Street Performance - Dragon Dance in Vietnam
Vietnamese believe that the dragon’s dance drives away evil spirits from their homes and family.

The Vietnamese consider it a great success to spend a New Year’s Eve in the company of an elderly person over 70 years old. At midnight, children congratulate their parents, grandchildren – grandparents and wish them health and long life. Those, in turn, congratulate the younger generation and give happiness for red envelopes with money. Moreover, it does not matter how much money will be in the envelope, the main thing is that these are new bills.

Smartly dressed Vietnamese children help grandfather
Great luck is considered – to spend a New Year’s Eve in the company of an elderly person over 70.

After the celebration of Tet with his family, it is time to congratulate distant relatives and friends. In apartment buildings neighbors go to visit their friends on the floor, then to others, to the third … and so on. From the apartments furniture is taken out, so that there is more space, the doors open unbuttoned. And anyone can go to congratulate the owners and drink with them for their health. It is believed that the guests bring good luck to the house. The guest can give the owners a small amount of money (in local currency) in traditional red envelopes. This symbolic gesture is an ancient tradition, which is observed by the Vietnamese from year to year.

Vietnamese children in festive costumes
All dress in beautiful festive outfits.

The first New Year’s Eve traditionally begins with a march to the temple, after which everyone returns to the table to taste the traditional Vietnamese dish – banchyng.

Vietnamese dishes for the New Year

New Year dishes are cooked on charcoal. In the north of Vietnam, a cold meat and seafood are popular . In the south – pork in a pot, cooked in coconut milk.

Vietnamese New Year rice pie
Bančing – rectangular rice pie wrapped in corn or banana leaves

The main New Year’s dish in Vietnam (as, indeed, in China) is banching, rice cake of rectangular or square shape, wrapped in corn or banana leaves and tied with bamboo threads. Banching is stuffed with beans, glutinous rice and pork meat. The shape of the pie – a quadrangle – symbolizes the gratitude of the Vietnamese to the fertile land, which gives them food four times a year.

New Year's table in Vietnam
On holidays, Vietnamese can spend the whole day at a table.

Memo for Russian-speaking Vietnamese people in the Tet period

New Year’s holidays in Vietnam last about a week. During this period, many Vietnamese are leaving the city to their relatives and friends. Therefore, the streets become deserted, in the evenings in the courtyards it is quiet and deserted.

It is very important to stock up in advance the products, because during the holidays almost all the stores are closed. In Russia, even on January 1, you will easily find some working supermarket, and here it is unlikely. Therefore, make sure that your refrigerator is packed to capacity and you can eat without any problems for the next 5-7 days.

It is also important to remember that many tenants raise prices for their apartments during this period. There were cases when the owners set a double rent price for a month during the holidays, and then reduced it to the previous level. Exactly the same situation with rental bikes.

Tourist information card

On the one hand, Tet is a very interesting time when you can see the traditions and culture of Vietnam in all their beauty. But on the other hand – most likely, this is all that you will be able to see. Work in Vietnam is suspended. That is, be prepared that you will not be able to get on any excursion, or in one museum and will be forced to just walk around the city for a week.

Tourists make sense to visit Vietnam in front of Tet to capture only the beginning of the holiday and calmly fly home.

Conclusion

Despite some of the inconveniences associated with the Tet holiday, to see this cultural event is definitely worth it.

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