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Vietnamese Tet holiday

Vietnamese Tet holiday – A new experience for tourists to explore

If you are thinking of travel to Vietnam in February, it’s a wise choice. You know the reason why? Because you’ll take part in VIETNAMESE TET HOLIDAY – the biggest celebration in Vietnam. There are so many holidays in Vietnam, but Vietnamese New year holiday (Lunar New Year Festival) is considered as the most important and significant vacation.  It is the time that all of the Vietnamese relax after working hard during a year. No matter what they are doing and where they are residing all over the world, expect to go back to their hometown to have a family reunion and enjoy a great number of special traditional activities.

Minh Thi
People are setting up the lunar New Year pole in the courtyard

Time and date

The common question people might want to know is when Tet starts and how long it lasts. Tet holiday often occurs between late January and early February based on the Lunar calendar. Traditionally, Tet lasts nearly 10 days, but three first days is the most important. People spend the next seven days of the new year on relaxing and entertaining. However, the time you can see and feel clearly Tet atmosphere is 3 days before Tet and 3 first days of Tet.

In this year, 2018, Tet holiday takes place on February 16th. This is the year of the dog so you might see the dog statue quite often. Now, Vietnamese people are preparing for Tet. If you could have a chance to visit Vietnam this time, you will see how excited people are. 

happy new year 2018

Preparation for Tet holiday

Although Tet holiday is marked by the first day of the lunar new year, the preparation for it takes place long before that. Everyone starts by cleaning a house and decorating it at the same time. There are a lot of flowers and pot plants to decorate such as kumquat trees, marigold, and chrysanthemum. Especially, when talking about Tet, people usually consider Peach blossom and Apricot blossom. While Peach blossom is the specific flower of the Northern part, Apricot blossom only exists in the Central and Southern part of Vietnam. Plum flowers, yellow daisy, and pink peach blossoms dazzle the eye make Tet days more beautiful and colorful. Another thing you don’t want to miss is joining flower markets. There are so many kinds of flowers which provide for the demand of customers. People flock into flower markets not only buying flowers but also walking and taking photos. These activities become an indispensable part of Tet, which Vietnamese people can’t  forget in their life.

In the days leading up to Tet, each family cooks special holiday foods like Chung cake and Day cake. The stories of their origins and their connection with Tet are often recounted to children while cooking them overnight.

Before New Year’s Eve ( Tat Nien )

Tat Nien is the Vietnamese traditional worship but it doesn’t demand people picky preparation. As if all of the owners can show sincere heart to gods blessing in the new year. Moreover, it is the time for the living express their respect and gratitude to the ancestors. It is also the significant meal for the whole family after a long year living far away from hometown.

The family is preparing for Tet holiday

The New Year’s Eve

The most significant moment is looked forward by all Vietnamese people is the New Year’s Eve. On the New Year’s Eve, the head of a family will display Chung cake, Day cake and the five- fruit tray on a family altar to pay respect to their ancestors. This worshipping act will occur for the next three days in which the family members believe that their ancestors are there to celebrate the New Year with them. At the same, members of a family will usually gather together to watch “Tao Quan” program and chat with each other. Besides, it is wonderful to see the firework in some big cities such as Ho Chi Minh, Da Nang, and Hanoi city.

Traditional Activities during Vietnamese New Year 

The first three days of new year

Visit pagoda for wish on the first days of new year

The first day of the year, everyone often gets up early and do not do any housework. In addition, they give the best wishes to their parents and grandparents. Some people go to pagodas to wish for a lot of luck, health, prosperity, wealth, and happy new year. Besides that, Vietnamese believes that the first visitor of a family in the new year will determine their fortune for the whole year. Therefore, they pay a great attention to the first caller.

On next days, people visit relatives and friends and exchange best wishes for each other. While that, they also give lucky money in red envelops to children and elder people. Someone likes playing cards together.

The third day of Tet holiday, it’s time for people to remind and visit their teachers. Vietnamese people believe that teachers are respectful people teaching us about the necessary knowledge. Therefore, people are happy to show their deep gratitude to the teachers.

Family parties full of special dishes

The most popular thing is that we can meet parties in every family with full of special dishes. Grandmother and mother put their love into the food like pig trotters stewed with dried bamboo shoots, lean pork paste, pickled onion, and pickled small leeks. And there is some indispensable typical food in Tet such as roasted watermelon seeds, candies, and dried candied fruits (or jams). Because this is the special time in a year, men also gather with their friends and drink beer or wine.

Calligraphy pictures

Asking for a calligraphy picture is the traditional thing in Tet holiday. It shows the wishes of people about a lucky new year with full of fortune, happiness and safety. Besides, the traditional fondness for learning is appreciated from past to present. Because of the talent of calligraphers, people advise their children to follow his example through a calligraphist writing. Each calligraphist writing combines brilliant mind and sympathetic soul form the calligraphers

The calligrapher is writing wishes for children

Folk games 

Moreover, joining in folk games is one of the interesting activities during Vietnamese New Year Festival. There are so many traditional events you can try. Swinging, Slip Pole Climb, Tend Card Singing, and Wrestling are the best game attracting many customers. These games help to enhance the solidarity of the community and help the young to understand the culture of the country better.

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