For Vietnamese people, Tet Holiday is not only sacred, but also the most important celebration in a year. It has been considered as an occasion for family union. No matter where people live for working, they will return to their home for Tet. In this article, we will show you 12 beauties of the Lunar New Year in Vietnam.
Visiting ancestral graves
Every year, family members gather together to visit ancestral graves on December 23rd of the Lunar Calendar. They often clean, repair and offer flowers and fruits to their ancestors to express their gratitude and appreciation.
Vietnamese people believe that new coming year is the beginning of everything, so they have to prepare for it carefully, including the resting places of their ancestors.
Visiting ancestral graves at the end of the year is a common custom of Vietnamese culture. It illustrates the filial piety and respect for the ancestors. By doing this, people hope that they will be blessed by their ancestors in the coming year.
To prepare for Tet, people always clean and decorate their house so that it’s suitable for Tet’s atmosphere. For example, cups, bowls and tables are cleaned and put in the right place. This has an important meaning to Vietnamese people because they believe that new things and cleanliness will bring about luckiness.
The decoration depends on the lifestyle and finance of each family. However, people generally hang Tet pictures on the wall and use some kinks of flowers and plants, such as peach blossom, apricot blossom and ornamental kumquat to make their house more beautiful and colorful. Additionally, a five-fruit tray is also carefully arranged on the altar.
Making sticky rice cake
Making sticky rice cake is a traditional custom that cannot be missed on Tet holiday. It expresses the family closeness when family members gather together to make the cake. Besides that, it’s also the preservation and development of the creativity of the ancestors because sticky rice cake has been the traditional food for thousands of years.
Banh Chung and Banh Tet are two types of this cake. Banh Chung is more popular in the North and Center region of Vietnam, whereas Banh Tet is widely used in Southern Vietnam. Although these two cakes have different names and shapes, they are made from the same ingredients, such as pork, sticky rice and green bean.
Kitchen God's Day
On the 23rd of December, Vietnamese people prepare traditional dishes to see off the Deities. According to the legend, they ride a carp to heaven to report what happened in the year to the king of heaven, and then return to the Earth on the following days.
In Vietnamese beliefs, the origin of Ong Cong, Ong Tao stemmed from the trio Gods: Tho Cong, Tho Dia and Tho Than. Each of them is presenting for the God of Land, the God of House and the God of Kitchen respectively. Because the kitchen Gods know everything about the family members and what happened in the year, people often prepare food carefully for them with the hope of luck and success in the next year. The offering ceremony usually takes place before 12pm, and people will release fish into the rivers after completing.
Flowers and fruits on Tet holiday
Peach blossom and Apricot blossom are two kinds of traditional flowers in Vietnam. Moreover, there are other flowers used for worshiping, such as roses, chrysanthemums and orchids, making the atmosphere more happy and cozy.
Apricot blossom is popular in the South of Vietnam
In terms of plants, Ornamental kumquats and ornamental tangerines are commonly used to decorate the house with the hope of good health, prosperity and success.
When it comes to fruits, Vietnamese people also prepare a five-fruit tray to display on their altars. Depending on the custom of each region, the fruits vary from the South to the North of Vietnam. In the South, for instance, the five-fruit tray often includes soursop, fig, coconut, papaya and mango.
A tray of five fruits
Tat Nien meal
The Tat Nien meal often takes place on December 30th of the Lunar Calendar. At this time, everything is done, so family members have the meal together. The meal is full of traditional dishes, such as sticky rice cake, spring rolls and pork stew. While enjoying the food, people often talk about what they did in the year and their plans for the upcoming year.
Whether the food is ordinary or luxurious, it’s still full of love. Despite the differences of regions, the Tat Nien meal is always respectful and affectionate. The meal is chance for people to forgive others, forget their difficulties in life and wish each other a happy new year.
New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve is sacred and important for many people. It’s a time for people to pray for a new year with hopes, prosperity and luck. The beauty of New Year’s Eve originates from the meaning of wishing a happy new year and family union. All family members try to return to their home to unite with their lovers to enjoy this moment because it marks the beginning of the upcoming year together with many chances and success.
The meaning of New Year’s Ever offerings is to pray for a new year with many advantages, good health and success. It’s also a way for people to remember their ancestors and express their gratitude to others.
The most popular activity on New Year’s Eve is fireworks. At that time, the fireworks take place across the country, and people often go to the place where the fireworks are held to enjoy. The meaning of this activity is the same as the meaning of New Year’s Eve offering.
Fireworks display in Ho Chi Minh city on New Year’s Eve
New Year wishes and Li xi
New Year wishes and Li xi are cultural beauties in Vietnam. During Tet Nguyen Dan, children give their parents best wishes such as good health, luck and success, and then they will receive a red envelope containing money from their parents. It’s called "Li xi".
Red envelopes used for "Li xi"
Giving best wishes to others on Tet holiday has become a part of Vietnamese culture and lifestyle. It’s a meaningful activity and an occasion for people to express their gratitude to others.
Xong dat is one of the oldest activities on Tet that still remains today. Vietnamese people believe that the person who visits their home on the first day of the new year will have effects on their luck and success during the year. So, the house owner often invites the person who has the suitable birth year for the new year.
This not only is a beautiful custom of Vietnamese culture on Tet holiday, but also expresses people’s hope of a happy and lucky life.
Vietnamese calligraphy giving
Long time ago, calligraphy giving became indispensable on Tet holiday. It’s a symbol for learning enthusiasts and respect in education of Vietnamese people. Moreover, it’s also considered as a decoration for houses during Tet holiday to give luck and success to family members.
Although calligraphy giving is no longer popular, it’s still a beautiful tradition in Vietnam.
Visiting pagodas on new year’s days
Most Vietnamese people visit pagodas on new year’s days to pray for good health and peace. According to people’s experiences, they realized the existence of the Law of Cause and effect. Therefore, they visit pagodas together with their family members with the hope that their children will become a good person and live a benevolent life.
The custom of visiting pagodas is a beautiful custom of Vietnamese culture. It’s not only to pray for luck, but also to express people’s gratitude to Buddha.
Hai loc is the action of breaking a small tree branch and bringing it home with the hope of luck on new year’s days. It is considered as asking for fortune from God and Buddha for a favorable year. This is also a part of Vietnamese culture during Tet holiday.
Tet Nguyen Dan is a traditional and the most important holiday in Vietnam. Although the development of the country has brought about many changes in the culture, Tet still plays an important role in Vietnamese people’s spiritual life.
Tags: Vietnam, Vietnamese culture, Lunar New Year in Vietnam, Tet Nguyen Dan, Tet holiday, New year’s eve, sticky rice cake, five-fruit tray