Tet , or Lunar New Year is considered one of the most popular festival in Vietnam. This special holiday takes place on January 1st based on Lunar Calendar. Tet is an occasion for people gather their family, express their respect to their ancestors and welcome a new year. Tet occupies an important role in Vietnamese culture, so the preparation often begin before one or two weeks. Although Tet is a holiday for all Vietnamese, every region has its own custom and preparation. In my hometown, to celebrate this occasion, people usually clean and decorate their houses, go shopping and cook traditional food, as well as take part in many specific activities during this holiday. Firstly, to prepare for Tet, people often spend a few days cleaning their houses, polishing furnishings and bronze incense burner, or even repainting the wall. They want everything in their houses must be cleaned to get the good in new year and get rid off the bad luck in the old year. They also decorate their houses with many flowers as: apricot blossom, marigold, daisy, and so on. Moreover, the houses is also garnished with colorful lights and parallel sentences. Each parallel sentence has its own meaning, showing the expectation of Vietnamese.
For example, “Security, good health, and prosperity”,” May myriad things go according to your will”. Vietnamese believe that the color of red and yellow will bring fortune things, so these colors can be seen everywhere during Tet. Besides, the ancestor’s altar is also especially taken care of with flowers and some kinds of fruit, including: custard apple, coconut, papaya, mango and fig. They want to pray for enough money to spend and comfortable life in the New Year. Secondly, to welcome this great festival people usually go shopping for everything which is necessary for Tet and cook traditional food. Everyone spend money purchasing new clothes to wear when Tet arrives. This is often the most exciting among children, the best beautiful clothes is always worn on the first day of the new year. People buy not only clothes but also flowers to put them in front of or inside their houses. Furthermore, they also buy a lot of food, which is integral during Tet. The food is very various from cakes, candies, jam to many special dishes. Some popular dishes are often cooked to consume during Tet as: sticky rice cake, boiled chickens, spring rolls, Chinese braise pork. These are very delicious and contain culinary culture in Vietnam.
Finally, it is the time to enjoy the new spring together. There are many activities happened in Tet holiday. In some big cities, people organize concerts and performance firework at the moment of New Year’s Eve to welcome the new year. Besides, lion dance is also a traditional activity to bring lucky and prosperity. During Tet,children wear new clothes and receive lucky money from the older after giving to them greeting Tet. Parties are organized to all of member in family eat and drink together. During the time of Tet, the streets are very crowded and noisy because of streams of people. They spend time visiting their relatives, their friends, and their teachers. Some people go to pagoda to pray for peace and happiness in the new year.
Tet is a special and meaningful occasion to all Vietnamese. It is the time for people reunite with their family and relax after a hard-working year. I am sure that if foreigner have a chance to visit Vietnam at Tet holiday, they will be fascinated by its feature. Remember that, do not consume too much alcohol and sweet stuff during Tet because it is not good for your health.
In Vietnam, there could be no other occasions more special than Tet for all members in a family to unite and enjoy a wide range of hilarious activities during the holiday. Below are the top five most preferable Tet’s activities Vietnamese people often do with family.
1. Watching firework on the New Year’s Eve moment
Firework shooting to announce the arriving of a New Year is a yearly event expected by any Vietnamese on the night. The show of light is organized in big cities of Vietnam like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue or Da Nang, on the sky of the the best tourist attractions of the cities in order to provide best view and serve the largest number of viewers.
The sparkling art show on the sky in combination with the booming echoes of every shots seem to make people’s hearts pumping faster and becoming more exciting to welcome the New Year. What would be cozier than members in a family hand in hand enjoying the night under the hilarious atmosphere?
2. Family parties
Parties with full of delicious traditional dishes is the main theme for the whole holiday of Tet. From the last day of the year, family’s members all unite to enjoy “Tất Niên” Meal (the last meal of a Lunar New Year) to share all the sadness and happiness and experiences gained through the year. Not only that, the parties are also time to review family’s tradition, show respect to elders and strengthen relationships between members.
During Tet, family parties can start from nowhere and there is not any exact time table for them besides the three main meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner. A party may begin when some relatives or friends come to visit the host’s home at any time since foods and drink are stored at their fullest level during Tet.
3. New Year’s greetings
From the first day of the year, people start going around and greet their relatives and friends with the best wishes. This custom seems to be more common in villages than in big city because villagers live much more close than people in cities; also, they are often relatives of each other living in the same village. The order of people to be greeted is usually relatives first and then friends and colleague.
Elders’ house would be the first destinations in which parents’ house is the very first one. This custom is not simple exchanging wishes between guests and hosts, it is the chance for brothers and sisters and friends to meet each other after a long separated year.
4. Lucky money for children and elders
This tradition is undoubtedly the most awaited Tet’s activity of all Vietnamese children. The custom is not a meaningless one since it does not only make children feel happier on Tet, it also educates them the value of money and how to save money for good purpose. Like its very definition, lucky money bring luck to children such as healthiness, intelligence and obedient and luck to the givers as well.
Read more about Lucky Money for Tet
5. Visiting pagoda
The lofty tradition reflexes religious belief of Vietnamese people has been preserved and developed for thousands years. People coming to pagodas and temple to pray for a happy new year with full of wishes may come true and showing respect and appreciation to Buddha and Gods who have been protecting and granting their wishes. Visiting pagodas could also a good way to enjoy Tet’s atmosphere and forget about all the stress and worry of the previous year in the sacred space there. Vietnamese families usually visit pagodas and temples with all of their members as well as going in grand family as a way to show sincerity.