Asian commmunities around the world are celebrating a Lunar new year 2022 - a year of Lion with so much hope and wishes. In Vietnam and Vietnamese communities also Tet or Vietnamese Tet New Year is the most important annual celebration and public holiday in Vietnam spanning 5-7 days, often around late January and early February
WHAT IS TET VIETNAMESE NEW YEAR TRADITION
Tet, also known as the Tết Nguyên Đán in Vietnamese, Vietnamese New Year, Spring Festival, or Lunar New Year, is the most important festival in Vietnam. It’s a major celebration focused on family reunions, gift-giving, special foods, and vibrant public events.
Like Christmas time, in Vietnam, Tet Vietnamese New Year is the most family-centered holiday, and Vietnamese people often travel back to the places where their families are from to spend the holiday with their extended families. Celebrated as a time of renewal, Tet serves as an opportunity for Vietnamese people to pay homage to their ancestors and have family reunions.
BEFORE TET-VIETNAMESE NEW YEAR
Preparations usually begin a week before Tet, as people start to return home, clean their family graves, worship at their family altars and decorate their homes with apricot blossoms, peach blossoms and kumquat trees, symbolizing the hope of prosperity and well-being. Before Tet, Vietnamese families will normally spend a lot of time sweeping and cleaning their homes. This action represents the cleansing of bad luck from the previous year and making room for the coming of the New Year. The shrines are well cleaned and new offerings and decorations are placed there to prepare for a visit of the deceased relatives because Vietnamese people belive that spirits of deceased family members will visit the living ones during Tet
THE LUNAR NEW YEAR DAY- TET DAY IN VIETNAM
During Tet, families will prepare a feast to welcome visiting relatives and friends, to exchange greetings and best wishes for the New Year. Foreigners can learn some few simple traditional greetings when they visit Vietnamese families during Tet
Chúc mừng năm mới!
How to say traditional greetings in Vietnamese?
Vietnamese is a tonal language, it seems a bit challenge to learn the language but during the Vietnemese New Year season, locals will appreciate and understand you as soon as you start with a big smile and say “chúc mừng năm mới”. This means Happy New Year in Vietnamese, and sounds like “chook moong nahm moi”
On Tet New Year, families will prepare a feast to welcome visiting relatives and friends, to exchange greetings and lucky red envelopes with money
Vietnamese New Year is important for the Vietnamese people as it is believed that what they do on the first day of the year will affect the rest of the year. Therefore, they pay great attention to every word they say and everything they do on this day.
Some things to note during the very first days of the Vietnamese New Year
- Avoid sweeping during the very first 3 days of Tet as it symbolizes sweeping the luck away.
- Special activity is "xong dat" , the first visitor will determine the fortune of the family's entire year, so the person is normally chosen by the host family to enter the house first who will bring full of blessings to the entire following year
- The first day of Tet is typically reserved for the nuclear family. The second day of Tet Vietnamese New Year is usually reserved for friends, while the third day is for pagoda.
Living in the US, during this Tet Fest, I often visit China town In San Francisco to shop for some flowers and some food to prepare for Tet. I often find some similarities between the two cultures and wearing "ao dai"-traditional Vietnamese dress there always catch alot of attention.
After 2 devastating years of Covid, this year, the historic China Town new year celebration has returned bring back many tourists and local people as well.
Celebrate Vietnamese New Year traditions at home
Among Vietnamese expats, Tet traditions take on new forms in their homes away from home. Those living in bigger Vietnamese communities around the world, including approximately 1.3 million Vietnamese immigrants in the United States, might get to enjoy big public Tet celebrations. Many Vietnamese people abroad have to create Vietnamese New Year traditions on their own. Doing so often means introducing the joyous celebrations, rituals, and delicious foods of Vietnamese culture to new friends who are eager to learn about New Year’s traditions around the world.
Vietnamese girls often wear traditional silk dress ( aka ao dai or long dress) before and during Tet New Year
Even if you can’t find any public Tet events, there are countless ways to enjoy Tet traditions at home. Take inspiration from the many ways in which Tet is celebrated in Vietnam, and adapt them to fit your own lifestyle. Here are some suggestions:
- Spend a day doing mindful cleaning
- Buy kumquat tree or peach blossom flowering branches to put outside your front door. You also can plant new trees in the back yard or buy some flowers to put in different sizes and shapes of vaves and decorate around your house.
- Treat yourself to new clothes and a haircut. Step out of the door in beautiful tradtional dress in silk
- Decorate your home or room with red and gold paper garlands.
- Prepare a Tet chung cake, spring rolls, bitter melon soup or other traditional Tet foods.
- Enjoy a big meal with family and friends, and spend New Year’s Eve staying up late, watching uplifting movies, playing games, and enjoying good company.
- Prepare gifts to adults and red envelopes, or so-called “lucky money,” to children