10 Activities Tet Holiday in Vietnam that Most People do as Traditions
If you ask what is the biggest, most colorful, and most important festival in Vietnam, then the answer should always be Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year Festival) which covers lots of exciting activities Tet holiday. During the New Year occasion, people always smile and behave as kindliest as they can in order to hope for the best year of luck, happiness, and prosperity. And if you keep wondering what the Vietnamese do in Tet, get to know the top 10 Vietnamese Tet traditions below.
#1: Clean the houses to prepare for Tet holiday
To prepare for Tet holiday, local families do a thorough cleaning of their houses in the days before the New Year comes. The floors will be swept to be clean, windows will be scrubbed, and furniture will be free from dust so that the houses become clean and neat to welcome the most special festival of the year. This traditional activity aims to sweep away anything bad of the past year. In addition, sweeping is a taboo on the New Year’s Day because the locals believe that the good fortune and luck will be swept away.
#2: Decorate the houses to beautify the living environment and welcome good luck
One of the most popular Tet customs in Vietnam is to decorate the houses with the brightly-colored items. The most popular ones have the red and yellow colors. You can expect to be surprised at the beautifully decorated houses and storefronts in Vietnam, which excite the atmosphere so much. In the Asian beliefs, the red color is linked to wealth and luck. Therefore, red lanterns are dominant in the streets and houses while the doors and windows are covered with red papers of the cute shapes. Some Vietnamese houses also have kumquat trees in the living room, which symbolize fruitfulness. Besides, decorations of cherry blossom and apricot flower beautify the places.
#3: Celebrate Kitchen God’s Day on December 23rd
The tradition kept from generation to generation of the Vietnamese is to celebrate the Kitchen God’s Day on December 23rd of the Lunar Calendar. On this day, people will clean the kitchen as well as the statues of the Kitchen God, parole the carps which are said to take the deities to report to the Jade Emperor. In the evening, family members are expected to prepare good meals, burn incenses, and pray as the rituals to send the Kitchen God to heaven.
#4: Have Year-end Parties
On the last days of the past Lunar Year, people will gather to have year-end parties with food, drinks, and laughter. Some might be interested in sharing their life events and achievements of the year to the others and create more nice memories together before saying goodbye to the past year. If you walk on the local streets this time, it’s usual to see lots of restaurants and eateries full of patrons who are celebrating the nights altogether.
#5: Pay debts and avoid arguments
The unpaid debts and conflicts are similar to the “trash” or “bad luck” that need to steer clear of before the New Year comes. That is why the majority of the Vietnamese will try best to pay their outstanding debts, forget the minor conflicts, and avoid arguments. Also, they often smile and behave as well as possible. The sense of completion makes people feel happier to welcome the better New Year.
#6: Pray for the best in the Buddhist pagodas and temples
The Lunar New Year in Vietnam marks the busy time for the Buddhists and pilgrims who go worshipping in the pagodas and temples to pray for blessings and luck in the New Year. Burning the incenses at the beginning of the year also provides peace of mind. That is why you see the pagodas crowded with visitors, flowers, and incenses. Some people give offerings to the deities and Buddha statues, hoping that the intangible powers will bless and protect them.
#7: Cook Vietnamese traditional food for Tet
Days before the event, families cook the traditional food for Tet, namely the Banh Chung and Banh Day (kinds of steamed rice cakes). It takes hours to cook the cakes, and family members usually take turns to keep eyes on the cooking fire overnight. Meanwhile, they prefer telling their life stories, events, news, etc., of the past year. Sharing and mingling with each other are the beautiful customs in the days leading up to the Lunar New Year.
#8: Exchange the New Year’s greetings and Lucky Money inside red envelopes
As a long-lasting custom, the Vietnamese love exchanging the New Year’s greetings to each other on the first day of the Lunar New Year. Along with that, they give red envelopes including Lucky Money to the children and elders. The kids are expected to give greetings to their grandparents, parents, relatives, and other seniors in order to receive the Lucky Money in return. The recipients of red envelopes will feel that they are lucky and happy.
#9: Invite a person of good fortune to visit a house (Xong Nha or Xong Dat)
Mainly in the northern regions of Vietnam, the host family keeps a tradition to invite a person of good fortune to visit their house, which is said to bring good luck for the whole coming year. In a common belief, they invite a joyous person whose zodiac is good for the homeowner. The first guest to the home on the first day of the year is very important and leaves a huge influence on the following year of the host family.
#10: Go to the New Year’s markets of flowers and clothes
Hanging out, taking pictures, and sightseeing the New Year’s market of flowers have been the popular activities that all Vietnamese enjoy. The flowery markets encourage people to photograph and buy pots of flowers to home for decorations. What’s more, the open-air market often sells a variety of products such as red envelopes, decorations, clothes, trinkets, red lanterns, potted plant, etc., which encourages shoppers to spend money in a happy way.
Knowing the 10 traditional Tet activities in Vietnam, it’s your turn to experience and tell the world how you might love the Vietnamese Tet.