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Tết 2023: Vietnamese Lunar New Year
Tết, or Tết Nguyên Đán is the most important festival in Vietnam. It marks the advent of Vietnamese New Year, and the arrival of spring.
Very much like Chinese New Year, which is celebrated at the same time, the Tết holiday in Vietnam is a time when families meet each other to celebrate the forthcoming year, exchange gifts and eat a lot.
Tết in Vietnam
Tết Nguyên Đán means Festival of the First Day of the Year, the word Tết on its own just means festival, so you should not confuse it with Tết Trung Thu which is the mid-autumn festival, also known as Children’s Festival, regarded as the second most important festival in the Southeast Asian country.
What to Expect During Tết Holiday
It used to be that the whole country closed down for two weeks around the Vietnam New Year, as people travelled around he country, or visited relatives overseas. Now, things have changed with restaurants and shops open. However, you should note that the day of Vietnamese New Year is a national holiday.
Tết Vietnam Lunar New Year Celebrations
It is a time when families meet each other and pay their respects to ancestors at pagodas. The days leading up to Tết will see people frantically cleaning their houses both to prepare for the celebrations as well as to wash away bad spirits in preparation for the forthcoming year.
Traditionally the first day in the lunar New Year is reserved for the family with children wearing their new clothes to give their elders greetings before receiving lucky money in red envelopes.
The person who first visits your house determines your luck for the following year. A good person will bring you good luck. Also, you are not allowed to sweep your house during Tết as this might sweep away your good fortune.
On the following days, Vietnamese people visit friends and relatives, as well as Buddhist pagodas. There will also be dragon or lion dances and public performances. It can be a noisy time as drums, bells, gongs, and firecrackers are used to ward off evil spirits.
Households assemble a large New Year tree made of a bamboo pole which is decorated with good luck charms. Flowers, blossoms and fruit are used to decorate houses depending upon which part of the country you are situated.
Typical Tết Food
Typical Tết includes: Mứt Tết candied fruit; Bánh chưng and bánh tét: sticky rice with meat or bean fillings; Hạt dưa, roasted watermelon seeds; Dưa hành: pickled onion and pickled cabbage; Củ kiệu, pickled small leeks; Mứt, dried candied fruits; and Thịt kho nước dừa, meat stewed in coconut juice.
When Is Tết 2023?
The Tết Vietnamese Lunar New Year 2023 will be on 23 January.
Where Is Tết Celebrated?
Throughout Vietnam, and across the world by Vietnamese diaspora.
Although the Vietnamese zodiac, is almost identical to the Chinese, in the former the cat (mẹo/mão) replaces the Chinese abbit. So, a child born in the Chinese year of the Rabbit will be born in the Vietnamese year of the Cat (mẹo/mão). Also, the Chinese ox is normally called a water buffalo (sửu/trâu) in the Vietnamese zodiac.
Therefore 2023 is the Year of the Cat in Vietnam, not the Year of the Rabbit, as in China.
How to Say Happy New Year in Vietnamese?
If you wish to say happy new year to someone in Vietnamese it is Chúc Mừng Năm Mới.
Things To Do in Vietnam
If you are planning to visit Vietnam for the festival, or any other time of the year, we suggest you visit the official Vietnamese tourism website for further inspiration on what to do in Vietnam.
Accommodation During the Festival
To find the best accommodation in Vietnam, as well as international flights, please search via our comparison engine, which scans all the major booking sites so you don’t have to.
Main image: Unsplash.
Mark Bibby Jackson
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