Tet is one of the most significant celebrations in Vietnam. It’s country’s version of the New Year and marks the arrival of spring according to the lunar calendar. This year, Tet is taking place on February 5th and if you’re planning to take part in this one big celebration, it’s important that you come prepared. Here’s everything you need to know about Tet.
Need a Visa To Vietnam?
If you’re heading to Vietnam this February to celebrate the Tet New Year, you better apply for your visa as early as now. Simply visit vietnamvisa.cheap for this. Start by choosing your country of origin, then click on the link to apply for a visa to fill out the form. Make sure you fill out the form completely and indicate your email address because this is where you will receive the Visa Pre-Approval Letter. After you fill out the form, make a payment, and submit your application. When you receive the letter, print it out and bring it with you on your trip as this is what you’re going to present at the airport.
What You Need to Know About Tet
Tet is celebrated on the first day of the first month of the Vietnamese calendar. This year, it’s taking place on the 5th of February although the celebration starts as early as one or two weeks before. During this time, families would gather around to prepare food and eat together. Paper creations can be seen hanging on the streets and houses, which are dedicated to those who have already passed away.
Locals can also be seen partying all over the country when the evening comes and mothers are often busy in the kitchen preparing foods for everyone. Some families would gather to watch comedy shows together while anxiously waiting for midnight to come, which is when the actual celebration will take place. When the clock strikes midnight, everyone will gather together to light incense sticks on alters along with a prayer asking God and their deceased relatives to join the celebration in spirit.
Before New Year’s Eve
As one of the biggest celebrations in Vietnam, everyone celebrates Tet and it usually starts one to two weeks prior to the actual date. The overall atmosphere in the country leading to Tet is bustling with shoppers buying decorations to deck their homes with lanterns and mothers shopping for ingredients to cook traditional Tet delicacies. Locals who are from other places and countries will usually go home during this time in order to be with their loved ones. Parents will also shop for new clothes for the kids to wear on the actual celebration.
On the days leading up to Tet, families will offer fruits on the family altar. These usually consist of five different fruits. This is their way of paying respects to their deceased relatives. The altar is cleaned thoroughly before the offerings are placed.
During the New Year
On the first day of Tet, the head of the household will usually invite a person to visit their house as part of a local ritual. It is thought that this can bring good luck to the family for the entire year. The first person that is going to enter the house in New Year will, therefore, play an important role in the household’s luck and prosperity. Thus, a person of good morality is often the one invited by the host family into the house
Kids will also wear their new clothes on this day and will greet the elders with traditional Tet greetings. Elders, on the other hand, will give lucky money to the kids in exchange. The traditional greetings during Tet are “Chúc Mừng Năm Mới” which means Happy New Year and “Cung Chúc Tân Xuân” that means gracious wishes for the coming spring. Locals can also be seen greeting each other and wishing luck and prosperity to one another.
Vietnam is often filled with colors during Tet, making it a great time to visit the country. On the days leading to Tet, families would buy peach blossom trees, orange trees, and kumquat trees. They will also buy lots of flowers to deck their homes, such as colorful orchids and chrysanthemums. They will either plant the flowers or place in a vase to decorate inside the house.
At Tet, almost every house is decorated with flowers. In the north, peach flowers are common, while in the central and south Vietnam, most families would prefer to decorate their homes with yellow flowers known as ochna integerrima. In the central or north Vietnam, kumquat tree is also a popular decoration in the living room. The many fruits of the tree signify fruitfulness and fertility, which is what the family hopes for in the coming year.
Overall, Tet is a great celebration to witness in Vietnam and something that you should experience at least once in your life!