Lunar New Year (commonly known as Tet in Vietnam) is one of the most important festivals in most parts of Asia, but how does Vietnam celebrate differently compared to others?
Tet or Vietnamese lunar new year is celebrated according to the lunar calendar, which is observed by the monthly cycles of the moon’s phases. It is very much different compared to the Gregorian calendar, which is a standard solar calendar with a regular of 365 days in a year.
Before Tet, Vietnamese people believe that it is the time that they reflect themselves of what they did in the current year, thus it is considered a prominent time to write a new page for new changes and plans in the coming new year.
Prepare Vietnamese traditional food
On the New Year’s eve, Vietnamese people usually prepare the signature festive food, called the Tet cake or Chung cake, to welcome the holiday. The cake, which is tasty and savory, is made from the familiar ingredients such as green beans, sticky rice and pork. It is then wrapped skillfully in huge leaves and boiled overnight. In the north of Vietnam, people usually make Chung cake which is square in shape and wrapped with Phrynium leaf.
Otherwise, in the south of Vietnam, people usually make Tet cake, which is rolled with a banana leaf into a thick, log-like cylindrical shape.
Besides the must-have cake, Vietnamese people also prepare other distinctive food such as pickled onion, jellied meat, and other “Tet” foods to celebrate the new year.
Vietnamese people like to decorate their houses to welcome the new year. They will commonly buy Kumquat trees, peach blossom (in the north of Vietnam), or apricot blossom (in the south of Vietnam), and other kinds of flowers to set the ambiance right.
Furthermore, if one visits a Vietnamese family on Tet, he can surely spot the Tray of Five Fruits easily. Even though each region chooses different fruits, a tray of five fruits is still culturely used to express the wishes of the host family with happiness, luck, wealth and heath.
Vietnamese people usually give “lucky money” (or lixi in Vietnamese) to their family, relatives and friends. The gesture normally comes along with best wishes to each other for the new year, with common expressions of “Everything is the best”, “May all your new year wishes come true”, “Security, good health and prosperity”, “Money flow in like water”, “Congratulations and be prosperous”, and so on.
Tet is a cherished time for every Vietnamese to return home wherever they are, and reunite with their family. On the first day of every new year, Vietnamese people also like making a special trip down to the church ( for Christians) or pagoda (for Buddhists).