With Lunar New Year just around the corner, all across Vietnam locals are preparing for a fun-filled week of family, feasts & festivities. Known as Tet, this holiday is undoubtedly the country’s most important and highly anticipated celebration of the year.
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The Lunar New Year falls on the second new moon after the winter equinox (between 21 January and 20 February) and signifies the beginning of spring. This year, the first day of Tet is 01 February 2022 and, out of the twelve Vietnamese zodiac signs, marks the year of the tiger.
Although Vietnamese Lunar New Year has its origins from Chinese New Year (even lucky money envelopes, lanterns và other decorations are inscribed with Chinese writing), it should be noted that there are slight differences between the two và local Vietnamese may get offended when hearing ‘Chinese New Year’ — best stick to lớn saying ‘Lunar/Vietnamese New Year’ or ‘Tet’.
Because family lies at the front và center of Lunar New Year, every year millions of Vietnamese make a pilgrimage back to their hometown. And with such an outflow of people from large population centres, this is the only time of year where the streets of Saigon and Hanoi are not filled with motorbikes during the daytime – an eerily quiet sight for those who remain in the city.
Preparations for Tet begin well in ahead of time. Around the house, family members attend khổng lồ gardening, fixing and replacing objects và appliances, putting up decorations and planting red peach blossom trees in the north or yellow apricot blossom trees in the south. Also of particular importance is a thorough ‘spring cleaning’. Because sweeping of the floors is considered taboo during the first few days of the new year (it signifies sweeping out good luck), it is essential for the home to be spotless prior khổng lồ the celebrations.
The first day of the year is usually reserved for the nuclear family, while friends, colleagues & extended relatives can be visited on subsequent days. & it is recommended not lớn make any spontaneous visits the first couple days, as it is believed the first person outside of the family to enter the home sets the precedent for the remainder of the year, in regards khổng lồ fortune. Therefore, the family will carefully choose và invite their first annual visitor – ideally someone of high standing, success & moral values.Lunar New Year Festivities
Aside from family and tradition, Tet is an exciting time filled with games, socializing, food và celebration.
In recent years, memes about gaining weight over the Lunar New Year are increasingly making their rounds across social media. & that’s because there is an over-abundance of eating & drinking spirits during this extended holiday. Keeping in tune with welcoming the new year with good fortune, it is considered unlucky lớn turn down food. Typical Tet fares include dried candy fruit, pickled onions và glutinous rice with mung bean & pork wrapped in banana leaf, known as banh chung/banh tet (pictured below left).
Perhaps the most universally recognized symbol of Lunar New Year is the lucky red envelope. After reciting a traditional Tet greeting, children are blessed by their elders with lucky money, or li xi. Another favourite pastime during the new year for both young and old is playing games with dice or cards, often for money. Finally, firecrackers are lit around the house not just for entertainment, but also lớn ward off evil spirits.
In contrast lớn the festivities held in private, public spaces are adorned with colourful decorations và floral arrangements. Locals flock to these areas, spruced up in their brand new clothing, to lớn welcome the new year & snap photos. Other communal celebrations include dragon/lion dances, fireworks và drum/gong shows.
Need a reason to visit Vietnam during the Lunar New Year? Heritage Line offers exciting boutique cruises in both the northern & southern regions of Vietnam.
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Vietnam’s two largest cities are prime locales for Tet, particularly Hanoi’s Old Quarter and Saigon’s Nguyen Hue walking street. Our cruises near Hanoi explore the majestic beauty of Halong Bay & Lan Ha Bay, while Saigon is the starting or ending point of our lower Mekong River cruises.
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Vietnamese New Year, also known as Tet Festival, is the most important festival of the year in Vietnam. Its name, Tet, is an abbreviation for Tet Nguyen Dan, which is Vietnamese for the feast of the first morning of the first day of their calendar.
In 2023, Tet falls on January 22nd (Sunday). It is a Year of the Cat. Cat is the fourth sign in Vietnamese Zodiac, taking place of the Rabbit in Chinese Zodiac.
What is Tet in Vietnam?
Americans might recall the 1968 Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War. Tet Nguyen Dan, shortened lớn Tet, is Vietnam"s Lunar New Year & is the most important annual celebration và public holiday in Vietnam spanning 5-7 days.
Tet celebrates the beginning of a new year as well the coming of spring. Exuberant festivities are held — traditional food, music & dragon nhảy performed along the streets. During this time there is a real sense of celebration in the air, making it a festive time to lớn visit Vietnam.
Celebrated as a time of renewal, Tet serves as an opportunity for Vietnamese people khổng lồ pay homage lớn their ancestors và have family reunions.
Preparations usually begin a week before Tet, as people start to return home, clean their family graves, worship at their family altars và decorate their homes with apricot blossoms, peach blossoms & kumquat trees, symbolizing the hope of prosperity & well-being.
When is Tet?
Tet is based on the lunar calendar, và generally celebrated on the same day as the Chinese New Year. The date changes annually, but falls between mid-January & late February. Most Vietnamese people will have five days off for Tet.
Tet celebrations can range from 3 days & continue for up to one week. The festival is split into the day before New Year"s Eve, New Year"s Eve, & New Year"s Day.
All of these days correspond to the Vietnamese or lunar calendar, so they will happen on a different date every year. Tet Festival falls on Sunday, January 22nd in 2023.
Here are the dates for the next coming Vietnamese New Year celebrations, as well as the Lunar Zodiac Animals associated with them.2023: January 22 – Year of the Cat2024: February 10 – Year of the Dragon2025: February 29 – Year of the Snake2026: February 17 – Year of the Horse