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    Learn meaningful during the days of Tet in Vietnam

    Tet, or Vietnamese New Year, is the largest and most important festival in the Vietnamese calendar.  Vietnamese New Year Traditions  are anchored into the 12 days of Tết which are filled with religious ceremony, quality family time and purification rituals aimed at washing away all the bad luck of the old year and welcoming the new one afresh.

     Learn meaningful during the days of Tet in Vietnam
    Day One: Praying to The Kitchen God – Mr. Công, Mr Tao (Lễ Ông Công Ông Táo)
    20th January 2017 (23rd of Lunar December)

    Vietnamese folk law says each house has three gods who protect the family and watch over their behaviour for the whole year. On the 23rd of the last Lunar month (20th January 2017), the Kitchen God returns to heaven on a Carp to report to the Jade Emperor on all of the goings on in the house. Vietnamese people like to help the kitchen God on his way by making offerings on their family shrine and releasing goldfish into nearby lakes, ponds and rivers. As soon as the ceremony is over the family will clean the whole kitchen, polishing every utensil ready for the Kitchen God’s return.

    Day Two-Three: Sweeping out the Old Year
    21st-22nd January 2017 (24th-25th of Lunar December)

    For Vietnamese people this means you have to literally sweep it out of your home. They believe that luck clings to dust and dirt. That’s why between the 24th and 25th of the last Lunar month (21st-22nd January 2017), families will start a huge spring clean of their whole house. Every spot of dust, overlooked stain and tatty old rag is scrubbed and cleaned to purify the house and avoid an unlucky year. 

    Day Four: Bringing home the New Year’s Tree – Hái Lộc Đầu Xuân
    23rd January 2017 (26th of Lunar December)

    Decorating the house is an important Tết ritual and the most famous decoration are blossoming fruit trees. Around the 26th of the last lunar month Vietnamese cities and markets are flooded with fruit blossom and kumquat trees. You’ll see them lining the streets and comically strapped to the back of motorbikes. It’s an old tradition that represents fertility and prosperity and signals a bountiful year ahead.

    Day Five: Wrapping Banh Chung – Gói Bánh Chưng
    24th January 2017 (27th of Lunar December)

     Learn meaningful during the days of Tet in Vietnam
     For many Vietnamese people Banh Chung are the quintessential Tết food. They are given as gifts to colleagues and friends and a good New Year’s dinner wouldn’t be complete without a Banh Chung or two on the side. Wrapping and cooking the Banh Chung has become an important part of the Tết holiday. Old and young will get together around the 27th of the last lunar month to pass on family recipes and techniques.

    Day Six-Seven : Stocking up on supplies and buying New Clothes
    25th-26th January 2017 (28th-29th of Lunar December)

    Families make a last minute dash for the markets to buy all the ingredients they need for the traditional Tet feasts before the markets close.

    A new year needs new clothes, particularly if you’re a child. Just like Vietnamese don’t want to start the new year with a house full of last years dust and bad luck, they don’t want to start the new year with clothes that might still be clinging to the old year’s bad luck.

    Day Eight: New Year’s Eve Fireworks, Family Time and Herbal Baths – Đêm Giao Thừa
    27th January 2017 (30th of Lunar December)
     Learn meaningful during the days of Tet in Vietnam

    Lunar New Year’s Eve is the real start of Tết for most families. Parents will eagerly await for family members to return from their work or studies in big cities and the streets are throbbing with people hurrying to complete last minute preparations.

    Herbal Baths: Just before the new year starts, it’s time to purify themselves. Many Vietnamese people believe bathing in water treated with medicinal herbs washes away all of the previous years misfortune and sets them up for a clean and prosperous New Year.

    Fireworks: In big cities up and down the country families will gather around lakes and rivers just before midnight to watch huge displays bring in the New Year. In some places locals perform dragon dances and carry whistles, rattles, gongs and bells to make sure those evil spirits think twice about ruining the New Year.

    Day Nine: New Year’s Day (Mồng 1 – Tết Cha)
    28th January 2017 (1st of Lunar January)
     Learn meaningful during the days of Tet in Vietnam

    New Year’s Day officially marks the start of Tết. The family have all come home and are catching up with stories of their time away. The cupboards are fully stocked and the kitchen is full of meats, sweets and soups. All that’s standing in the way of quality family time are a few rituals.

    Tet isn’t just a time for renewal, it’s a time for redistribution too. Family members who are earning a wage will put money into little red envelopes and hand them out to younger family members after the main meal of the day. Kids will spend them on treats and their education. In some families younger people also give lucky money to the old so they can give it back to the young or supplement their pension.

    Day Ten: The Second Day of Tết (Mồng 2 – Tết Mẹ)
    29th January 2017 (2nd of Lunar January)

    The first day of Tết really is for immediate families and families living in the same home. The second day is for extended family. The whole family will ride their bikes, cars or bicycles to their auntie’s, uncle’s, brother’s or sister’s homes to feast all over again, enjoy a few cheeky drinks and hand out lucky money to the kids.

    Day Eleven: The Third Day of Tết (Mồng 3 – Tết Thầy)
    30th January 2017 (3rd of Lunar January)

    The Third Day of Tết is for visiting family, friends and teachers. In years gone by this meant visiting their homes and enjoying another tết feast. 

    Day Twelve: The Biggest Meal of the Year (Hoá Vàng)
    31st January 2017 (4th of Lunar January)

    The last day of Tết is seen off with a bang as the 11 days of Vietnamese New Year Traditions come to a close. All of the special papers and food placed on the family altar over the past three days are collected in one place. The paper is burned as prayers and wishes are recited, sending the offerings into the other world. 

    To see more articles about culture, gastronomy, tourism in Vietnam:

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