Tuesday, June 25, 2019 3:40 PM Vietnam Time GMT+7 |

TRADITIONAL TET HOLIDAY VIETNAM

Traditional Tet holiday has profoundly imbued to the subconscious mind of each person in Vietnam as well as people from many Asian countries such as China, Korean, and Singapore...
As a particular national festival. Annually, this is also the best occasion for people to relax with the stop of all daily businesses and enjoy the art and cultural performance. Particularly, this is an opportunity for those who are away from home to gather at the family-reunion dinner with warmth and coziness in order to have a chance to reflect on good and bad things that have been done and spend more efforts for a new year with much more success. Traditional Tet holiday is named as the Lunar New Year according to the lunar calendar (in contrast with New Year according to the solar calendar). Besides, it can be called as some other familiar names such as Tet Ta, (Eastern Tet contrast with Western Tet) or Tet Nguyen Dan in accordance with the Chinese Vietnamese language.
During the preparation time for the Tet holiday, the final week of the year is a significant period with the celebration of the Tet of Kitchen God. The Kitchen God holiday is held on 23rd, December. This is believed to be the day Kitchen Gods go to the Heaven and report all the fact about family housework during the year. These days, each family will buy votive paper of clothing to worship for the Gods and buy some carps which play the role of horses for God to ride to the Heaven. After worshipping, the votive paper is burned and the carps are released to a river or lake.

Tet atmosphere:

These days are great chances to experience the exciting atmosphere of the traditional Tet holiday on every street from the big cities to the small countryside areas. The beauty of pink peach flowers, of yellow apricot flowers is displayed in every corner of the streets leading to every family, which contributes to the vivid and picturesque painting of the biggest annual festival. Everybody seems to be in a hurry to complete all their business at the end of the year, especially those who are working far from home long for the day arriving home for family reunion. Every house is carefully decorated to welcome guests visiting at Tet holiday. The children are excited with the new toys bought by their parents. If lucky, you can meet an old scholar of Chinese-Vietnamese language, showing his Chinese ink and red paper to create the gentle and tender pairs of parallel sentences with his talented hand writing skill with desire of a happy and lucky new year coming to families.

Tet market:

The last market of the year is, not only in big cities but in small towns, full of happy and exciting atmosphere with colorful beauty of various flowers – peach flowers, yellow apricot flowers, lily flowers, and chrysanthemum, etc. everybody is in a rush of excitement to do the shopping of necessities before the closing of the last market day. The most favorite goods these days are the house decorations, clothing, and food as reserves during the holiday.

Traditional dishes:

In the ancient cultural beliefs of Vietnamese people, green Chung cakes in square symbolize for the Earth, and white Day cakes in circle symbolize for the sky. Legend has it that Chung cakes and Day cakes are originated from the reign of Hung Kinh who, has greatly contributed to build Vietnam country, has been worshiped as the “national ancestor” of Vietnamese people.
Chung cake is made of sticky rice with green beans and pork inside, and the outside cover is called arrowroot leaves. In order to create a nice chung cake, makers need to be carefully for the leaves not to be torn. The most important process to produce a tasty cake is boiling, which takes normally 10 hours for completion, the material for making fire should be dried firewood, and the fire should be neither too large nor too small and should be continuous, moreover, there should be someone to examine and add the evaporated amount of water. It is a really excited feeling to experience sitting by the boiling pot of chung cake especially in the cold winter.
Day cake is also made of sticky rice, however it requires less efforts to make than chung cake. The material should be the best kind of sticky rice, after cooked, the rice is crushed by a mortar and pestle; eventually, people shape the ground rice into circular cakes about the size of their palm.
Nowadays, Chung cakes and Day cake remains the role of the traditional dish for Tet holiday in Vietnam and recognized as the national cultural heritage.

Tet holiday traditions:

Worshipping for ancestors is the ritual for the every family to follow in order to remember our ancestors. In the first three days of the year, each family should prepare a feast to worship their ancestors then invite their relatives to enjoy.
Afterwards, they can arrange appropriate time to visit their relatives; regularly, people spend time visit the paternal family for the first day, and the second day for the maternal family, then the third day is for teachers and friends.
Xong dat (person firstly reaches the land) on the first hours of the new year is believed to bring the host family with good luck and fortune for the whole year, therefore, someone, whose year of birth is good for the host, can be chosen to do this task. While some people take this less seriously, they just observe what a guest in random can bring them that year.
Lucky money at the beginning of the year is widely cited as a beautiful traditional custom and culture of Vietnam in particular and other nations in the region with the hope of best regards and luck from early days of the new year. Lucky money is given not only in the first three days of Tet holiday but also even to the ninth and tenth day. The envelop itself also conveying particular meaningful messages symbolizes secret to avoid jealousness in happy Tet days. To Asian people, red represents good fortune, hence the envelop often has red color. In addition to having the meaning of secret, the envelop also expresses property that the more they give lucky money the richer they get.
More so, when guests drop in the house, they can not forget to give lucky money for the host’s children accompanying with best wishes for good health, luck and prosperity. It’s not about the value of money but dearest wishes for growth, good advance in study of children that red envelops convey.
Enjoy Tet holiday with full of flowers: Peach and apricot blossom seems to be the most popular kinds of flowers in Tet holiday symbolizing the Spring. Branches of Peach and Apricot blossoms flourish in the nick of New Year’s Eve with overwhelming colors of red and yellow representing cozy atmosphere. Peach flowers are as usual in bloom in cool, dry and a bit slightly rainy weather of winter and fall, which can be seen in the North, whereas, apricot blossoms open out in dry and sunny weather, which is a popular weather in the South. As a result, unlike Northern people who are interested in showing off peach flowers, Southern people enjoy having apricot blossoms. Kumquat with bunches of ripe and succulent fruits in living room is also another favorite with a symbol of happiness, well-to-do life and luck.  Furthermore, Marigold and Dracaena fragrans are often used to decorate ancestral altar for a healthier life, longevity and prosperity in New Year.
Tet holiday in Vietnam is commonly divided into 3 main moments with different meanings and requires the preparation of various ceremonies.
The first significant moment is Before New Year’s Eve when a New Year’s Eve party is prepared to worship the ancestors and then for the whole family to gather, have a nice party and bring back memories in the past year. Somewhere in the world, however, there are lots of people welcoming Tet holidays outside the country and far from their family due to insufficient economic condition or the border and island soldiers agree to sacrifice their happiness to the peace of nation.
Next is New Year’s Eve which is expected by everyone and marks the moment of transferring from the last year to the New Year. Somewhere is the clock counting down back zero and attached with bright and brilliant firework displays from everywhere and laughers and cheers from every corners of the world. The following is happy and cheerful faces with best wishes for family. Everyone is overwhelmed with happiness and joy to welcome New Year’s Eve for new things and luck ahead. First-foot is one of the traditional customs on Tet holidays. The host often considers who will be of compatible age and decides the first-footer in the New Year day according to 12 animal designations with the hope of luck and advantages in work. Enclosed with best wishes are red envelops that luck and prosperity can be given to receivers.
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