As many of you have already booked the tour to Vietnam in the Lunar New Year called Tet Holidays. After reading many advices in travel forums that you should not to be in Vietnam during this time you might be worried. Is it a mistake?
For me, it is the great time to experience this beautiful culture. What you should know about this special occasion?
Tet is not just a New Year festival in Vietnam,
It is the time for all Vietnamese to come home for a family reunion
Time for the children to receive sweets, lucky money and dress up, time for everybody to party all day and to have fun.
Tet is when the precious local culture nourished
Time to leave behind all sadness and difficulties.
Time for us to thank ancestor and parents for giving us the chance to be in this world.
Tet reminds us how wonderful this life is, just like the flowers in bloom.
You are all welcome to any Vietnamese home to share the best moments in our lives.
There are so many things that we do to celebrate this special tradition but I would give you some important ideas so that you know what to expect in Tet.
Most houses will be well decorated with lots of daisy and apricots in the front yard and there always be a big vase of apricot branch on the main table in the living room.
The Ancestor altar will be offered with 5 kinds of lucky fruits based on their names that match the meanings of happiness and prosperity (this tradition is in the Southern and central area) while in the North they will offer Bananas as a must. And a vase of red lily or daisy with some fragrant incense sticks.
“Welcome ancestor Ceremony” is usually happened 1day before New Year eve to invite the ancestors to come back home to join the celebration.
The First day of the New Year is the day for the Family. Time to visit and thank our parents for everything they did. Grown up children will give parents money and gifts to show their gratefulness. Every family member will have to place an incense stick on the ancestor’s altar.
The second day the Vietnamese normally visit their teachers to thank for the knowledge that they gave us.
The third day is the day we visit friends, neighbours etc.
As a guest, when you come to visit local family in the New Year, you will see we firstly give the best wish with happiness and
good health for the New Year to the host. Then Children will also take their turns to give wishes to adult and they will get the wishes back together with “Li xi” Red envelop with little lucky money.
Then they will offer hot tea with sweets and fruits jams in the front sitting area.
Then you will continue to be offered drinks with rice alcohol or beers and it normally goes with lots of traditional dishes such as Thit Kho Tau in the South (stewed pork in coconut juice and caramel sauce, served with wasabi cabbage pickles) or Thit Dong in The North (cold sauteed pork hocks with mushrooms, black pepper and shallot, served with shallot pickles. Or Pork / Beef Tenderloin pickled in Fish sauce. And together with Banh Chung (square sticky rice cake) or Banh Tet (Long sticky rice cake) and water melon.
You should not be surprised if every house you visit they offer the same dishes as this food are also the traditional offerings to the ancestors.
Beside that The Vietnamese eat lots spring rolls, ham, dried shrimps for starter and chickens and beef as main courses in the New Year.
Before leaving they will say thank to the host again and send the wish for good health as it is one of the nicest thing that they love to hear.
And this process happen again and again when you come in every house.
Happy Lunar new year and enjoy!
Come&Go Vietnam Team