Vietnamese New Year – Tet Holiday 2021: Everything You Should Know

tet holiday vietnamese new year 2020

Tet holiday in Vietnam or Vietnam Lunar New Year is considered the most important and significant festival. Calculated by the Lunar calendar, the Tet festival occurs later than the Solar New Year which is often at the end of January. This longest public holiday in Vietnam is a wonderful occasion for travelers to spend their Vietnam luxury tours experiencing the festive atmosphere as well as enjoying one of the most long-standing holidays in the world. Tet holiday 2021 is on February 12th, 2021.

The Meaning of Tet Holiday

Vietnamese Lunar New Year is celebrated to welcome the Lunar New Year, sum up what people did in the last year and tell about their changes, plans, and progress. Besides, the Vietnamese believe things they do on the first day of the New Year will affect the remainder. As a result, great attention will be paid to everything they do and every word they say. Moreover, Tet holiday may be the only time in a year all family members have a chance to gather after a hard-working year.

the meaning of tet vietnamese new year 2020

The Characteristics of the Vietnamese New Year

Vietnam Lunar New Year is NOT Chinese Lunar New Year

It is completely wrong to say that Vietnamese people are celebrating the New Year of Chinese. Despite the fact that Vietnam and China use the same calendar, Tet holiday in Vietnam has separate traditions and customs. Based on the ancient historical documents, in the 13th century, the Vietnamese used to celebrate Tet holiday by drinking traditional glutinous-rice wine, painting on themselves, using betel nuts to welcome guests, eating pickled onions and Chung cake.

tet vietnam in the past

During Ly dynasty (1009 – 1226), a lot of important rituals occurred such as constructing communal houses to crave abundant harvests or setting up a dome to pray for the rains. In the reign of King Le Thanh Tong (1442 – 1497), hundreds of mandarins had to gather at the royal court to celebrate Tet holiday with royal families.

Cuisine in Tet Holiday

Eating is the best way to celebrate Vietnamese lunar new year. One traditional proverb in Vietnam denotes that you can be hungry all over the year except three days of Tet. Dozens of delicious dishes will be prepared for the Vietnamese new year to worship the ancestors and feast all family members.

Chung Cake

This traditional cake used to appear only on Tet holiday. Chung cake is made from familiar ingredients to Vietnamese people including pork, green beans, and sticky rice; wrapped in many layers of green leaves and boiled in about 12 hours. According to the legend, Chung cake reflects the image of the earth as it is the rich mix of Vietnamese agriculture and the characteristics of Vietnamese people.

make chung cake for tet vietnam 2020

Pickled Onions

During Lunar New Year in Vietnam, there are a lot of fat and oiled foods which can cloy the appetite. Pickled onions are created to help the digestive system digest foods more easily. Some Vietnamese people consider that Tet holiday must have three main things: fat meat, pickled onions, and red distiches.

cuisine at lunar new year in Vietnam

Furthermore, there is a lot of iconic foods that inspire the taste in different regions on Tet holiday such as spring rolls, jams, boiled chickens, Vietnamese sausages, steamed sticky rice and so on.

Tet Holiday’s Mascots

Vietnamese Zodiac Signs

Each year has its own symbolic animal. 12 zodiac signs in Vietnam are different from 12 ones in China (The 4th zodiac animal in Vietnam is Cat while the 4th in China is Rabbit). Every zodiac sign will bring its own lucky during the year so it can be seen everywhere in Vietnam through outside decorations and advertisement banners.

Trees & Flowers on Tet Holiday

Apricot blossoms in South Vietnam and peach blossoms in North Vietnam are also the symbols of Vietnam Lunar New Year. The pink peach blossoms will bring the luck while the yellow of apricot blossom will deliver the fortune to owners.

peach blossom tet holiday in vietnam

Tray of Five Fruits

It is a tray of 5 different fruits such as grapefruits, bananas, oranges, and some tropical fruits. Although other regions choose other fruits, the fruit tray is still used to express the host’s wish through their colors, names, and arrangements.

How is the Vietnamese New Year Celebrated?

Before Tet Holiday – The Preparation

Tet Ong Cong, Ong Tao (Gods and Goddess of Kitchen)

On December 23rd in the lunar calendar, the Vietnamese prepare a traditional offering with carps to three gods in their kitchen. The carps then will be released into a nearby lake or river and they will be used by the Gods as their transportations to reach heaven. At the heaven, the Gods will report everything of their family in the year to the Jade Emperor. They will return to their kitchen on the last day of the year to celebrate Tet holiday with the host. The carps will become dragons after this journey.

prepare offerings to gods of kitchen in vietnam tet

Cleaning the House

Vietnamese New Year is sometimes called by a fun name “house-cleaning festival”. About one week before the New Year’s Eve, all family members clean and the house, garden, and altars as well as redecorate them. Broken things are repaired and colorful led lights are bought. These preparations have the same purpose to welcome the New Year and receive fortune as well as luck.

Last Day of the Year & New Year Eve

A grand banquet will be prepared for all family members on the last day of the year. The warm ambiance of the reunion is always the happiest and most wonderful ever. In New Year Eve, young people often go out to watch the fascinating firework while adults and the elderly stay at home and prepare offerings of pig’s head, a bowl of rice, a plate of salt, and boiled chicken for indoor worshipping to the ancestors and outdoor one to the Gods. Then they will pray for all family members a new year of health, luck, and fortune.

grand banquet in tet 2020

Later, young people return home after the firework and become the first people visiting the house in the New Year. People believe that their wishes for the host will come true. Next, all members gather again to drink some wine or juice. Their goals and plans for the New Year will be shared with others.

During Tet Holiday

Vietnamese New Year traditionally lasts for 3 days. People usually stay at home to welcome honor guests or visit neighboring and relative houses. Old people will receive wishes for age and health, adults will receive the ones for success and fortune while the children will receive lucky money wrapped in red envelopes. Happy talks and laughs can be heard everywhere during Tet Holiday. In addition, the Vietnamese like to visit pagodas on Vietnamese Lunar New Year. They will donate money and ask for letters to receive fortune and lucks.

activities during vietnam new year

After Vietnamese New Year

Tet Holiday ends when votive papers are burned and offerings are shared for family members. It is time to participate in fascinating festivals all around the country such as buffalo fighting, wrestling, and lion and dragon dances. Festivals will be taken place for a month after Vietnamese Lunar New Year so travelers can have a chance to attend and experience them as much as possible.

activities after tet festival

The Dates of Tet Holiday & Corresponding Zodiac Signs

YearVietnamese Lunar New Year DateVietnamese Zodiac Sign
20002000-02-05Dragon
20012001-01-24Snake
20022002-02-12Horse
20032003-02-01Goat
20042004-01-22Monkey
20052005-02-09Chicken
20062006-01-29Dog
20072007-02-18Pig
20082008-02-07Rat
20092009-01-26Buffalo
20102010-02-14Tiger
20112011-02-03Cat
20122012-01-23Dragon
20132013-02-10Snake
20142014-01-31Horse
20152015-02-19Goat
20162016-02-08Monkey
20172017-01-28Chicken
20182018-02-16Dog
20192019-02-05Pig
20202020-01-25Rat
20212021-02-12Buffalo
20222022-02-01Tiger
20232023-01-22Cat
20242024-02-10Dragon
20252025-01-29Snake
20262026-02-17Horse
20272027-02-06Goat
20282028-01-26Monkey
20292029-02-13Chicken
20302030-02-03Dog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *