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    Discover The Traditional Customs of Vietnamese Tet

    1/10/2024 8:02:47 PM

    Experience the magic of Vietnamese Tet, the country's New Year celebration filled with love, hope, and cultural richness. Dive into the heart of traditions, family bonds, and festive joy, promising an unforgettable start to the lunar calendar. Explore the unique customs and local life during Vietnamese Tet for a truly immersive and meaningful journey. Plan your Vietnamese Tet adventure and discover the essence of this cherished cultural festival.

    I. Introduction

    Vietnamese Tet, also known as Lunar New Year, is not only an important holiday but also an important time in Vietnamese culture. Vietnamese Tet transcends beyond being a mere series of days off; it's a historical and spiritual occasion where all traditional customs of the Vietnamese people are resurrected and passed down through generations.
    The Traditional Customs of Vietnamese Tet 
    Vietnamese Tet serves as a platform for family feasts, and diverse culinary experiences, but more importantly, it's a time to honor ancestors, pray for a prosperous and happy new year. Rituals like offerings to the Kitchen God, house cleaning, flower decoration, ancestor worship, and making traditional cakes are deeply rooted in spiritual and cultural significance, demonstrating an understanding of traditional values and gratitude.
    On this occasion, it is also a time to shop for new clothes, visit temples, and bless homes for good luck. Each custom and activity carries profound meaning, creating an atmosphere rich in cultural heritage and family unity, providing an opportunity for the younger generation to learn and respect traditional values from their elders. 

    II. The Traditional Customs of Vietnamese Tet

    1. Kitchen God Worship 

    1.1 The Significance of Worshiping the Kitchen Gods:

    Worshiping the Kitchen Gods, one of the significant traditional ceremonies in the Vietnamese Tet, carries profound meanings of reverence and gratitude. It marks the end of the year and welcomes the new one, providing an opportunity for families to express gratitude to the deities safeguarding their household, ensuring peace and luck for the upcoming year.

    1.2 Preparations:

    Preparing for the Kitchen Gods' worship is not just a task but an opportunity for the family to unite. Individuals typically arrange the altar with care, placing offerings such as the ceremonial feast, golden lights, and symbolic items representing the deities. Arranging the feast with meticulous attention on the altar demonstrates respect and appreciation.
    Release Carp on the Kitchen Gods' Day 

    1.3 Ritual Execution and Enjoyment:

    The Kitchen Gods' worship day is not only a religious event but also a time for family togetherness. Family members gather around the altar, performing the rituals with faith and gratitude. Subsequently, they often share a meal, enjoying the atmosphere of joy and warmth. They share stories and memories from the past year, creating memorable moments in a traditional and familial ambiance.

    2. Cleaning and Decorating House

    In the lead-up to Vietnamese Tet, two essential traditions take center stage cleaning and flower decoration. House cleaning is not merely a practical chore; it holds profound cultural significance. Families engage in thorough cleaning as a symbolic gesture to sweep away any lingering bad luck from the past year, making room for good fortune in the upcoming one. This act represents a fresh start, eliminating obstacles and welcoming the new year with a clean and organized living space.
    Tidying Up the Home Neatly for Tet 
    Simultaneously, flower decoration is crucial in Vietnamese Tet preparations. Symbolizing vitality, beauty, and good luck, flowers are carefully chosen to adorn homes. In the North, peach blossoms are popular, while in the South, apricot blossoms take precedence, both symbolizing the arrival of spring. These floral arrangements not only beautify homes but also contribute to creating a festive and welcoming atmosphere, bringing a touch of nature indoors.
    Purchasing Flowers for Tet Decoration
    Collectively, the practices of house cleaning and flower decoration not only create a positive and vibrant ambiance but also signify the beginning of Vietnamese Tet with revitalized energy and cultural significance

    3. Cleaning and Decorating The Ancestral Graves

    This is one of the essential traditional customs, especially observed during Vietnamese Tet and other memorial days. This activity reflects a sense of reverence and respect for ancestors, constituting an integral part of Vietnamese culture.

    Cleaning and Decorating The Ancestral Graves
    When visiting the graves, families often bring spiritual offerings such as fresh flowers, fruits, traditional foods, and candles. These items serve as symbols of respect and gratitude, expressing the descendants' appreciation for their ancestors who have passed away.
    The process involves not only placing these offerings but also includes cleaning, decorating, and lighting incense. This creates a sacred atmosphere, fostering a sense of tranquility and closeness to the ancestors. Additionally, this is an occasion for family reunions, sharing memories, and preserving cultural values across generations.

    4. Wrapping Traditional Cakes

    “Chung” cakes and “Tet” cakes are indispensable dishes during the Vietnamese Tet. Every year, around the 26th of Vietnamese Tet, families begin bustling with the preparation of ingredients, “ Dong” leaves, and banana leaves to start wrapping these cakes. The ingredients for making these two types of cakes are familiar items such as glutinous rice, mung beans, pork, and more.

    Family Unity in Making Traditional Cakes Together
    "Chung" cakes originated during the time of the Hung Kings, who founded the nation and have remained an irreplaceable traditional dish. Typically, families will wrap several pieces of “Chung” cakes and “Tet” cakes to offer on the ancestral altar and present them as gifts to relatives and friends. The square shape of "Chung" cakes symbolizes completeness, prosperity, and satiety, while the cylindrical form of “Tet” cakes is a cultural beauty inseparable from the people in the South. The intricately tied cylindrical cakes are visually stunning.
    Families come together in full force to collectively wrap these cakes, engaging in conversations about the past year. Seated by the warm fireplace, eagerly awaiting the cakes to cook, they create moments filled with warmth, familial bonds, and sweetness as they approach the threshold of the new year.

    5. Tray of Five Fruits and Ancestral Worship

    On the ancestral altar of any Vietnamese family during Vietnamese Tet, a tray of five fruits, is an essential element. Each region has its unique way of arranging the tray, reflecting the beautiful cultural characteristics of that area. However, all versions convey a wish for a new year of peace, prosperity, and abundance compared to the previous one.

    Colorful Tray of Five Fruits for Tet 
    The ancestral worship feast during Vietnamese Tet also varies between regions. Typically, the offering tray is not overly elaborate, mainly serving as a gesture to remember the preceding generations. It embodies the noble tradition of the Vietnamese people to "when drinking water, remember its source." This ritual serves as a reminder to descendants about family traditions, the lifestyle that cherishes gratitude, and filial piety towards ancestors.

    6. New Year's Eve Traditions

    As the old year makes way for the new, families engage in a significant tradition on New Year's Eve. They prepare a tray filled with sticky rice, chicken, Chung cakes, betel nuts, and more, offering it as a tribute to the heavenly deities. This ritual holds immense importance, symbolizing the homeowner's gratitude to heaven, earth, and ancestors, accompanied by wishes for a new year abundant in luck and success, free from the burdens of the past.
    During this time, people partake in various traditional practices such as igniting fireworks and visiting temples. The vibrant sounds and lights of fireworks infuse an atmosphere of excitement and joy, setting the stage for the New Year. Families, particularly those following Buddhism, unite to seek blessings and tranquility from the Buddha at temples and shrines.

    Spectacular Fireworks Display on New Year's Eve
    New Year's Eve serves as a pivotal moment, not just marking the transition from the old to the new year, but also providing families with the opportunity to gather, pray, and envision a year ahead filled with happiness and achievements. It is a time to reaffirm familial bonds and preserve the richness of traditional values passed down through generations.

    7. Visiting and "Storming the House"        

    According to Vietnamese Tet tradition, if good things come to the family on the 1st of Tet, the whole next year will be full of blessings. Usually, a person with temperament, morality, and success will be the one who signals good luck to the homeowner and is invited into the house first. Vietnamese culture places immense significance on the idea that the initial visitor on New Year's Day is crucial in determining the family's luck for the entire year. So people should never walk into any house on the first day without being invited first. 

    Welcoming Guests: Hospitality Traditions During Tet
    The act of the first person entering the house on New Year's Day is often referred to as "storming the house", constituting one of the most pivotal rituals during the New Year festivities. This tradition underscores the cultural emphasis on auspicious beginnings and the belief that the energy of the first visitor influences the family's fortune throughout the coming year.

    8. Wishing Tet and Red Envelopes

    In the rich tapestry of Vietnamese traditions, Tet holds a special place, and the custom of wishing Tet beautifully encapsulates the essence of familial ties and respect. The age-old saying, "On the first day of Tet, visit your father; on the second day, visit your mother; on the third day, visit your teachers," guides the heartfelt exchanges during this festive season.

    The Beautiful Traditional Traits of Vietnam in the Early Days of the New Year

    On the first day of Vietnamese Tet, families focus on immediate relatives, extending wishes for health and prosperity. The second day is dedicated to the mother's side of the family, emphasizing well-wishes for peace and success. Respecting teachers, a cornerstone of Vietnamese culture is observed during Vietnamese Tet, with students expressing gratitude to educators.
    Simultaneously, the tradition of red envelopes, or "li xi," adds a layer of symbolic significance to Vietnamese Tet celebrations. Beyond the monetary value, these envelopes represent goodwill and positive intentions. The discreet exchange symbolizes respect, emphasizing the desire to avoid comparison between the giver and receiver.
    During Vietnamese Tet, families gather to celebrate the new year, extending wishes to grandparents and parents, often accompanied by the exchange of red envelopes. The envelopes, adorned in the color of luck, contain small amounts of money, symbolizing wishes for good fortune, health, and success in work and studies. Together, the customs of wishing Tet and the symbolic red envelopes underscore the depth of cultural values and traditions that endure through generations.

    9. Attending The  New Year's Mass

    The custom of attending the New Year's Mass is considered one of the cultural and spiritual beauties of the Vietnamese people within the series of Vietnamese Tet customs. During this occasion, people typically gather at churches or pagodas to express gratitude to their superiors and wish for a peaceful and joyful New Year, with favorable weather, smooth business, and prosperous endeavors.
    People eagerly go to the temple at the beginning of the year
    Beyond its cultural significance, attending the New Year's Mass serves as a personal journey toward tranquility, allowing individuals to cleanse themselves of the past and embrace the upcoming year with hopes of good fortune and positive experiences. This practice encapsulates the essence of spiritual renewal and optimistic beginnings as the Vietnamese community welcomes the New Year..

    III. Final words

    If you need a specific itinerary for your visit to Vietnam during Tet, let VietnamStay assist you. VietnamStay Travel stands out as a reputable local tour operator, dedicated to delivering unparalleled travel experiences in Vietnam. Allow us to be your gateway to an extraordinary Tet holiday filled with cultural immersion and unforgettable moments.
    Reach out to us today, and embark on a journey that promises not just a vacation but a truly memorable exploration of Vietnam during Tet. Let VietnamStay Travel be your trusted companion in crafting a Tet holiday that surpasses expectations.
    Check out our Vietnam tours here.


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