Tet is the Vietnamese Lunar New Year and the most important of all Vietnamese celebrations. Every family comes together to share large meals, decorate Tet trees and eat Tet food. All to welcome in the Lunar New Year which falls this year on 22nd January.
Tet is short for “Tet Nguyen Dan”, which translates to: “The first morning of the first day of the New Year”. Tet is ultimately a family celebration and the days surrounding it are carefully divided into who will be visited when. The first day is reserved for immediate family and parents. The second day for close family friends and relatives. The third day dedicated to your old teachers. From the fourth day on it is all about having fun, drinking and enjoying each others company. Not that this doesn’t also happen on the first days!
You are likely to be invited to celebrate with your Vietnamese acquaintances and neighbours during this time. In preparation why not learn some Vietnamese – Chúc Mừng Năm Mới! (Happy New Year!) – Pronounced: Chook Mung Nam Moi!
An essential part of Tet is paying respect to the kitchen gods and ancestors. Little tables with offerings of food, incense, and gifts made out of paper, are carefully prepared every day. Red “lucky money” envelopes are given to children, but to qualify as lucky money the 50,000 VND or 100,000 VND notes need to be new, clean and crisp.
Flowers are literally everywhere. The whole country is covered in red, yellow and pink.. The Tet tree is the Kumquat tree, beautifully equipped with bright orange fruit. These Tet trees grow extremely well in Hoi An and you may see trucks coming into town from all over the country to buy their trees here and sell them elsewhere in Vietnam.
Expect the last days leading up to Tet in Hoi An to be totally, crazy busy – especially around the markets.. Everyone is doing their shopping for the big celebration.
Remember, Tet is the happiest time of the year in Vietnam, everyone is joyous. This is absolutely no time for arguments, shouting, getting angry or criticising. Any of this would be a bad omen for the year to come.
Apart from that remember:
When invited to Tet celebrations in a Vietnamese home:
Green Shoots International School Campus
414/7 Cua Dai, Cam Chau District
Hoi An, Quang Nam Province