Tet is the biggest and most popular festival of the year in Vietnam. Celebrated on the first day of the first month in Lunar Calendar, Tet’s celebration is the longest holiday which may last up to seven days.
Tet is the occasion for Vietnamese to express their respect and remembrance for their ancestors as well as welcoming the New Year with their beloved family members. Moreover, in the past, Tet was essential as it provided one of few long breaks during the agricultural year, which was held between the harvesting of the crops and the sowing of the next ones.
Every family will get together to have big meals, decorate Tet trees and eat Tet food to welcome the new year.
In an effort to get rid of the bad luck of the old year, people will spend a few days cleaning their homes, polishing every utensil, or even repaint and decorate the house with kumquat tree, branches of peach blossom, and many other colorful flowers. The ancestral altar is especially taken care of, with careful decoration of five kinds of fruits and votive papers, along with many religious rituals.
Everybody, especially children, buy new clothes and shoes to wear on the first days of New Year. People also try to pay all their pending debts and resolve all the arguments among colleagues, friends or members of family.
Like other Asian countries, Vietnamese believe that the color of red and yellow will bring good fortune, which may explain why these colors can be seen everywhere in Lunar New Year. People consider what they do on the dawn of Tet will determine their fate for the whole year, hence people always smile and behave as nice as they can in the hope for a better year. In addition, gifts are exchanged between family members and friends and relatives, while children receive lucky money kept in red envelope.
“Tet Festival 10” by Tom Hilton. CC2