In Vietnam, Tet in the Lunar Calendar is by far the biggest celebration on the national calendar. Tet is a traditional rite to celebrate the coming of spring. It is normally falling between Jan and Feb. The first three days of the New Year are official holidays, but the most expected event that all visitors want to join is New Year’s Eve. This is the one night that Tet becomes a boisterous celebration; the rest of the time is for family and relatives.
It’s said that on 23rd Dec (of Lunar Calendar) Tao Quan, the three Spirits of the Hearth found in every kitchen, ascend to the heavens to report on the last year’s events to the Jade Emperor. Altars, laden with offerings, are assembled in preparation for the gods’ departure, in the hope of receiving a good report and ensuring good luck for the whole family in the next year. People visit cemeteries and invite the spirits of dead relatives home for the celebrations. Absent family members will come back home and the whole family can celebrate Tet together.
Kumquat trees, peach blossoms (means “hoa dao”), and apricot blossoms (means “hoa mai”) are popular throughout the country. Peach blossom is a symbol of the north while apricot blossom is popular in the south. Especially, Nguyen Hue road in Ho Chi Minh City is becoming an annual Tet flower market. In Hanoi, you can find a massive peach blossom and kumquat tree market at the area near Hang Dau Street and Hang Ma Street. Another famous place is Nhat Tan flower garden, the biggest flower garden in Hanoi.
On New Year’s Eve, let’s get ready for parties, noise and crowded areas. According to the ancient legend, the Tao Quan is going to come back the earth on this night. At the midnight, when the hour hand of clock reaches at 12, all problems and bad luck of the old year are left behind and start a new year with luck, health and prosperity. Firework is used in big cities to celebrate the New Year’s Eve.
The events of New Year’s Day are important as it’s said they affect the course of life in the whole year ahead. People will not be rude or show anger. and it’s vital that the first visitor of the year to each household is suitable. They’re usually male – best of all is a wealthy married man with several children. This is not always but sometimes foreigners are invited as the first visitor of the house.
Remember to say: “Chúc Mừng Năm Mới” or Happy New Year to everyone.
In addition, you also can visit amazing islands and grottoes of Ha long Bay in the North or grab a bike in Ho Chi Minh City and tour the Mekong Delta in the South.