The origins of the Lunar New Year Celebration, or the Tet holiday as it’s better known locally, dates back more than 1000 years, starting in China before spreading to Vietnam and various agricultural communities across Asia. Traditionally, this time of year was one of the few extended breaks between harvest and the next crop rotation—the perfect time for a celebration.
Tet is short for “Tet Nguyen Dan” which literally translates as “The Feast of the First Morning of the First Day.” There are three notable components of this date: it marks the beginning of the New Lunar Year, the start of spring, and the official birthday of everyone in Vietnam.
The Tet holiday is all about starting afresh, forgetting about the past, and settling your debts and disputes.
Buy salt to wish good luck
This custom is more common in the North, on the occasion of the Tet holidays in the North the price increase is much higher than usual because there are many families buying salt for the Tet holiday. They believe that, the love will passionate like salty salt, meaning that they hope for the love and cohesion among the members.
Particularly in the South, there are also families who buy salt, but the meaning is completely different from the North. The Southern people often buy salt, rice, and sugar to fill the pots because they think that the New Year is full of those things, the year without worrying about lack of meals.
The red envelopes
There is an old story that there used to be a monster in China (youkai) that used to appear on New Year’s Eve, likes to rub children’s heads and cause children to have headaches, high fever, that parents don’t dare to sleep to watch. . There are elderly couples who give birth to a son. That New Year, there were 8 fairies walking through the house, knowing that this boy would have a disaster with youkai, so they turned into 8 copper coins to take care of the baby day and night.
After the boy fell asleep, the couple took the red paper and wrapped the money together, put it on the child’s pillow and went to sleep. In the middle of the night, the monster appeared, raising his hand to rub the head of the baby when the pillow shone with bright yellow light and made him run away in terror.
Peach blossom on Tet holiday
Have you ever wondered why people in the north don’t display apricot blossom on Tet holiday but they wear use peach blossom?
Peach Blossom is a type of flower symbolizing a god to protect people. Legend has it that, where peach blossom grows that will be the home of two talented gods, these two gods always help the villagers to ward off evil spirits. But when Tet came, they had to go to meet Ngoc Hoang, so the villagers used peach blossom branches to protect on Tet holiday.
Do not sweep the house
Since childhood, you have been told by your grandparents not to hold a Tet sweeping broom.
The ancients believed that on the 3rd day of the New Year, the things in the house were the money of the whole year, the more trash the house, the more money that year earned. So they are forbidden to sweep the “money” out of the house, if not followed, the whole family will become destitute.
How to “eating Tet”
For everyone, Tet is a special holiday because it is when the family gathers together, the work is put aside.
The whole year you can dress or eat not too good, but on New Year everyone must eat good food as dress well.
The view of the New Year is to eat the most delicious food, to wear the most beautiful clothes, and that has created the concept of “eating Tet”.
New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve is also the time when the ruler of the old year handed over the job to the new god, so families often present a tray of offerings to express gratitude for the god who brought warmth to their home, and also to welcome the new gods. However, due to time of erosion, there are not many houses still do this tradition.
Those are the basics of our Lunar New Year, but each region will have different customs. If your home has more engaging practices, please share with us your pride.
Every person in Vietnam shares the same birthday
Every person in Vietnam shares the same birthday and it’s celebrated after midnight on New Year’s Eve. So for the Vietnamese community, your age technically doesn’t change on the day you were born, it changes during the Tet holiday.
Fortune tellers advise business owners about when to reopen.
In order to optimize good luck, it’s not uncommon to refer to a fortune teller to assist in finding the perfect day to reopen a business in the new year.
The karma of your first visitor becomes your own.
This is a widespread belief in Vietnam and it is taken very seriously. In order to avoid acquiring bad luck, most families will choose a successful person to invite to their homes first.
Children can gamble with their lucky money.
Although gambling is illegal in Vietnam, kids are allowed to play games with their lucky money during the Tet holiday.