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What is the Vietnamese New Year?

Updated on February 9, 2013

Brief Description

Vietnamese New Year, also known as the Tết or Tết Nguyên Đán. It marks the arrival of Spring based on the Chinese calendar and is celebrated the same day as the Chinese New Year. It is the most celebrated holiday in Vietnam.

It usually takes place the first day of the first month of the Lunar calendar (and can last up to a week), usually around late January or early February. This year (2013) it falls on February 10th.

Everyone would greet another with, "chúc mừng năm mới" (pronunciation: dup mung numb mae) (Happy New Year).

Traditions

Tết is a national holiday celebrated by all Vietnamese, even in other countries beside Vietnam. Participants often participates in the following;

  • Cleaning their entire home
  • Cooking specials food
  • Visiting friend's and families homes
  • Worshipping their ancestors
  • Dragon dances (for those who can afford it)
  • Donating to local Buddhist temples
  • and my favorite, giving money to children and elderly people.


Ancestors

Most, if not all families have alters to show respects for the ones that have pass away. Many Vietnamese often travel back to Vietnam to celebrate the New Year with their families. They return to worship and pay respect to their ancestors.

The Celebrations

The first day of the New Year, children are given new clothes to wear on this day and they will receive a red envelope with money inside from older family members. One must never sweep on the days of Tet, as it is a sign of taboo. No one is allowed to enter a home without permission on this day.

The streets are filled with people making as much noises as they can. Drums, bells, gongs, and fireworks can be heard all around. There will be masked dancers parading the streets, often dressed in dragon custome with two or more dancers underneath.

I will try to update this with every Tet/New Year.

If you're interested in seeing a celebrations in the United State, check out any Chinatowns.

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