Vietnamese traditional Tet holiday

During the Vietnamese traditional Tet holiday, families gather to clean their homes, prepare special dishes, and pay homage to ancestors. The festive atmosphere of Tet fills the air with excitement, as streets come alive with colorful decorations, fireworks, and joyful celebrations.

Vietnamese traditional Tet holiday

Tet, or the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, stands as one of the most significant and cherished holidays in Vietnamese culture. It marks the beginning of a new lunar year, bringing with it a time of reflection, reunion, and renewal. In this article, we delve into the rich traditions of Tet, exploring its customs, rituals, and the profound significance it holds for the Vietnamese people.

Historical and Cultural Background

Tet has its roots deeply embedded in Vietnamese history and culture, dating back thousands of years to ancient agricultural rituals and lunar calendar observances. Over time, Tet evolved into a complex and multifaceted celebration, blending indigenous customs with influences from Chinese Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Today, Tet serves as a reflection of Vietnam’s cultural heritage and national identity, embodying the values of family, community, and tradition.

Preparation and Cleaning

The weeks leading up to Tet are filled with anticipation and activity as families prepare for the upcoming festivities. One of the most important customs is cleaning and decorating the home to welcome the new year and bid farewell to the old. Houses are thoroughly cleaned to remove any accumulated bad luck or negative energy, while colorful decorations such as peach blossoms, kumquat trees, and traditional New Year’s banners adorn doorways and living spaces, symbolizing prosperity and good fortune.

Traditional Foods and Culinary Delights

Food plays a central role in Tet celebrations, with families preparing elaborate feasts and special dishes to share with loved ones. Traditional Tet foods hold symbolic significance, representing wishes for luck, happiness, and abundance in the coming year. Some popular Tet dishes include banh chung (sticky rice cake), banh tet (cylindrical glutinous rice cake), pickled onions, boiled chicken, and various types of sweet treats and dried fruits. Sharing meals with family and friends during Tet fosters a sense of unity and connection, strengthening bonds and creating lasting memories.

Visiting Ancestors’ Graves and Paying Respects

Tet is also a time for honoring ancestors and paying respects to departed loved ones. Families often visit ancestral graves to clean and decorate them, offering prayers, incense, and symbolic offerings as a gesture of remembrance and gratitude. This tradition, known as “ông bà cháu,” reflects the belief that the spirits of ancestors play a vital role in protecting and guiding the living, ensuring prosperity and blessings in the new year.

Giving and Receiving Li Xi (Lucky Money)

A beloved Tet tradition, particularly among children, is the exchange of li xi or lucky money. Red envelopes containing money are given as gifts to children, younger relatives, and friends as a symbol of good luck, prosperity, and blessings for the new year. The act of giving and receiving li xi reinforces the spirit of generosity, kindness, and well-wishing that characterizes Tet celebrations.

Fireworks and Festivities

Tet culminates in a grand celebration on New Year’s Eve, marked by fireworks, music, and communal gatherings. Streets are filled with revelers enjoying street performances, traditional music, and dance shows. Fireworks light up the sky, symbolizing the banishment of evil spirits and the ushering in of a new beginning. The festive atmosphere continues into the early hours of the morning as people welcome the dawn of the new year with hope, optimism, and joy.

Reflection and Renewal

Beyond the festivities and revelry, Tet is a time for reflection and renewal, offering an opportunity to set intentions, make resolutions, and envision a brighter future. It is a time to express gratitude for blessings received, seek forgiveness for past wrongs, and embrace the promise of a fresh start. As Vietnamese families gather to celebrate Tet, they carry forward the rich traditions and cultural legacy that have been passed down through generations, ensuring that the spirit of Tet endures for years to come.


During the Vietnamese traditional Tet holiday, families gather to clean their homes, prepare special dishes, and pay homage to ancestors, fostering a sense of unity and connection. The festive atmosphere of Tet fills the air with excitement, as streets come alive with colorful decorations, fireworks, and joyful celebrations, marking the beginning of a new lunar year with optimism and hope for the future.. Tet, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, is a time-honored celebration steeped in tradition, symbolism, and cultural significance. From the preparations and rituals to the feasting and festivities, Tet brings families and communities together to usher in the new year with hope, joy, and gratitude. As Vietnam continues to evolve and modernize, Tet serves as a cherished reminder of the country’s rich heritage and enduring values, uniting people in a spirit of love, unity, and renewal.

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