Vietnamese Tet Holiday
The year of Xin Chou 2021 (the year of Buffalo) has come. It has the meaning that we will have the occasion to celebrate a Lunar New Year and enjoy life after a full hard-working year. Especially, people who leave their homeland to work will return with their families to enjoy the Lunar New Year. All the best things are well-prepared during this holiday. Because anyone wants to ensure that they will have a new year full of happiness, success, and prosperity.
Tet holiday is usually from the end of January to early February. Officially, Vietnamese Tet holiday includes the 1st, 2nd and 3rd day in Lunar Calendar; however, local people often spend about nearly a month to celebrate this special event.
Vietnamese Tet Holiday is a special time to think about the last year and the new year has come (Photo: Internet)
Traditionally, people will decorate their house with hoa mai – Ochna integerrima in the Central and South parts of Vietnam. People believe that if the ochna integerrima blooms at the time of New Year’s Eve or early in the first day of new year will bring more luck, prosperity and happiness for that family.
Peach blossom can be seen at Nhat Tan flower garden, is a symbol of Tet in the North (Photo: Internet)
The North of Vietnam prefers a peach blossom for decoration on Tet days. The peach blossom not only works to ward off evil spirits but help everyone can stay healthy and peaceful in the new year.
Tray of five fruits – Mam Ngu Qua
Visiting a Vietnamese home during the Lunar New Year, you will see the presence of a five-fruits tray on the ancestor’s altar.
The five fruits tray of the South Vietnamese family has the meaning “Cầu sung vừa đủ xài” (Photo: Internet)
In the South, a tray of five fruits includes soursop, coconut, papaya, mango, and fig. Do you know the reason? Because they based on the homonymous phenomenon to set meaning for each fruit.
– Mãng cầu (Soursop) – sound as “cầu” in “cầu mong” (wish)
– Sung (fig) – sound “sung” in “sung túc” (well-to-do)
– Dừa (coconut) – sound “vừa” in “vừa phải” (overage)
– Đu đủ (papaya) – sound “đủ” in “đầy đủ” (enough)
– Xoài (mango) – sound “xài” in “tiêu xài” (spend)
The phrase “Cầu sung vừa đủ xài” means wishing to earn enough to spend and live in good condition.
Each fruit or each color of the tray both has a good meaning (Photo: Internet)
Unlike the South, the tray of five fruits of the North includes banana, pomelo, peach, persimmon, and mandarin. The ancients based on shape and color of each fruit to give it a meaning.
– Banana symbolizes for reunion.
– Pomelo symbolizes for security- good health and prosperity;
– Peach symbolizes for hope to the future.
– Persimmon symbolizes for richness.
– Mandarin symbolizes for success.
Red watermelon is a lucky symbol of Vietnamese Tet Holiday (Photo: Internet)
The decoration can not be completed without the presence of red watermelon. Vietnamese people choose watermelon to decorate on Lunar New Year because of its lucky red color. They believe that red color in the watermelon will bring well-being throughout the year.
Read more Watermelon: The lucky Symbol Of Vietnamese Tet Holiday
Parallel sentences carry a lot of good meaning like Health, Happiness, Luck & Prosperity (Photo: Internet)
One of the finest traditional customs for the Lunar New Year is hanging the parallel sentences which is written by a scholar on red or yellow page. People will hang the parallel sentences on the place of honor, usually on both sides of the entrance door or of the altar.
Here are two pairs of well-known New Year parallel sentences:
“Fat meat, pickled onions, red parallel sentences
New Year pole, strings of firecrackers, green Chung cake.”
Offer Land Genie and Kitchen God
Offer Land Genie and Kitchen God is a traditional custom on Lunar New Year (Photo: Internet)
On the 23rd of December on the lunar calendar, Vietnamese families maintain the habit of preparing a farewell ceremony to see The God of Kitchen to the heaven. The Kitchen God will ride a carp to fly back to the heaven to report everything happening in the house of the owner to the Jade Emperor. Until noon on the 30th of December (Lunar Calendar) or the moment of New Year’ s Eve, The Kitchen God returns every house to continue his job of looking after the stove in the kitchen.
Read more information about the legend of custom here
Wrapping Bánh Chưng And Bánh Tét
Bánh Chưng and bánh Tét are typical traditional cakes on the Vietnamese Lunar New Year (Photo: Internet)
In the North, local people wrap bánh Chưng which has a square shape with the main ingredients such as dong leaf, glutinous rice, mung bean, fatty pork, and black pepper, salt, sometimes green onion, and fish sauce for spices. Wrapped in a square green package, bánh Chưng symbolizes the earth.
Bánh Tét is another modified version of bánh Chưng from North part. However, the shape of bánh Tét is cylindrical not square like bánh Chưng. Bánh Tét is also made from the glutinous rice, mung bean, cooked pork.
Bánh Chưng and bánh Tét have been a significant activity that partially brings the warm Tet atmosphere of reunions among family members and neighbors. Many still remember the time when family members took turn wrapping and boiling the cakes.
Lunar New Year Eve
Lunar New Year Eve is the time “Passage from the Old to the New Year” (Photo: Internet)
On Lunar New Year Eve, the young often go out with friends to watch the firework performance. In another while, the elderly and adults stay at home making offerings. They always repair prepare one tray for outdoor worshiping to the Gods or homeless wandering souls. They also prepare another tray for indoor worshiping to the ancestors to pray for a new year of health, prosperity and luck to every family member.
The act of being the first person to enter a house is called xông đất, xông nhà or đạp đất (Photo: Internet)
Vietnamese people believe that the first person come to their house will determine their fortune for the entire year. To ensure good luck for the house, the first caller, means “người xông đất” in Vietnamese language, is normally required to have zodiac signs compatible with the host. He or she should also be successful and content with life.
Lucky Money in Vietnamese called “Li xi” is a little new cash put in a red envelope (Photo: Internet)
The significance of lucky money is that it symbolizes the wish of luck and successful in the new year, not quantity inside. In the past, it was presented just to the children. Now it is given to anyone as a way to express best wishes for the new year.
Going To Pagoda And Temple
Going to the pagoda at Lunar New Year is a beautiful Vietnamese custom (Photo: Internet)
Traditionally, during the first three days of the Lunar New Year, Vietnamese people go to pagodas and temples to pray for health, happiness and good fortune in the year ahead. This activity not only shows the aspirations for a happy and prosperous life but also the chance for Vietnamese to go back to their roots.
Above all, time to Vietnamese Tet holiday is counting down. In this New Year, I wish you achieved all of your goals in life, and get success at every step of life, enjoy a wonderful 2021. HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR – THE YEAR OF XIN CHOU.
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