Tet Vietnam is a cultural kaleidoscope of traditions, family, renewal, and an amazing celebration you must not miss. As the lunar calendar turns, homes burst with festive cheer, marking a time when communities gather to celebrate the essence of Vietnamese identity. What is Tet Vietnam? Tet, short for Tet Nguyen Dan, is the Vietnamese New Year celebrated with great enthusiasm and cultural significance. Falling between late January and early February, Tet is akin to the Chinese New Year, marking a period of familial reunions, festive traditions, and vibrant street decorations. During Tet, Vietnamese families gather for joyous reunions, homes are cleaned and adorned, and traditional foods are enjoyed. The celebration extends beyond mere calendar observance, embodying a spirit of renewal and forgiveness, making Tet the most cherished and widely celebrated holiday in Vietnam. Tet – Festival of the Spring (source: JP Traveltime) When is Tet 2024 & How long does it last? In 2024, the Vietnamese New Year, Tet Nguyen Dan is expected to begin on January 22nd, following the lunar calendar. The exact date may vary due to lunar adjustments, adding a dynamic element to this culturally significant event. Traditionally spanning about a week, Tet concentrates its main celebrations around Lunar New Year's Day. Vietnamese households engage in thorough cleaning, temple visits, and enjoying traditional foods during this time. The exchange of gifts and warm wishes adds a personal touch to the celebrations, fostering a collective spirit of unity, renewal, and shared joy among the Vietnamese people. The importance of Tet to Vietnamese people Tet Vietnam is an amazing celebration in Vietnamese culture, representing a pinnacle of cultural and familial significance. Tet signifies a time for joyous reunions, strengthening family ties, and engaging in cherished customs. Culturally, Tet is a period of homage to ancestors, with visits to gravesites and rituals honoring the past. Temples and pagodas become hubs of spiritual observance, and traditional foods, laden with symbolism, add a delightful dimension to the celebration. The exchange of gifts highlights the significance of generosity and goodwill. Traditional grave cleaning as Tet nears (source: Dan Tri News) On a broader scale, Tet serves as a unifying force, bringing communities together in shared celebration. The widespread closures of businesses and public offices showcase its societal impact, allowing people to engage in the communal spirit of Tet fully. The things Vietnamese people do in Tet During Tet Vietnam, people engage in cherished traditions and activities that contribute to the vibrant tapestry of the fantastic celebration. Here are some typical activities that you may see in Tet of Vietnam: Refreshing & Decorating The Houses In preparation for Tet, Vietnamese families embark on a tradition of refreshing and decorating their homes, a symbolic gesture reflecting the desire for a clean slate in the upcoming lunar year. This involves meticulous cleaning, arranging, and adorning households with flowers, symbols, and decorations, setting the stage for a joyous Tet celebration. Decorations at Vietnamese Tet Festival (source: Scooter Saigon Tour) Contrary to the pre-Tet preparations, it's a cultural norm in Vietnam not to engage in cleaning or decorating activities during the Tet period. This practice is rooted in the belief that such actions might disrupt the flow of good luck and blessings associated with the new year. Avoiding cleaning during Tet also aligns with the cultural understanding that individuals should refrain from engaging in strenuous or laborious tasks during the holiday. This approach emphasizes relaxation and the fostering of positive energy, allowing everyone to fully appreciate the significance of Tet as a time for gratitude and prosperity. Making Traditional Cakes Creating traditional Tet cakes, such as Banh Chung, is a cherished culinary ritual in Vietnamese households, especially during the Tet celebration that you must not miss. Banh Chung is a square-shaped sticky rice cake wrapped in banana leaves with mung beans and pork filling. To make this iconic dish, start by soaking glutinous rice overnight and preparing a mixture of mung beans, pork, and various seasonings. Layer the banana leaves, add a portion of rice, followed by the mung bean and pork mixture, then cover it with another layer of rice. After careful wrapping, the cake is boiled or steamed for several hours until it achieves a dense, sticky consistency. How to wrap banh chung with beautiful molds (source: Alongwalker) Glutinous rice symbolizes the solidarity and cohesion of the family, while mung beans signify growth and prosperity. The pork, seasoned with pepper and fish sauce, adds savory richness to the cake. The banana leaves impart a distinctive flavor and play a crucial role in preserving and enhancing the overall taste. Banh Chung holds a special place in Vietnamese culture, embodying the spirit of Tet and the values of family, unity, and good fortune. The tradition of making and sharing Banh Chung during Tet reinforces a sense of connection to cultural roots and serves as a tangible expression of the collective spirit. Participating in Tet Festival Games Participating in Tet games is a cherished tradition that brings families and communities together during the festive season in Vietnam. These games provide entertainment and create a vibrant atmosphere filled with laughter and shared joy. Among the myriad of games enjoyed during Tet, "Bai Choi" stands out, combining elements of bingo, singing, and acting to create a lively and engaging atmosphere. "Bai Choi" not only showcases the cultural richness of Tet but also serves as a cultural bridge, connecting generations. Another beloved pastime is "O An Quan," a strategic board game that not only entertains but also connects participants to traditional Vietnamese folk games, passed down through generations. "Nem Con," a captivating game of throwing a sacred ball through a ring, not only symbolizes wishes for a prosperous harvest in the upcoming year but also connects participants to the agricultural roots of Vietnam, embodying a cultural depth that transcends generations and brings an added layer of meaning to the festive atmosphere. Nem Con and other traditional games on Tet holidays (source: Vietnamdrive) "Tug-of-War" or "Keo Co" is a spirited game symbolizing the struggle between winter and spring, as teams engage in friendly yet competitive matches, showcasing strength and unity. "Di Cau Ca," a traditional shuttlecock-kicking game, adds a vibrant and dynamic physical element to the Tet celebrations, emphasizing not only the importance of activity and recreation but also the cultural significance of this ancient pastime enjoyed by both the young and the young at heart. Final thoughts Tet Vietnam is more than a celebration; it's a reflection of cultural values, family bonds, and collective spirit. From meticulous preparations to joyous reunions, Tet embodies renewal, unity, and hope, symbolizing the enduring spirit of resilience and optimism that characterizes the Vietnamese people.