Lunar new year (Tết Nguyên Đán)

Tết Nguyên Đán
Tết Nguyên Đán

Tết Nguyên Đán, more commonly known as Tet in Vietnam, is the most important and the biggest holiday in Vietnam.

>>Vietnam International New Year Day

  • Honoring: Grandparent, Kin, and Ancestor.
  • Scale: Nation-wide.
  • Time: The 30th day of the twelfth lunar month of the previous year to the 3rd day of the first lunar month of the new year.
  • Feature: Biggest national festival – The whole people take part in.

Origin of Lunar new year (Tết Nguyên Đán)

Tết Nguyên Đán, more commonly known as Tet in Vietnam, is the most important and the biggest holiday in Vietnam. It is the Vietnamese New Year marking the arrival of spring based on the Lunar Calendar. In Chinese history, Tet originated from the 2852 to 2205 BC and was adjusted in each period.

Tết Nguyên Đán
Tết Nguyên Đán

Before 1967, Vietnam takes Beijing’s time for the standard time of Lunar Calendar. In the 8 August, 1967, Vietnam’s government issued the policy to take the GMT +7 zone as standard. Since then, Tet is celebrated on the same day as Chinese New Year, though Beijing is advantaged one hour.


Tet is celebrated from the first day of the first month of the Lunar calendar (around late January and early February) until at least the third day. It is the first and foremost part of Vietnam’s traditional festival systems which holds the plentiful and profound contents in terms of ritual and festival. There are lots of customs practiced during Tet, such as visiting a person’s house on the first day of the new year, ancestral worshipping, wishing New Year’s greetings, giving lucky money to children and elderly people, and opening a shop.

Tết is also an occasion for pilgrims and family reunions. During Tết, Vietnamese visit their relatives and temples, forgetting about the troubles of the past year and hoping for a better upcoming year.

Vietnamese people usually return to families during Tet. All the office, factory, school, and construction are subjected to be off for some day and be flexible in arranging their work during the holiday.

The most typical feature of Tet is the preparation in each family. Every family redecorate their house with new painting, buying new outfits, welcoming their relatives to come back home.  People mainly buy pictures, parallel sentences, flowers and trees. The main flower of North Vietnam is peach blossom; the South is yellow apricot blossom. Besides, they also use kumquat to decorate the living room.

Tết Nguyên Đán
Tết Nguyên Đán

The Tet atmosphere clearly begins from the 23th of the last lunar month. That is the time for the God of Kitchen to return to Heaven to report what happened in the whole year to the Jade Emperor. In the feudal period, the duration of Tet is often from the 23 December (one week before Lunar New Year’s Eve) until the 7th of January (one week after Lunar New Year’s Eve). Every work of the court is paused in this time. Nowadays, the holiday time is organized more properly and suitable for the modern life, which helps in terms of economics and politeness in order to be more corresponding to the industrial time.

Tet holiday is for people to have rest, enjoy their time, visit relatives, and join festivals, therefore, everybody needs to well dress. The first day of Tết is reserved for the nuclear family. Children receive a red envelope containing money from their elders. This tradition is called mừng tuổi (happy new age) in the north and lì xi in the south. Usually, children wear their new clothes and give their elders the traditional Tết greetings before receiving the money. There are also public performances for everyone to watch. The celebrations can last from a day up to the entire week, and the New Year is filled with people in the streets trying to make as much noise as possible using firecrackers, drums, bells, gongs, and anything they can think of to ward off evil spirits.