Tet Holiday or Tet or Vietnamese New Year is the most important holiday of a year of Vietnamese people. Tet Holiday lasts from the 1st lớn the 3rd of the first lunar month. What meaning does Tet Holiday have? What activities vày Vietnamese people have before, on và after Tet Holiday? Maybe, activities on Tet Holiday in Vietnam are the matters that we need khổng lồ know.

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Tet begins for a new year, which is the time that people dream of a good future. đầu năm mới is an occasion that Vietnamese people express their gratitude khổng lồ their ancestors & benefactors & is also an occasion that the families reunite. This is also an opportunity that people relax và enjoy the beautiful scenery of spring, traditional dishes, tradition festivals, folk games and so on


Activities on Tet Holiday in Vietnam

Before Tet

Sweeping tomb

Vietnamese people have a notion as “living a house, dying a tomb”. A house is a very important possession for an alive person & a tomb is a very important one for a dead person. Before cleaning their houses, Vietnamese people clean the tombs of their ancestors and relatives. The Tomb-sweeping ceremony happens from December 8th to December 25th of the lunar calendar. Each family has its own rules, a family sweeps on the 8th, the other chooses the 15th & so on.

In Vietnam, dead people are usually buried according khổng lồ each area. On the chosen day, the members of the big family gather at the tomb area of their ancestors & relatives. Firstly, they lay out some offerings in the tomb area lớn offer to lớn the Earth God. After that, they sweep, clean & wash tombs. Finally, they plug in incense on each tomb.

On this occasion, families organize a rather big in the house lớn offer ancestors & relatives’ spirits and everyone eats drinks and talks to each other. In the meeting, everybody usually asks each other about health & business because some people seldom meet relatives, even 1 year. Thanks to this occasion, the kinship was strengthened.

Cleaning và decorating houses

On the Tet occasion, each family has khổng lồ welcome the ancestor & relatives’ spirits và visitors, so they clean và decorate their houses, especially altars. On the altars, there are usually have five-fruit trays and the branches of peach blossom (a kind of flower having a lot in North Vietnam in the spring) or apricot blossom (a kind of flower having a lot in South Vietnam in the spring). The tables và divans are covered flower cloths and mats. All are prepared carefully for a special occasion.

Farewelling the Kitchen KingsMeaning

The custom that worships Kitchen Gods belongs lớn the folk belief of Eastern Asia countries. The people in these countries including Vietnamese believe that there are Kitchen Gods in each home. These gods are responsible for running the housework. The people think that the gods help them have “full rice, warm clothes”. Every year, on December 23rd, the gods come back to lớn heaven lớn report khổng lồ Jade Emperor the good or bad things in the past year of the family. The families that carry out lots of goodness would be reward by Jade Emperor. On this occasion, each family organizes a ceremony khổng lồ farewell the Kitchen Gods coming back to the zenith. The ceremony shows wish khổng lồ have a peaceful and full life of Eastern Asia people.


Vietnam has 3 regions: North, Central, South. Each region has a little difference in offerings. The North has the votive consisting of 1 the Kitchen Gods’ picture, 1 three-carp picture (or 3 real carps), some money, 1 vase of flowers, 1 censer, 1 fruit tray, 3 glasses of tea, 1 plate of cakes & so on. The Central and the South vì not have 1 three-carp picture, instead of people use 1 picture of horse và stork.


All offerings are laid out on the table and are placed in front of the house. Homeowner burns incense, sets on the forehead và pray, “Today is December 23rd of the lunar calendar, we prepare offerings to farewell you to lớn return zenith. Please receive them và go the way peacefully. Please bless our family, in the new year getting khổng lồ full rice, warm clothes, & peaceful family”. The praying finishes, the homeowner put the incense up the altar and nods 3 times. Finally, the homeowner mix all votive into a pot & burned.

Erecting the New Year Tree

The New Year Tree (Vietnamese: Cây Nêu) is a bamboo tree with a length of about 5m or 6m erected in front of a house on December 23rd (in the North), 29th or 30th (in the South) & lowered on January 7th. There are many things put on the đứng đầu of the tree (depending on the local) such as a bag of betel leaves & areca nuts, a flute, some metal pieces. It is believed that the objects hung on the tree & the sound are in order lớn signal to lớn the ghost that “this place has the owner, vị not come to lớn disturb.” The offerings to offer in ceremonies erecting and lowering the New Year Tree include incense, light, flowers, tea, alcohol, và 1 boiled rooster. Subjects khổng lồ offer are the Landlord & the Earth God. The customs erecting the New Year Tree is only made in some locals today.

Going lớn the flower market

Starting on the 23rd, gardeners gather flowers at flower markets in the centers of cities và provinces. The markets are crowded with strollers & buyers on near “Tết” (27,28,29,30). The strollers go to the market to lớn feel the spring is coming, lớn take photos as souvenirs. The buyers themselves choose the most beautiful pots for indoor decoration on the “Tết” Holiday.

The flowers that symbolize spring are peach blossoms (in the North) & apricot (in the South). The flowers và trees that symbolize good wishes for the new year are marigold flowers và kumquat trees. Marigolds symbolize the wish getting lớn longevity (Vietnamese, marigold is called vạn thọ. Vạn thọ means longevity). Kumquat trees symbolize the wish getting khổng lồ prosperity (Because kumquat trees have so many fruits).

Going khổng lồ the fair

Every year, the fair usually takes place from December 27th khổng lồ January 5th of the lunar calendar. The fair hosts many exciting games such as bingo, shooting, throwing circle lớn the duck, etc. Usually, each district of the cities or provinces has its own fair. The fair is so crowded in the evening lasting from 6 o’clock lớn twelve o’clock. The fair attracts so many teenagers, even there are some teenagers almost presenting at the fair every evening.

Attending the Spring Flower Festivals

In addition khổng lồ attending the Fair khổng lồ play games, people also attend the Spring Flower Festivals to admire the old ornamental plants, beautiful flowers, artificial mountain- islands, country scenes zoomed out. On this occasion, boys and girls dress colorful clothes go up & down, sometimes stopping và look at beautiful flowers, old men watch the old ornamental plants carefully slowly, young couples are with children together happily.

Going to lớn the “Tết” Market

Every year, the “Tết” Market happens on December 28th, 29th & 30th of the lunar calendar (if enough month) or on December 27th, 28th, 29th (if missing month). In Vietnam, in addition to lớn modern supermarkets, there are still so many flea markets. On these days, buyers, sellers are crowded and busy at all markets because everybody needs lớn prepare everything for “Tết” days, especially food & because all markets vày not work on January 1st và 2nd of the lunar calendar.

Typical items of Tet holiday are parallel sentence, peach blossom (in North Vietnam), apricot blossom (in South Vietnam), marigold, Kumquat, pork, square glutinous rice cake (in North Vietnam) cylindric glutinous rice cake (in South Vietnam), pickled onion, pickled small leek, roasted watermelon seed, dried candied fruit. The goods of “Tết” are more expensive than normal days.

Welcoming ancestorMeaning

East Asian people, including Vietnamese people, believe that after death, the soul would be reborn as a human being, either going to heaven or going khổng lồ hell. Whether in heaven or in hell, souls also come back to lớn the human being’s world lớn enjoy “Tet”. Therefore, every year on December 30th (a full month) or 29th (a lacking month) of the lunar calendar, Vietnamese people organize the Ceremony Welcoming Ancestors (Vietnamese: Lễ Rước Ông Bà). The ceremony expresses deep gratitude lớn ancestors, which is one of the spirit beauties of Vietnamese people.

Offerings & the way laying out the tables

The offerings include lights, incense, wine, tea, flowers, fruits, & the foods are made from pork, chicken và duck meat. A typical traditional ancestor altar has 2 steps: a high step and a low step. The high step is for displaying lamps, incense, flowers, fruits; the low step is for displaying foods on the occasions of death anniversaries or Tet days. The offerings of the Ceremony Welcoming Ancestor are divided into several trays. Besides the trays are for the ancestor, there are trays for the Kitchen God (Vietnamese: Ông Táo), the Earth God (Ông Địa), the Gods of Wealth (Thần Tài), lonely souls (Cô Hồn). The tray for lonely souls is placed in the yard.

Conducting ceremony

After completing the table setting, the homeowner burns incense and goes to each tray to invite the gods, ancestors, relatives’ souls, và lonely souls to lớn come back to lớn the trang chủ to enjoy the meal. Separately, the homeowner invites ancestor, và relatives’ souls khổng lồ stay the house enjoy 3″Tết” days. At the kết thúc of the ceremony, people usually burn votive.

Welcoming the Kitchen GodsMeaning

According to folk beliefs, after a week of working and attending banquets on the heavenly courts, kitchen Gods came back to the earth khổng lồ run the housework. Therefore, every family organizes the ceremony welcoming them. The ceremony shows the gratitude and respect of families for kitchen Gods, who help families get to be warm and full. The gratitude và respect for the people whom they are grateful for is the good unique of humans.

Offerings and conduction of ceremony

The offerings of the ceremony are usually simple, flowers, tea, fruits, cakes, votive are fine. All offerings are placed on the table in front of the house. Homeowner burn incenses, sets on the forehead and pray, “Today is December 30th of the lunar calendar, we prepare offerings to lớn welcome you. Please enjoy them and bless our family, in the new year getting to full rice, warm clothes, và peaceful family”. The praying finishes, the homeowner put the incense up the altar & nods 3 times. Finally, the homeowner set all votive into a pot & burned.

Offering New Year EveMeaning

New Year’s Eve Ceremony takes place at the contiguous time between the old year & new year, at 12 pm on December 30th (a full month) or 29th (a missing month) of the lunar calendar. The meaning of this ceremony is lớn remove all the bad things of the past year to lớn welcome the good things of the upcoming new year. This is the most sacred time of the year for East Asia people including Vietnam.

Offerings & the way laying out the tables

Offerings usually include incense, lights, flowers, fruits, tea, wine, square glutinous rice cake (in the North), cylindric glutinous rice cake (in the South), a boiled yellow rooster and a plate of momordica cochinchinensis (Vietnamese: gấc, one of special fruit grown in South East Asia, especially in Vietnam. The local people usually use the ripe fruits for cooking sticky rice.) stick rice. Depending on the locality, the offerings are slightly different.

The offerings are laid out 2 trays. A tray is placed in the house, a tray is placed in the yard. The tray in the house is used to lớn offer the ancestor & deceased relatives. The tray in the yard is used to lớn offer the officer controlling the soldiers’ souls (Vietnamese: Hành Binh) & the officer controlling the civilians’ souls (Vietnamese: Hành Khiển). Every year, there are 2 new officers replace 2 old officers.

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Activities on “Tết” days

Vietnamese people are very respectful for three days of “Tet”. These three days are considered sacred. Each day is for a job, “The first day is for father’s side, the second day is for mother’s side, the third day is for teacher” (Vietnamese: “Mùng một đầu năm mới cha, mùng nhì tết mẹ, mùng cha tết thầy”).

On the first day, early in the morning, children & grandchildren wish “Tết” lớn parents và grandparents at home. Children và grandchildren usually get to lớn receive lucky money envelopes from their parents and grandparents. After that, people usually go khổng lồ visit the relatives of the father’s side. On the second day, people usually go lớn visit the relatives of the mother’s side. On the third day, people usually go to lớn visit teachers and friends. Thanks lớn visiting each other, skinship, teacher-student love & friendship are strengthened.

During these days there is always the least one person staying at trang chủ to be ready khổng lồ welcome visitors. On the altars always have incense-smoke. Offspring offers rice, tea water to ancestors & the souls of the relatives 3 times a day like when they are alive.

The first person visiting a house

According to lớn Vietnamese customs, the first person visiting a house (Vietnamese: người Xông Đất) affects the family’s bad or good results during the year. The person having a good name such as “Phước”,

Lộc”, “Thọ” (blessing, fortune, longevity) brings goodness khổng lồ the family. Besides the name, the person arrives the house firstly has khổng lồ good character such as happiness, kindness, tenderness. Someone having a bad name should not come to any houses.

Pick a bud at the beginning of the year

A bud is emerged from the tree trunk or from the axils of leaves. With the hope that everything would good develop in the new year, at the beginning of the new year (after the ceremony offering New Year Eve or early in the morning, on January 1st of the lunar calendar) people come big old trees in the pagoda or the village temple to lớn pick a bud (Vietnamese: Hái Lộc) khổng lồ bring back to hang in front the house or put on the altar. Nowadays this custom is carried out more popularly in the North than in the Central và South Vietnam.

Offering the end of Tet HolidayMeaning

To mark the over of the ‘Tết” Holiday và to farewell the ancestors và the souls of the relatives lớn the invisible world, on January 3rd or 4th of the lunar calendar, families organize the ceremony of finishing the “Tết” (Vietnamese: Lễ cúng Tất). The ceremony expresses the folk belief which believes that there is an invisible world, after the death, the human would reborn back the human world or live in the invisible world. The ceremony also shows gratitude and respect of offspring for the ancestors.

Offerings and the way laying out the tables

The offerings of the ceremony finishing “Tết” include lights, incense, alcohol, tea, flowers, fruits và the foods are made from pork, chicken và duck meat. The offerings are divided into several trays. Besides the trays are for the ancestor and relatives’ souls, there are trays for the Kitchen Gods, the Earth God, the God of Wealth, lonely souls. The tray for lonely souls is placed in the yard.


Completing the table setting, the homeowner burns incense and goes to each tray to invite the gods, ancestor, the souls of relatives và lonely souls to lớn enjoy the meal. At the kết thúc of the ceremony, the host prays and burns votive to farewell ancestors so that they come back to an invisible world where they are living.

Perform Launch CeremonyMeaning

To start the business for a new year và to have gods support to get success in business, people carry out Launch Ceremony (Vietnamese: Lễ thờ Ra Mắt). The ceremony shows wish to have a warm và full life of people.


Offerings usually have light, incense, flowers, tea, rice alcohol, square glutinous cake (in North Vietnam) or cylinder glutinous cake (in South Vietnam) 1 boiled rooster, 1 large bowl of rice soup, 3 bowls of rice soup. The offerings are placed on the table in front of the house.


After laying out the offerings, the host prays, “I am … I am living at … Today … We prepare the offerings, invite gods to lớn enjoy and please support us about business to lớn have a good result.”. After praying, the host burn votive. Then each person starts his job. A farmer can cut a bunch of grass lớn bring back lớn buffalo. A worker brings scissors, hammer to lớn cut, banging. A trader opens the shop selling a few items.

After “Tết”

From the 4th of Vietnamese New Year, festivals in early spring begin khổng lồ take place. Across 3 regions, there are 11 major festivals:

1.Hương Pagoda Festival (Hương Sơn, Mỹ Đức, Hà Nội)

The festival is held from January 6th to lớn the end of March of the lunar calendar. This is one of the largest and longest festivals in Vietnam. Visitors coming to mùi hương Pagoda not only take part in the journey to lớn the Buddha realm but also get lớn immerse themselves in the immense mountain river space.

2.Đống Đa Mound Festival (Hà Nội)

The festival takes place on January 5th of the lunar calendar. The festival is held lớn commemorate the glorious achievements of King quang Trung. This is an important national celebration. Đồng quang quẻ Pagoda near Đống Đa Mound is the place where happens praying ceremony so that the spirits of the souls of soldiers dying in the Đống Đa Mound Battle get khổng lồ come lớn the good realm.

3.Festival to mở cửa the seal in trằn Temple (Nam Định)

The festival takes place for 3 days, from the 13th to lớn the 15th of January of the lunar calendar. The ceremony starts at 12 pm, on the 14th. According khổng lồ history books, in 1258, during the reign of King nai lưng Nhân Tông, after victorying the Nguyên Mông invaders, the king held a party for three consecutive days & conferred titles for the people having merit. Since then, the succession kings have followed the tradition of opening seal every year to confer titles for the people having merit. Nowadays, people organize the festival to lớn remember the merit of trằn kings. People ask imprints for peace and happiness, & luck in the new year.

4.Yên Tử Festival (Quảng Ninh)

The festival starts on January 10th and lasts until the kết thúc of March of the lunar calendar. Yên ổn Tử is not famous for its beautiful scenery, ancient towers, pagodas but also the place where Trúc Lâm yên ổn Tử zen sect was formed. This is the center of Vietnamese Buddhism.

5.Tịch điền Đọi tô Festival (Duy Tiên, Hà Nam)

Happening from the 5th lớn 7th of January of the lunar calendar. The festival has the meaning of encouraging agriculture. This is a traditional cultural beauty. The Ceremony has had since the tenth century in the homeland of King Lê Đại Hành (941-1005).

6.King Mai Temple Festival (Nam Đàn, Nghệ An)

The festival takes place from the 3rd to lớn the fifth of January of the lunar calendar every year. This festival is organized to lớn remember King Mai Hắc Đế (? – 722). The real name of the king is Mai Thúc Loan, who was born và grew up at nam Thái commune, phái nam Đàn District, nghệ an Province.

7.Sình Village Festival (Huế)

The festival takes place on January 9-10. This is a traditional wrestling festival with a quality culture of Hue. The festival is not only a traditional spiritual element but also a fun & healthy activity full of chivalry, stimulating the training of health, courage, confidence & cleverness, especially with the young boys.

8.Đống Đa-Tây tô Festival (Bình Định)

Đống Đa – Tây đánh Festival takes place from 4 to 5 of January of the lunar calendar. The ceremony is the occasion khổng lồ celebrate illustrious Ngọc Hồi – Đống Đa victory và to remember soldiers of Tây sơn movement, especially King quang quẻ Trung. In addition to traditional rituals, the festival also organizes many folklore activities such as performing martial arts and battles drum of Tay Son, racing boats, singing opera.

9.Bà Đen Moutain Festival (Tây Ninh)

The Bà Đen Mountain Festival takes place from January 10 to January 15, also known as Linh Son Holy Mother Festival. This is one of the biggest spring festivals in the South. The majority of visitors come to pray the Holy Mother for the business having lots of conveniences and the family getting peace & happiness.

10.Bà Thiên Hậu Festival (Bình Dương)

The Bà Thiên Hậu Festival takes place from the 13th to the 15th of January of the lunar calendar. This is a folk festival with a quality cultural characteristic of the Southeast region. The majority of visitors come khổng lồ pray the Holy Mother for the business having lots of conveniences and the family getting peace & happiness.

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11.Đức Thánh nai lưng Festival (HCMC)

The Đức Thánh trằn Festival takes place from January 8 khổng lồ 10 at 36 Võ Thị Sáu, Tân Định Ward, District 1, HCMC in order khổng lồ remember the merit of Hưng Đạo Vương è cổ Quốc Tuấn (? – 1,300). Coming here, besides witnessing a traditional festival, visitors see special historical và cultural relics.