VBH Guide to Vietnamese TET New Year & The Year of the Rooster…

2017 represents the Year of the Rooster according to the zodiac. rooster

To the Vietnamese, the Rooster is one of the most important animals that govern human life. It’s an essential protein for nourishment but is also often used as an offering for festivals, funerals or any occasion of worship. They are also the perfect alarm clock (although this depends on who you ask!). Roosters naturally coo every two hours in the night reminding people when to sleep and also when to wake up for work!

Personalities of those born in the Rooster year are said to be quite flamboyant, feisty and tenacious! Roosters tend to strut their stuff and are quite proud. They put great stock into their appearance and often surround themselves with beautiful people. With that said, Roosters are incredibly friendly and like meeting new people. They are also hardworking and trustworthy!

The Lunar New Year is almost upon us here in Vietnam. If you’re planning a visit in Vietnam during the New Year/TET, keep reading on for our guide on what TET is, traditions/customs and how it affects your travels.

What is TET?

Tet Nguyen Dan (Tet) is considered the biggest and most popular festival of the year in Vietnam. Celebrated on the first day of the first month in Lunar Calendar, it’s Vietnam’s longest holiday, lasting up to seven days. TET is the occasion for the Vietnamese to express their respect and remembrance for their ancestors while also welcoming the New Year with their beloved family members – think of it like a combination of Christmas & New Years! Also, the Vietnamese consider what they do on the dawn of TET will determine their fate for the whole year!

When is TET?

Vietnamese New Year occurs somewhere in the last ten days of January or the first twenty days of February, nearly halfway between winter solstice and spring equinox. This year TET falls on January 28th, with celebrations starting on January 26th and continuing until February 1st.

Vietnamese New Year Customs

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  • Clean and decorate the home – It is a common belief that cleaning the house will get rid of the bad fortunes associated with the old year.
  • Getting new clothes – This is typically the most exciting part of celebrations for the children. Parents will often purchase clothes & shoes for their children prior to New Year, however the children should wait until the first day of the New Year to wear them.
  • Starting the New Year debt and argument free – The Vietnamese try to pay all their pending debts and resolve all the arguments among colleagues, friends or members of family.
  • Apricot and Peach flowers – Flower buds and blossoms are the symbols for new beginnings and a result these distinctive flowers are widely sold and purchased in the lead up and during TET.
  • Giving away red envelopes (filled with lucky money!) – A cultural practice that has been maintained for generations, these red envelopes symbolise luck and wealth.

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Special Foods

Some local foods that are eaten during TET include traditional food such as Red sticky rice (Xôi Gấc), Vietnamese Sauage (giò chả), Square Cake, (Banh Chung/ Banh Tet).

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How this affects you?

Prices do increase due to TET and surcharges may be added on top of the original prices. You should work out your travel plans carefully and apply for visas as soon as possible to avoid the unnecessary delay of flights, bus or train travel. Vietnamese embassies, visa-issuing authorities, consultants and immigration offices will be closed from January 25th to February 2nd.

Places to avoid during TET

Even though it would be tempting to go to say the Perfume Pagoda, a famous Buddhist shrine in Vietnam, these kinds of places can become extremely busy and travel can be a complete nightmare.

It’s also very important to note that some restaurants, museums, art galleries, and everything else in between will be closed during Tet, so it can be a difficult time of year to do anything. Stock up whenever you can, go with the flow and enjoy the atmosphere!

Chúc mừng năm mới/Happy New Year from all the crew at VBH 🙂

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