Vietnamese New Year – Tet Vietnam

By | April 5, 2022

Vietnamese New Year is an important festival for Vietnamese people; however, not everyone knows the origin and meaning of this festival. In this article, let’s find out What the Tet is?

1. What is Vietnamese New Year?

According to Wiki, the Vietnamese New Year (Tet Ta, Traditional New Year, or simply Tet) is Vietnam’s most important festival and holiday.

Tet is calculated according to the lunar calendar, so the Vietnamese Lunar New Year is later than the New Year (or Western New Year).

Due to the rule of 3 leap years of the lunar calendar, the first day of the Lunar New Year is never before January 21 and after February 19, but usually falls between these dates.

The entire annual Lunar New Year holiday usually lasts about 7 to 8 days at the end of the old year and the first seven days of the new year (December 23 to the end of January 7).

2. Origin of Vietnamese New Year

How the Lunar New Year originated is still a matter of debate. Most information suggests that the Lunar New Year originated from China and was introduced to Vietnam during the 1000 years of Northern domination.

But according to the story of Banh Chung and Banh day, Vietnamese people have been celebrating Tet since the Hung Kings, that is, before 1000 years of Northern domination.

In general, the Lunar New Year of Vietnam and China have mutual influence, but each country still has its characteristics.

Vietnamese New Year

3. Meaning of Vietnamese New Year

For Vietnamese people, the Lunar New Year is not only the transition period between the old year and the new year, but it also contains many spiritual and cultural meanings.

The old Lunar New Year was an occasion for farmers to pay respects to Earth god, Rain god, Thundergod, Water god, Sun god and pray for a year of favorable rain, wind, and seasons bumper membrane.

This is also an opportunity for people to refresh emotionally and spiritually so that the relationship with their loved ones is closer.

During the Tet holiday, families often gather to wish each other Tet, light incense together in memory of their grandparents and ancestors.

4. The Customs & Habits in the Vietnamese New Year

During the Tet, Vietnamese people have a lot of interesting and meaningful customs and habits, showing their cultural characteristics.

Farewell Ceremony of Mr. Cong, Mr. Tao

According to Vietnamese tradition, on the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month, families will celebrate the farewell ceremony of Mr. Cong and Mr. Tao to heaven to report everything in the owner’s house to the Jade Emperor.

On this day, people usually clean the kitchen, cook a tray and buy goldfish to offer to see off Mr. Cong and Mr. Tao to heaven.

Cooking banh chung, banh tet

Banh Chung and Banh tet are traditional Vietnamese dishes indispensable during the Vietnamese New Year and meaningful gifts for relatives and friends.

Therefore, many families, clans, and villages often gathered together to talk, pack cakes, and boil cakes all night in the days before Tet.

Clean the house

In the last days of the year, families in Vietnam clean and sanitize their houses and objects. This activity redecorates the home for Tet, but it also means rearranging the things that are not right, removing the old year’s bad things, and preparing to welcome the new year with lots of fortune and good luck.

Prepare Five Fruit Tray

The five-fruit tray placed on the ancestral altar is an indispensable cultural beauty in the Vietnamese New Year.

Each region will have different ways of displaying five fruit trays, using different types of Vietnamese fruits, but the ordinary meaning is to wish for a new year of peace, luck, happiness, well-being, and wealth.

Visiting ancestors’ graves

During the Lunar New Year, children and grandchildren in the family will also visit and clean the resting place of their ancestors and relatives together.

This is a common custom of the Vietnamese people, showing filial piety and respect for their parents and deceased ancestors.

New Year’s Eve Offering

New Year’s Eve offering is also an extremely important ritual, not to be missed during the Vietnamese New Year. On the 30th day of Tet, families often make decent dishes to burn incense to invite gods and ancestors to celebrate Tet with their families and at the same time to end an old year and prepare to welcome the new year.

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is the moment that many people look forward to during Tet. According to Vietnamese Culture, this is a time that heaven and earth have reconciled, and people become close to the gods.

Going To the Temple, Picking Fortune

Visit the temple and picking luck are indispensable activities during the Vietnamese New Year. Visit the temple at the beginning of the year is to pray for a new year of luck and fortune and show respect to Buddha and ancestors.

Broke Ground

After New Year’s Eve, entering the new year, whoever is the first to enter the house with New Year’s greetings is the one who breaks the ground. According to the Vietnamese concept, the person who breaks the ground at the beginning of the year is very important.

Hence, families often choose people suitable for their age, gentle, happy family, prosperous in business, and cheerful in character first to enter their home.

Happy New Year, Happy Age

When it comes to Tet, any child is eagerly waiting for the bright red envelopes. Going to wish Tet are indispensable activity in the first days of the new year.

Usually, on the first day of the new year, children and grandchildren in the family will gather together to enjoy some Vietnamese new year desserts and wish them a long life and celebrate the age of grandparents and parents.

After that, adults will celebrate their children’s age with red envelopes for good luck and wish them well, study well and be happy in the new year.


On the first day of the Tet, Vietnamese people often choose a beautiful time, a beautiful direction suitable for their age to depart, hoping to have good luck every time they leave the house.

Through this article, you must have understood better about the Vietnamese New Year and the origin and meaning of this important holiday, right?

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Category: Vietnam Travel Guide


Currently, I'm the founder and responsible for the content on Explore One Vietnam travel website. After many trips, I have accumulated a lot of experience in traveling to Vietnam, so I want to share these things with international tourists.

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