In 2019, Tet falls at the start of February, and many people may tell you that it’s not a good idea to travel to Vietnam during this time.
However, Tripfuser’s GRACE HOMER is here to tell you exactly how you can dive into the vibrant celebrations and make the most of being a part of this wonderful time of year in Vietnam. Also, what you should bear in mind to make sure you are respectful of this important holiday in the Vietnamese calendar.
Tet 2019 in Vietnam: 5th February 2019
Official observed dates: 2nd February 2019 - 10th February 2019
Firstly, what is Tet? Short for T?t Nguyên ?án, Tet is the Vietnamese New Year. It is also referred to as Chinese New Year as it is similar to the Chinese calendar, however, the people of Vietnam celebrate Tet based a separate Vietnamese calendar.
Tet is considered by locals to be the biggest and most important in their national holidays. Most of the Vietnamese pause their busy lives during this holiday and travel to be with their family members all across the country.
How is Tet celebrated in Vietnam?
The lead up
If you’re in Vietnam during the lead up to Tet, you’ll notice how many of the Vietnamese work to rid their homes of any bad fortune. This can be done through thorough cleaning, buying new clothing, resolving arguments and paying debts. The rush to tie up any loose ends is because Tet Nguyen Dan literally translates as ‘the first morning of the first day of the new year’ - just like much of the western world make new year’s resolutions, the Vietnamese make sure they go into the new year with a clean slate.
Paying respects to gods and tributes to ancestors
The Vietnamese believe that Tet is the time when the Kitchen God reports to the Jade Emperor about their family so will burn gold leaf paper and offer live carp to the Kitchen God. During Tet, you’ll also notice an increase in the amount of incense burning, especially during the middle of the day. These are offerings which are burned in memory of the departed in order to pay tribute to their ancestors, an important aspect of the holiday.
Encouraging good luck and omens
Whilst much of the western world say ‘cheers’ to another year, sing songs and embrace their loved ones on the stroke of midnight on the 31st December, the Vietnamese welcome in the new year by beating drums and lighting firecrackers. Believing that the luck for the whole year can be determined solely by the events during Tet, the Vietnamese do what they can to make sure good omens come to them. This ranges from encouraging dogs to bark and welcoming the wealthy into their homes believing that this will determine the family's luck for the new year.
Visiting family & friends
Tet is a time when the Vietnamese people travel the length of the country in order to return to their hometowns or provinces to spend time with their loved ones. Typically, the first day of Tet is dedicated to close friends and parents, the second day to in-laws and other friends and the third day to distant relations. During these meetings, gifts are exchanged and feasts are laid out.
Following the normal rounds, families will then go off to pray for the year to come or join in the parades that usually fill the streets in the last few days of Tet.
Travelling Vietnam during Tet
Whilst you may have heard differently, foreigners are very welcome to be a part of the festivities during Tet. You’ll find the Vietnamese are even friendlier and welcoming during Tet as no one wishes to bring a bad omen on the new year.
Travelling Vietnam during Tet is a vibrant, colourful and wonderful experience. Especially so in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue and Hoi An. However, you should be prepared for the following.
Things to bear in mind when travelling Vietnam during Tet:
Want to join the party?
Ho Chi Minh City
There are also various flower shows, elaborate festivals and ceremonies that take place throughout Vietnam’s major cities and destinations. The whole country transforms into a sea of red and yellow during Tet and the atmosphere is so exciting it’s contagious.
Worried you’ve missed the boat of seeing Vietnam during Tet? Don’t worry. Luckily for you, a country as breathtaking as Vietnam can be enjoyed at any time of the year, not just during festivals like Tet.
Chat directly with one of our local in-destination agents in Vietnam and start designing your perfect adventure. The best way to experience a country is to travel like a local and what better way to do this than to travel with a local.
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