Will you happen to be in Hue during Vietnamese Lunar New Year? Then this post is for you to understand what Tet holiday is, what beautiful traditions are being carried out thorough 7 days of Tet.
And most importantly for you is how best to experience Tet Holiday in Hue, Vietnam.
Also, there will be travel tips during Tet at the end of this blog so don’t miss out some great insider information for your trip to Hue ancient city.
What is Tết?
Lunar New Year, also called “Tet sum hop” is an meaningful time in a year when all the members of a family try to make their way home and stop their busy life for a family union in their motherland. Tet is also an opportunity for people to express their respect and remembrance for their ancestors.
Its exact date falls differently each year. Usually taken place at the beginning of January and February your calendar and the very beginning of our lunar calendar (don’t twist your brain here, we’ll do the math for you, read on below to find out when Tet 2019 is celebrated).
So when is Tết 2020 officially celebrated?
Tet holiday in 2020 will officially start from 24 Jan 2020 to 29 Jan 2020.
See more of our national holiday: Holiday in Vietnam
However, as you might be aware that Vietnamese are early birds.
We love to prepare things ahead of time, especially Tet holiday. So in this case, 2 week before the end of our lunar New Year is when Tet starts.
By the time you read this post, you find it difficult to book flight, bus and tour services around the country, right? That’s because there is a huge flock of domestic travellers trying to make their way home for their loved ones.
Plus, markets seem more vibrants, street full of flowers, people seem hurry.
That’s the beautiful sign of Tet!
Tet 2020 will be the year of the Rat. Representing for intelligence, you will see many family rat decors this year as you travel.
Wonder what we do during our holiday?
Traditions during Tet Holiday
Sending the Kitchen God to Heaven on December 23rd
You hear it right! We have a triple gods in our kitchen that we call “Ong Cong and Ong Tao”.
According to the custom, on December 23 every year, Vietnamese families often perform a ceremony to see off Ông Cong and Ông Tao return to heaven.
Usually, ceremonies are simple with cakes, candies and tea. And the main purpose for this is for them to report what has happened in the family last year.
The main transportation for them to get to heaven is the carp fish. Thus, there will be a huge demand in the market for this kind of fish and you find many local residents release fish into ponds or rivers as a way to help our Kitchen God go to heaven safe and sound.
Wrapping Chung Cake during Tet Holiday
The custom of Chung Cake package has become the traditional culture of the Vietnamese nation. It originates in ancient times to show the beauty of the wet rice culture.
Therefore, when Tet comes, family members will gather and pack Chung cake together near a big fire in their garden.
The Chung Cake also shows the harmony of heaven. What is more, it contains the dreams of Vietnamese about a prosperous and peaceful new year.
You can read more of what Chung Cake is and its meaning in the post 6 best Traditional Tet Food you must try.
Family reunion and Tất nien
Family reunion is what makes Tet meaningful. Tất nien, meaning Year Wrapping-Up, is also part of the cultural value of Vietnamese people during the Lunar New Year.
Traditions includes cleaning the house, decorating ancestor’s altars with flowers, fruits and a feast.
Then everyone will gather around a feast and tell each other sad or happy stories in the past year.
Welcoming Giao thừa – New Year’s Eve
Giao Thua or New Year’s Eve is the moment to transfer the old year to the new year. In this one important moment, heaven and earth harmonize, thus, people seem to immerse themselves in the silence of the night and aspire for a better year for their family.
According to the customs from ancient times, family will offer an outdoor ceremony and offerings in the house. They will prepare carefully to welcome the first visit to a family in the new year and bring the luck into the house.
Thus, the moment between the 30th in December and the 1st of January is the most important moment of the Lunar New Year.
Visiting family in first three days of new year
This tradition is undoubtedly the most awaited Tet’s activity of all Vietnamese, especially the children. We as individual in the family must visit our grandparents, uncles and aunties and anyone close in your extended family on the first day. The second day will be dedicated for mother side and the third day for our teachers.
Accompanying with family visit is the “li xi” or giving out lucky money to elderly and young children as a way to wish them health and do better at school.
Tet Nguyen Tieu
First Full Moon Festival actually originated in China. It takes place on the 15th of the first lunar month every year and becomes beauty in the spiritual culture of the Vietnamese people. Thus, it is an important part of the Lunar New Year.
In Vietnam, Tet Nguyen Tieu is an occasion for people to go to the temple to pray for peace, health, prosperity and development for the residents and the country.