The quintessence of Vietnamese culture: Vietnam Lunar New Year

The quintessence of Vietnamese culture: Vietnam Lunar New Year

One of many traditional holidays in Vietnam is Vietnam Lunar New Year, which is also called Tet. This is also an occasion for family to gather, reunite together after a hard working year. For Vietnamese locals, Tet is the biggest holiday of the year and it is kept years by years.

What is the meaning of Vietnam Lunar New Year?

Vietnamese New Year, also known as Tet holiday or Tet Nguyen Dan, is considered the most important and biggest festivals in Vietnam. The dates of Vietnam Lunar New Year differs every year but it generally takes place around late January or February.

After a year, all the Vietnamese are very excited about the coming of Tet. The word “Tet” is originally Sino –Vietnamese which means “Feast of the first morning of the first day”.

The quintessence of Vietnamese culture: Vietnam Lunar New Year

When does Tet holiday happen? The same with Chinese New Year, Vietnamese people celebrate the arrival of the spring based on the lunar calendar (Chinese Lunar Calendar), so it is not difficult to find that the New Year’s dates are fluctuant in the solar calendar. The Vietnamese New Year takes place on the first day of the first lunar month which has the date falling in January or February. For 2020, the New Year will come on January 25th.

At Tet, streets are covered with colorful days, Nguyen Hue walking street is full of flowers and visitors because of yearly flower event. Every house is generally decorated by Yellow Apricot blossoms (hoa mai) in the South, peach blossoms (hoa đào) in the North. Moreover, people in southern part of Vietnam also use bonsai and flowers such as chrysanthemums (hoa cúc), marigolds (vạn thọ) symbolizing longevity, meanwhile those in northern part use cockscombs (mào gà), paperwhites (thủy tiên) and pansies (hoa lan). These popular decorations have many good different meaning that family hopes in the coming year.

Special procedures in Vietnam Lunar New Year

Experiencing many fluctuations of history, the traditional customs of Vietnamese people still retain the national identity.

Making Vietnamese Square Sticky Rice Cake (Banh Chung)

The quintessence of Vietnamese culture: Vietnam Lunar New Year

“Banh Chung” (Chung cake) is a traditional and irreplaceable cake of Vietnamese people in the Tet, this is the ideal way to express gratitude to their ancestors and homeland.

In contrast to the fast food in modern life, the process of making Chung cake is time-consuming and requires the contribution of several people. Although nowadays, fewer family wrap Chung Cake themselves, but morden people still buy this kind of cake to eat at Tet.  Main ingredients are glutinous rice, pork meat, and green beans wrapped in a square of bamboo leaves that will give the rice a green color after boiling.

However, in the South of Vietnam, people don’t eat Banh Chung, they make Banh Tet which has the same making way with Banh Chung but the appearance is different.

Visiting Pagodas

The quintessence of Vietnamese culture: Vietnam Lunar New Year

Several days before Tet, most people busy themselves with house decoration. At the sacred moment of New Year’s Eve, after worshipping the ancestors, many families choose to visit a pagoda to pray for their new year.

Nonetheless, New Year’s Eve is not the most significant moment to visit a pagoda! As traditional, the first day of Tet is usually the busiest day. Families reunite and pay their special pagoda a visit. If you happen to be in Hanoi on this day, don’t visit Tran Quoc Pagoda, Ngoc Son Temple, or the Temple of Literature in Hanoi. In case you are in Saigon, the pagodas are not too crowded, as most people have traveled back to their hometown.

Visiting family and friends

The quintessence of Vietnamese culture: Vietnam Lunar New Year

On Tet holiday, families lay out a splendid feast to welcome visiting relatives and friends. The first few days of Tet are meant to be spent visiting friends and relatives. The first day is spent calling upon close friends and one’s parents. The next day, Vietnamese call on their in-laws and other friends. And on the third day, people call upon their distant relations.

When visiting others’ house, family members and friends also exchange gifts during the visit.

Give-and-Take Lucky Money

The quintessence of Vietnamese culture: Vietnam Lunar New Year

As well as Asian countries, particularly China, Vietnamese believes that the red and yellow color will bring good fortune.

On many New Year’s days, the elders will give red envelopes containing lucky money to wish for health, success and happy for them. To exchange, the youngers in their new clothes will say many best traditional Vietnamese greetings to the elders, they usually wish for long-last living and health. This traditional custom is called “Mung tuoi” in the north and “Li xi” in the south of Vietnam.

Buying salt at the beginning of the year

The quintessence of Vietnamese culture: Vietnam Lunar New Year

The custom of buying salt was reminded by the old saying in the proverb: “At the beginning of the year to buy salt, at the end of the year to buy lime”. The ancients thought that, salt is salty, anti-defiling, and can ward off evil spirits and bring good luck in the family.

The custom of buying salt at the beginning of the year also means praying for the affection in the family affection, harmony, sticking the glue between husband and wife and children. Moreover, this is also the salinity, close friendship all year round in the conduct and business relationship. People often buy salt on the first day morning of New Year. However, when buying, you should pay attention to buy a full bowl with a top and pay correspondingly one or two pounds to wish for good luck.


Dear our customers,

Vietnam Lunar New Year (Tet Holiday) is coming, kindly bear in mind to arrange to get your Vietnam visa or extend your visa to avoid using Urgent service.

If you have a plan to travel to Vietnam this month or the next 1 month, this is the best time to start your visa process.

If your visa is going to expired within 1 month or next month, please to arrange a visa extension, otherwise you can have a troublle due to Tet Holiday


Vietnam Immigration Department is closed during Tet Holiday, as a result, visa requests are not processed during the period except for a rush visa (feel free to contact us at Hotline: +84 968 18 77 18 \ WhatsApp: +84 – 982 879718 if you’re in emergency).


Please keep in mind that provides:

  • Get visa approval letter within: 1 hour, 2hours, 1 day, 2 days.
  • Visa letter during Holiday: within 24 hours.

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