Tet Vietnam 2021 – All about the Vietnam Lunar New Year

tet vietnam vietnamese lunar new year

Tet Vietnam, as known as the Tet holiday or Vietnamese Lunar New Year is considered the most significant festival in the S-shaped country. Since being calculated by the lunar calendar, the Tet festival is often celebrated at the end of January or the beginning of February. Tet Vietnam is the longest Vietnamese holiday and the most wonderful occasion for all tourists worldwide to spend their Ho Chi Minh City Tours enjoying the festive atmosphere in Southern Vietnam and exploring one of the most long-standing festivals in the world. Tet festival 2021 is on the 12th of February, 2021.

What is Tet Holiday – Lunar New Year in Vietnam?

Tet Vietnam is celebrated to welcome the Lunar New Year and rewind what they did in the previous one. It is considered an important start line for changes, plans, actions, and progress. Moreover, Vietnamese people do believe everything that is done on the first day of the new year will put great effects on their rest. Therefore, they always pay great attention to every word they say, everything they do, and everything they receive. Furthermore, Tet in Vietnam may be the only occasion for all family members to gather and enjoy happy moments together after a long year of hard-working.

The Features on Tet Vietnam in Southern Vietnam

Vietnamese Lunar New Year & Chinese Lunar New Year are Distinct

It is really a big mistake to say that Vietnamese people are celebrating the Chinese New Year. Despite sharing the lunar calendar, Vietnamese people have a lot of different customs, celebrations, and traditions for their own lunar new year.

The History of Lunar New Year in Vietnam

According to the historical documents recorded in the 13th century, Vietnamese people often celebrated their Tet holiday by painting tattoos on themselves, drinking rice liquor, eat betel nuts, and making Chung cakes as well as pickled onions. In the Ly dynasty (1009-1226), a lot of important rituals were held during the Tet festival such as setting up a dome to pray for ideal weather or building communal houses to crave for a new year of abundant harvests. In the period of King Le Thanh Tong (1442-1497), Tet was recognized as the most vital festival and hundreds of mandarins had to gather at the royal court to celebrate the lunar new year festival with royal families.

The Foods of Tet Holiday

In the Vietnamese culture, to celebrate Tet means eating to appreciate the important role of Vietnam Lunar New Year’s Foods. One Vietnamese traditional proverb denotes that you may be hungry all year long except three days of the Tet festival because dozens of delicious dishes and desserts will be prepared on Lunar New Year in Vietnam. First, they will be feasted on their ancestors to show honor. Then, all family members will share these foods and enjoy them together.

Tet Cake – A Different Type of Chung Cake

Tet cake is the traditional food in Vietnam that only appears on the Tet holiday in southern Vietnam. Tasty and savory Tet cake is made from very familiar ingredients to all Vietnamese such as sticky rice, green beans, and pork, which is wrapped in green leaves and boiled overnight. One big difference is the Tet cake is tubular while Chung cake is square.

tet cake vietnam lunar new year

Jam – Vietnamese Lunar New Year’s Dessert

Jam is the common snack to enjoy or welcome guests on the Tet Vietnam. It is mainly made from dried fruits like coconuts, carrots, apples mixed with sugar, or some kinds of seeds such as sunflower seeds and roasted watermelon seeds. The Vietnamese do believe eating sweet foods on the Tet holiday will bring them a ton of luck for the Lunar New Year.

Stewed Caramelized Pork with Eggs

This stewed pork is a favorite dish during the Tet holiday in Southern Vietnam. The meat is caramelized and stewed with eggs making this dish stimulating the eyesight. The dish is a prayer for human life to always have brackish water to wash away the salty of the field for a rich and abundant crop.

stewed pork tet in vietnam

Fried Spring Rolls

It is also an indispensable New Year dish in South Vietnam. Great taste and crispness when eating will make you remember forever. The mixture of meat, vegetable, shrimp is wrapped deliciously in crispy rice papers. If you feel bored with dishes containing fat, your family can prepare the spring rolls to have a great taste. That is why this dish is loved by many people during the Tet holiday.

Mascots of Tet holiday

Vietnamese Zodiac Signs

Each Lunar New Year will have its own symbolic animal. 12 Vietnamese zodiac animals are different from Chinese ones (The fourth Vietnamese zodiac animal is Cat while it is Rabbit in China). Every animal will bring unique luck in its year so you can see them everywhere in Vietnam through decorations or advertisement signs during Tet. Tet holiday 2021 is the year of the Ox.

tet vietnam the year of ox

Trees & Flowers on Tet Holiday

Peach blossom in Northern Vietnam and apricot blossom trees in Southern Vietnam are also symbols that exclusively appear on the Tet holiday. The light red of peach blossom will bring luck while the yellow of apricot blossom will bring fortune to the owners. It is said that Tet Vietnam will lose itself if missing two of them.

Tray of Five Fruits

This is a tray of five different fruits such as bananas, grapefruits, oranges, and other tropical fruits which are only prepared on the Vietnamese New Year. Although each region chooses different fruits, a tray of five fruits is still used to express the wishes for the Lunar New Year of the host family by their names, colors, and arrangements. However, in South Vietnam, the banana is not used in the tray of five fruits.

tray of five fruits holiday in vietnam

How is Tet Holiday Celebrated?

Before Tet Holiday – How Vietnam Lunar New Year is Prepared?

Tet Ong Cong, Ong Tao (Gods & Goddess of Kitchen)

On the 23rd of the last month in the lunar calendar, Vietnamese people prepare the traditional offerings and especially the carps to regale the gods and goddesses living at their house all over the year. Then they will release the carps into the river so they will be used by the Gods as the transportations to come to heaven, according to the legend. At heaven, they will report everything happening all around the year of their family to the King of heaven. They will come back on the last day of the year to celebrate the Tet holiday with the host. The carps then become the dragons. Tet Ong Cong, Ong Tao of Tet holiday 2021 is on February 4th.

gods of the kitchen tet vietnam

Nevertheless, southerners abstain from offering carp because they learn from the concept that animals like carp are very sacred, should only be reserved for the king, so they are not allowed to touch them.

Cleaning & Decorating the House

Tet holiday is also called by a funny name “house-cleaning festival”. A week before the Tet festival, all members of the family have to clean the house, the garden, the altars, and make Tet holiday decorations. Broken things will be repaired while old things will be replaced. Decor such as lanterns, distiches, led lights will be bought. All of these works have the same purpose – to welcome the Lunar New Year festival at its best and to receive luck as well as fortune.

The Last Day of the Year & Lunar New Year Eve

On the last day of the year, all members from different generations gather around a grand banquet to enjoy the last meal of the year. They talk about things already happening in the year. The ambiance of the reunion is always the most wonderful and happiest of all.

year-end meals vietnamese lunar new year

On Lunar New Year Eve, the younger often go out to watch the firework of the Tet holiday while the elderly and adults stay at home making offerings of pig head, boiled chicken, rice, and salt for outdoor worshipping to the Gods and indoor one to the ancestors. They will pray for a new year of luck, health, and fortune to every family member.

After that, the young return home and become the first one to come to the house in the lunar new year. It is believed that the wishes of that person for the host will come true. Then everyone gathers again to drink some alcohol or juice. Then the wishes, as well as plans of every person for the new year, will be shared with others.

During Tet Holiday – Vietnamese Lunar New Year Traditions & Customs

Lunar New Year in Vietnam traditionally lasts for three days. People often stay at home to welcome guests to their houses or go to their relatives and neighborhood houses. The elderly will be received the Tet holiday’s gifts and wishes for health, the adults will be received the ones for fortune and success while the young and children will be received lucky money. Laughs and talks appear everywhere on the Tet holiday these days. Besides, Vietnamese people often go to pagodas. By donating money and asking for letters, they will receive several lucks and fortune.

Vietnamese New Year Wishes & Greetings

The Tet festival is the main holiday in Vietnam. Therefore, Vietnamese people will give each other the best wishes for a lucky and successful Lunar New Year. Below are some of Tet holiday greetings and wishes with the meanings in English.

  • Chuc Mung Nam Noi: Happy Vietnam Lunar New Year
  • An Khang Thinh Vuong: Wish you are always safe and sound, wealthy, and prosperous.
  • Van Su Nhu Y: All your wishes will come true.
  • Tan Tai Tan Loc: Wish you a new year of fortune.

Festivals & Activities after Tet Holiday

Tet Vietnam ends when votive papers are burned and offerings are taken down from the altars to share with every family member. It is the time for people to join in festivals all around the country after the Vietnamese Lunar New Year such as buffalo fighting festival or boat racing, wrestling, lion or dragon dances. Festivals will be organized for a month after the Tet holiday so you are able to attend and explore them as many as possible. To talk about Tet Holiday, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year is the priceless value of Vietnam and an indispensable part of the life of all Vietnamese people.

after tet vietnam

Plan Ho Chi Minh City Tours to enjoy the Tet holiday and experience unforgettable experiences of Vietnamese cultures, customs, and traditions.

The Tet Vietnam Dates & Corresponding Zodiac Animals

YearVietnamese Lunar New Year DateVietnamese Zodiac Sign
20002000-02-05Dragon
20012001-01-24Snake
20022002-02-12Horse
20032003-02-01Goat
20042004-01-22Monkey
20052005-02-09Chicken
20062006-01-29Dog
20072007-02-18Pig
20082008-02-07Rat
20092009-01-26Buffalo
20102010-02-14Tiger
20112011-02-03Cat
20122012-01-23Dragon
20132013-02-10Snake
20142014-01-31Horse
20152015-02-19Goat
20162016-02-08Monkey
20172017-01-28Chicken
20182018-02-16Dog
20192019-02-05Pig
20202020-01-25Rat
20212021-02-12Buffalo
20222022-02-01Tiger
20232023-01-22Cat
20242024-02-10Dragon
20252025-01-29Snake
20262026-02-17Horse
20272027-02-06Goat
20282028-01-26Monkey
20292029-02-13Chicken
20302030-02-03Dog

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