As a tourist to Vietnam, it is great to know how to enjoy Tet holiday so that you can have some fun as well as learning more about the culture. Here are some of our suggestions for what you should and should not do during this holiday.
What Vietnamese People Do Before and During Tet
Vietnamese Tet plays a vital role in the country’s culture. Many preparations take place a long time before Tet, and lots of activities need to be done during the holiday. Some of them cannot be experienced unless you stay in Vietnam for several years and catch up with the local lifestyle, and most of which are hard to witness without knowing a Vietnamese family personally. However, if you have chances to go through them yourself, you would understand a lot more about Vietnam.
The preparation for Tet starts about a month before it actually comes. The nearer the due date is, the more exciting it gets. It is the time for everyone to buy new clothes, choose gifts for their families, friends, and partners, clean and decorate their houses. A lot of brands are likely to release new products or renew their packages to attract customers since people tend to spend more money on shopping at this period. In Vietnam, there is no better occasion to treat yourself than Tet!
A store selling house decoration for Tet
The meaning of Tet is also about reunion. Therefore, during Tet, Vietnamese people would take the time to visit their relatives. When gathering, the kids can receive lucky money from the adults and the elder. In return, they would give their best wishes about health and happiness to the giver. It is an excellent opportunity for family members to catch up with each other after a busy year of studying and working.
You can try to blend in the local culture by giving a little lucky money in red envelops for the kids, but make sure to know How Much Lucky Money to Give.
Giving and receiving lucky money is a traditional activity in Tet holiday
How to Enjoy Tet Holiday: What to Do
If you are a tourist visiting Vietnam for just a few days and you are wondering how to enjoy the Tet holiday, here are our suggestions.
Stock up some food. Most markets, supermarkets, and restaurants close from 3 to 7 days in the Tet holiday. Only a few offer service, but food can also be more expensive during the holiday. It would be better to have some at home to keep your stomach away from hunger.
Watching fireworks is a great activity to do in New Year’s Eve, especially large cities like Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi. The location of fireworks shooting usually changes every year, so check it up with the locals or in local newspapers in advance to find a good view in the nearby area.
Fireworks in Ho Chi Minh City on New Year’s Eve
Try as many traditional Tet dishes as you can. The diversity in Vietnamese cuisine is incredible, so of course, there are numerous dishes on this occasion. See some must-try Tet dishes so that you do not miss out on the most typical ones.
Some typical Tet dishes
Since Vietnamese culture is under the significant influence of Buddhism, it is good to visit pagodas and temples to feel the festive atmosphere. Usually, the amazing pagodas and temples can be quite crowded, busy, and have lots of meaningful activities.
In the Lunar New Year, Vietnamese people visit pagodas to pray for fortunes
Spring is the season for hundreds of flowers to bloom. If you visit flower markets several days before the Tet holiday, you can find lots of beautiful flowers at affordable prices.
Pretty cherry blossoms in a Vietnamese flower market
Read Vietnamese Tet: What to Do for more detailed instructions.
How to Enjoy Tet Holiday: What NOT to Do – The Superstitions
The majority of Vietnamese people believe that there are several things that if you do during the first days of Tet, your whole year would hardly go on smoothly. Some activities are completely normal in daily life, but at this time of the year, they are considered dismissing good luck, attracting bad luck and inconvenience. Therefore, you may want to know how to enjoy Tet holiday without causing annoyance or awkwardness for your Vietnamese companions.
Sweeping the floor and throwing trash out are thought to cast luck and blessings out of your house. If you visit a Vietnamese family on the first day of Lunar New Year, those are the last thing you should do. The trash in this day can be collected into a corner of the house until the next day, so don’t get surprised if the house appears to be messier than usual.
Another note is that you should not wear fully black or white clothes when visiting a Vietnamese house. These two colors are believed to represent death and bad luck, so some hosts might not feel comfortable to welcome guests wearing them.
Breaking things, borrowing money, and arguing are what no one would like to do on any day of the year but especially in Tet holiday, apart from unavoidable circumstances, it is strongly advised not to happen. They are signs for a year full of chaos, impecunious, disagreement, which leads to unhappiness for whoever associates with these activities.
Find out more in Vietnamese Superstitions
Summary of Do and Don’ts – How to Enjoy Tet Holiday
Tet is the national holiday when every Vietnamese can have some days off and visit their families. If you are still finding what to do, try something to have fun, and explore the culture if possible because it is what the festival is about. Note that there are some superstitions of things you should not do, make sure you avoid those.
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