How Vietnamese celebrate Tet

4 janvier 2020 par Tho Nguyen Thi Hong

The Lunar New Year or Tet is the most important and largest celebration in Vietnam. If you are going to Vietnam on this occasion, you should consider some things and plan in advance to have the perfect vacation.

Ben Thanh Market

What to do before Tet

At the start of December (Lunar Calendar), the locals begin to decorate their shops, malls, parks, and streets. The decorations are mostly flower pots, in the South you can see apricot trees with yellow blossoms on sale everywhere, while in the North there are peach trees with pink blossoms. This is also flowers that represent Tet Vietnam and only bloom this season. You can see the gardens to admire the beauty and take photos, but remember to go to the gardens with many flowering trees. Generally, growers will try to bloom on the first day of the Tet holiday to sell at a high price.

You will also find nice couplets, red envelopes, incense sticks, etc. that are used in shops on this occasion. You can put some money in the envelopes to give to your children as a wish of the fortune for all the new year.

Another special feature is that traditional dishes are sold only on occasion, such as square glutinous rice cake, cylindric glutinous rice cake, pork bologna, Chinese sausage, sour meatball, and pickled vegetables. Of course, you can find them throughout the year, but they are not diverse enough and are sold on as large a scale as this occasion. Some families sell food cooked following their own recipes during Tet. You can find them in famous markets, for example, Bến Thành market in Saigon.

Finally, if you want to go shopping, buy some things on the day before Tet when most goods are reduced by up to 50%. They include clothes, flower pots, fruits, and others.

Tet market

They are markets opened only before Tet holiday and offering goods for this special occasion. You can find them in every province and buy a variety of goods from food, worship items, fruit, or leaves to cook traditional dishes. The most famous Tet markets are Âm Phủ market (Bắc Ninh), Viềng market (Nam Định), Gò Trường Úc market (Quy Nhơn), etc.

Where to eat?

When it comes to eating on the first day of the lunar calendar in Vietnam, you may need to plan ahead to avoid hunger if you are in Saigon or Hanoi. Most eateries in these cities are closed on days 1 and 2 of the lunar calendar. Ideally, you should buy in advance some foods, such as quare glutinous rice cake, cylindric glutinous rice cake, or instant noodles to eat on that day. Of course, some hotels that still serve 3 meals a day on this occasion, but we recommend that you check with the staff in advance. If you want to eat out during Tet, visit other provinces. Da Nang, Nha Trang, Da Lat, and other travel destinations are ideal for you. The dishes to try are Vietnamese crepe, fish salad, Quang style noodle soup, pork rolls, etc. Some luxury restaurants are still open on this occasion, but you should book a table in advance. Tet is also the fruit season, take this opportunity to enjoy a variety of fresh, delicious and cheap fruits, such as watermelon, mango, grapefruit, and others. Some fruits also mean happiness, success and wealth for those who eat them. In particular, the watermelon is carved as an art picture and is on sale for Tet.

Where to go?

It is very interesting to travel to Vietnam on the lunar new year. You can go to Dalat to visit the famous flower gardens or visit the temple early in the morning of the new year to pray for your relatives who died. You can also ask for a fortune stick or fortune-telling about your love, work, health, or anything in the Vietnamese style.

Tet is also suitable for outdoor activities like swimming. If this is also your hobby, visit Vung Tau, Nha Trang, Da Nang, and Ha Long Bay.

Hoi An is one of the most famous places on this occasion. The old town is brightly decorated to provide a cheerful and bustling atmosphere. You are free to visit in the first three days of the year. Besides, many special festivals take place on this occasion, such as the Lantern Festival and the kumquat Festival.


Tho Nguyen Thi Hong

Writer and translator

She has lived and traveled to some cities like Dong Nai, Saigon, Dalat, etc. Her knowledge varies from history, culture, travel, and more. Her work appears on Trip-N-Travel and Nipponrama.