VietNam's Essence

Tet Nguyen Dan (or The Lunar New Year)

November 01, 2007          3097 views

This is the most important festival of the year for Vietnam's Kinh ethnic majority.

From the first days of the lunar year, everyone strives to plan the perfect Tet by erecting "cay neu" (the Tet pole) 5 to 6 metres high in front of their house, making "banh chung" (a square cake made of sticky rice stuffed with beans and pork), redecorating their homes, painting the foot of trees with white lime powder or painting the pictures of a bow and arrow on the walls to wipe out ghosts and devils.

Tet means saying goodbye to the previous year and starting a new year. So at
midnight on New Year's Eve, a ceremony called "Giao Thua" is held in which a sacrifice for the spirits and the ancestors is made on a lovely candle-lit altar in the open air near the home. In the old times people had many activities to offer each other New Year wishes. Children, for example, sang the traditional song "suc sac suc se" to wish everyone good luck. There was a custom of "goi gao", a rite of keeping the fire burning over the night to symbolise the wish of transferring the life of the old year over to the new year; a rite of "trảm tự" (chopping the words) to teach marshal arts to the young people in the villages and a rite of "bẻ cành hái lộc" (cutting a small branch from a tree to bring home) which symbolises the bringing of a new life into one's family.
   Source: Hanoi administration tourism


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