What is Tet?
Tet is the occasion for Vietnamese to express their respect and remembrance for their ancestors as well as welcoming the New Year with their beloved family members. Moreover, in the past, Tet was essential as it provided one of few long breaks during the agricultural year, which was held between the harvesting of the crops and the sowing of the next ones. To make it easier, one can imagine Tet as a combination of Christmas and New Year: every family will get together to have big meals, decorate Tet trees and eat Tet food but to welcome the new year instead of a religious cause.
How is Tet celebrated?
Since Tet occupies an important role in Vietnamese’s religious beliefs, Vietnamese will begin their preparations well in advance of the upcoming New Year. In an effort to get rid of the bad luck of the old year, people will spend a few days cleaning their homes, polishing every utensil, or even repaint and decorate the house with kumquat tree, branches of peach blossom, and many other colorful flowers. The ancestral altar is especially taken care of, with careful decoration of five kinds of fruits and votive papers, along with many religious rituals. Everybody, especially children, buy new clothes and shoes to wear on the first days of New Year. People also try to pay all their pending debts and resolve all the arguments among colleagues, friends or members of family.
Like other Asian countries, Vietnamese believe that the color of red and yellow will bring good fortune, which may explain why these colors can be seen everywhere in Lunar New Year. People consider what they do on the dawn of Tet will determine their fate for the whole year, hence people always smile and behave as nice as they can in the hope for a better year. Besides, gifts are exchanged between family members and friends and relatives, while children receive lucky money kept in red envelope.
No matter where Tet is celebrated, it must be clarified from the beginning that Tet is not a day, but several days of celebration.
The general process is as follow (all dates quoted in lunar calendar):
1. Ông Công, Ông Táo Day (Kitchen God day) – December 23rd
2. Wrapping Chung cake – December 26-28th
3. Family reunion and Tất niên – December 30th
4. Giao thừa – New Year’s Eve: including praying sessions to God and Ancestors, Xông đất (First visit to a family in the new year)
5. First three days of the new year: visit paternal side on the first day, maternal side on the second day and teachers on the third day
6. Visit relatives, friends and neighbours: can take place from January 3rd – 5th
7. Hóa vàng – burn the offerings near Tet’s end for ancestors: January 4th
8. Reopen business: usually owners pick a good date that matches their age
9. Tết Nguyên Tiêu: January 15th
Food for Tet
The following food is often consumed during Tet; some are particular to Tet and often associated with the grand celebration:
– Banh Chung/ Banh Tet
– Pickled onions
– Boiled chicken
– Mung bean pudding
– Vietnamese sausage – giò chả
– Xôi Gấc – Red Sticky Rice
– Roasted nuts and seeds
Tet Viet Story Tour
15h pick up from your hotel by xich lo to flower market, your guide will have you to negotiate and get those best flowers by yourselves.
Before coming back to the boat, you will drop at Đông Ba market for some Tet special candies and pickles ... This is call last afternoon market event. All local home shopping is done and no more market in next 3 days.
17h back your hotel to change dress
19h30. Pickup with your our best dress like King and Queen
20:00 Welcome party with our special music events
20:30 Dinner on board
22:00 Tea beak, cake and watching another traditional performance show
23:00 Preparing the offerings and food for Gods and our ancestors.
(There will be a little game for cutting the chung cake )
23:45 - 00h burning incense and watching the new year Eve
00:15 opens drinks and cake and lucky money for your new year with a new fresh.
01:00 leave boat and back your hotel for good dream!