How to Celebrate Tet (Vietnamese New Year)

Vietnam is a country in the Eastern Hemisphere that has been influenced by China for many years. Therefore, the Chinese New Year and Tet, the Vietnamese New Year have many similarities. Tet is the abbreviation of Tet Nguyen Dan which means the first morning of the first day of the new period. Holidays are organized in different ways depending on the region, customs and practices. Here is how to celebrate Tet in Northern Vietnam .


  1. 1
    Learn about Tet. Tet marks the beginning of a new year on the lunar calendar, and the beginning of Spring. Vietnamese are constantly aware of the phases of the moon. All events are planned by the lunar calendar. The New Year begins on the first night of the first moon after the sun enters Aquarius. This is sometime between January 21 and February 19 on the solar calendar.
  2. 2
    Enjoy the celebrations. Tet is a huge celebration lasting three days. Families save money, store food, and plan far in advance for Tet, major holiday in Vietnam. The Vietnamese take extreme care to start the New Year out right. They buy new clothes, paint and clean their homes, cook three days worth of food, pay off all debts and make amends to rid themselves of all bad feelings. Cleaning is frowned upon during Tet because one would not want to sweep out any good luck. Digging and drawing water is also not allowed so the ground and water can enjoy the holiday.
  3. 3
    Enjoy the food. Food plays a major role in the Tet celebration. Tet is a time of excess, one does not enjoy Tet, one "eats" Tet. The first day a feast of boiled male virgin chicken, sticky rice, a special soup made with clear vermicelli and bamboo shoots, boiled pork, and 3 or 5 duck eggs is offered to ancestors who have returned to their homes. Sticky rice and salt are also offered in the streets to any hungry ghosts who might be wandering in the neighborhood.
    • A traditional food is Earth cake, a square cake made with rice beans and pork.
    • When a watermelon is cut they believe that the redder the watermelon the more luck for the family.
    • Several different desserts and dishes are made with coconut.
    • On the third day another feast of virgin, chicken is served to say farewell to ancestors returning to their ethereal abodes.


  • You should prepare Tet's dishes about two weeks before Tet.
  • Common recipes:
    • Canh măng (Bamboo soup)
    • Moc (Pork soup)
    • Gà rán và gà luộc (Fried and boiled chicken)
    • Miến (Vermicelli noodles)
    • Cá chép kho riềng - (Carp with galangal)
    • Bò kho quế (ragoût de boeuf with cinnamon)
    • Xôi gấc (Steamed momordica glutinous rice)
    • Chè kho (Soft green bean cake):
    • Thịt đông (Pork's Trotter Cheese)
    • Dưa muối (Pickled Mustard Greens)
    • Hành muối (Pickled onions)
  • Common fruits:
    • Mứt - Mut (Preserved fruit)
    • Dưa hấu (Watermelon)
    • Đu đủ (Papaya)
    • Chuối (Banana)
    • Dứa (Pineapple)
    • Na ( Annona squamosa)
    • Lê (Pear)

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Holidays and Traditions