TẾT | Celebrating the Lunar New Year in Vietnam

Chúc mừng năm mới! (Happy New Year in Vietnamese)

Tết is the Vietnamese name for the Lunar New Year, and it is the biggest holiday of the year in Vietnam, with most families celebrating over multiple days and even up to a week or more! This year (2017) it falls on the 28th of January, celebrating the beginning of spring and the year of the Rooster.

This is our first time in Asia for Lunar New Year (often referred to as Chinese New Year, despite other countries also celebrating it) and its so beautiful to watch the holiday unfold here. Near our house is a street which has been transformed into a Tết market, where stunning apricot and peach blossom trees line the streets, and you buy personalised lucky money envelopes and parallel hangings for your house. I couldn’t resist snapping photos of it all!

This calligrapher was so talented, mixing the colours on his brush and making it look effortless. Mesmerising to watch.

I’ve learned that the calligraphers/scholars were making pairs of parallel sentences, which every home hangs on New Year’s Day. They’re often painted on red paper and hung in a place of honour, like on both sides of the front door.

Red envelopes for gifting money. The red colour symbolises luck and is to ward off evil spirits.

If you are in Ho Chi Minh during Tết then definitely head to the area around Notre-Dam Cathedral. You’ll see so many beautiful girls wearing their traditional dresses to get photographs next to the blossom trees – they really are incredible to see.

 I loved this girls alternative traditional dress, definitely something I think I would like to invest in before we leave Vietnam.

While we won’t be in Vietnam when the New Year comes (we’ll be in Bali), we still purchased some lucky red envelopes to gift our security guards and cleaners some lucky money! Hopefully they like their little Tết bonus!

With Davids parents visiting this week, we also headed to the Jade Emperor Pagoda. We hadn’t really realised before going but there were lots of buddhists making food offerings to the kitchen gods and praying for a healthy 2017. Apparently, just before New Year the kitchen god reports to the Jade Emperor about the goings on of each household over the year, so many give offerings of food to the kitchen gods to ensure a good report and reward rather than punishment for the new year.

 The Jade Emperor Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City, with many people making offerings to the kitchen gods.

If you’re interest in finding out more about Tết then you can check out here, here and here.

Do you celebrate Lunar New Year? How do you celebrate it?

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