How Vietnamese Celebrate Tet (Part 2)

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How Vietnamese celebrate Tet (Part 1)

As the clock strikes midnight, the Giao Thua ceremony commences, marking the end of the previous year and the beginning of spring. In streets, younger people expect for fireworks, while at home, Vietnamese families gather to usher in and exchanging wishes. Incense sticks are burnt as a sign of welcoming the ancestors to join the feast. Many people also visit temples or pagodas to pray for health, luck, and peace.

Related: Guide for foreigners during Lunar New Year

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The first day of Tet is reserved for the nuclear family. Children wear new clothes and expect to receive “lucky money” (Li xi in Vietnamese) from the elders. Vietnamese people believe that the first person to enter the house can determine their fortune for the whole year. Therefore, they don’t enter any house on the first day unless they are invited. This tradition is called xong dat or xong nha. Usually, a person of good morality and success is considered as the lucky sign for the host family. To be safe, some owners decide to xong dat their house by leaving the house before midnight and come back just as the clock strikes midnight. By this, they can prevent anyone else entering their house first who might bring bad luck for the new year.

During the following days, people pay a visit to their relatives and friends to give greeting and congratulations. The order of visitations depends on your blood relation and your social status. Children are free to spend their money on toys but most of them give all to mother. Dragon dancing is popular activities of rich families in the South. They are willing to pay a large amount of money for a dancer to perform at their house.


Xoi Gac in Vietnam Tet

Avoid doing during Tet:

Argue, swear and say bad things

It is forbidden to swear during Tet, especially the first day. People also should avoid having arguments as it is thought to bring them an inharmonic year.

Sweep house

Vietnamese people avoid sweeping the house or emptying the trash bin as they believe that if you sweep the floor, all the luck and money will flow out of your house.

Wear black/white clothes

People are encouraged to wear colourful clothes. Generally, white and black are colours of the funeral in Vietnam. As a result, wearing them on the first days of the New Year may symbolize deaths and unlucky things.

 

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