Tet or Tet Nguyen Dan is Vietnamese names of Lunar New Year. It is the biggest and most important celebration of Vietnamese people. Tet holiday marks the arrival of spring and based on the Vietnamese Lunar Calendar, a lunisolar calendar. Tet takes place on the first day of the first Lunar month and lasts to the third day. In Western calendar, it usually falls in late January or early February. With the Vietnamese, Tet is the time for family members gather together in their home, cook the traditional meals, clean the house and look back at everything they did in the past year. Tet is also the time to forget all the trouble of the past year and hope for a better upcoming year.
Preparing for Tet really begins from 1 or 2 weeks before the New Year’s Eve. In this period, every family clean and decorate their home, children also help their parents a lot in these days. All the dust and ashes from the incense will be swept, the home has to be as clean as possible and be decorated with traditional New Year paintings, parallel sentences, and flowers. Hoa Dao (peach flowers), Hoa Mai (Ochna integerrima) or kumquat is the essential things in Tet. Parents will buy new clothes for their children. The family will together make Chung cake-the compulsory food during the Vietnamese New Year celebration. Besides Chung cake, on the ancestor’s altar of each Vietnamese family cannot miss the plate of five fruits and candied fruits. In the 23rd day the last Lunar month, there is a farewell ceremony for Kitchen Gods.
The last night of the year is the most sacred time of the year because it marks the transfer of the old and new year. In Vietnam, it is called Giao Thua. It is also the time for Ong Tao (Kitchen Gods) to return family after reporting all the problems of this family happened in the last year to Jade Emperor. Especially, each home will open their main door until midnight to welcome Kitchen Gods and luck things of the New Year. In that night, all the family members will sit down together, watching fireworks, listening new year’s songs. Then, children will receive lucky money from parents and wish back their parents health, success. One of the interesting traditions of Vietnamese people in the New Year Eve is Xong Nha. The first visitor will determine the fortune of their home entire the year.
In the first day of New Year before noontime, all the member of the nuclear family will come to the grandparent’s house as a long-standing tradition. After that, they will come to relative's home, wish each other's health, prosperity, and luck. The children will receive a lucky red envelope. There is a saying "FatherTet is on the First Day of New Year, Mother Tet is on the Second and Teacher is on the Third." It means that Tet is the time for beloved people around us, the time for family after a long year working far away. Tet is not only the occasion for us to relax, enjoy the traditional atmosphere after a busy year, but also to hope and wish for a lucky New Year.