tet is a festival which occurs in late january or early february

This article is about the Vietnamese holiday. For the 1968 military operation that began on this holiday, see Tet Offensive. For other uses, see Tet (disambiguation). For other traditions of celebrating lunar new year, see Lunar New Year.

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Vietnamese New Year

A family gathering lớn make bánh tét for Tết celebrations.

Official nameTết Nguyên Đán
Also calledTết
Lunar New Year (as a collective term including other Asian Lunar New Year festivals, used outside of Asia.)
Observed byVietnamese
TypeReligious, Cultural, and National.
SignificanceThe first day of the Lunar New Year
Celebrationsfireworks, family gatherings, family meals, visiting friends' homes on the first day of the new year (xông đất), visiting friends and relatives, ancestor worship, giving red envelopes lớn children and elderly, and opening a cửa hàng.
DateLunar/Lunisolar New Year's Day
2023 date22 January, Cat
2024 date10 February, Dragon
2025 date29 January, Serpent[1]
Related toChinese New Year, Japanese New Year, Korean New Year, Mongolian New Year, Tibetan New Year

Tết (Vietnamese: [tet̚˧˦]), short for Tết Nguyên Đán (lit.'Festival of the first day'), is the most important celebration in Vietnamese culture. Tết celebrates the arrival of spring based on the Vietnamese calendar, which is mostly based on the lunisolar Chinese calendar and usually has the date in January or February in the Gregorian calendar.[2]

Tết Nguyên Đán is not lớn be confused with Tết Trung Thu (Mid-Autumn Festival), which is also known as Children's Festival in Vietnam. "Tết" itself only means festival but is often colloquially known as "Lunar New Year" in Vietnamese, as it is often seen as the most important festival amongst the Vietnamese and the Vietnamese diaspora, with Tết Trung Thu regarded as the second-most important.[3][4]

Vietnamese people celebrate Tết annually, which is based on a lunisolar calendar (calculating both the motions of Earth around the Sun and of the Moon around Earth). Tết is generally celebrated on the same day as Chinese New Year (also called Spring Festival), with the one-hour time difference between Vietnam and Đài Loan Trung Quốc resulting in the new moon occurring on different days. Rarely, the dates of Vietnamese and Chinese Lunar New Year can differ as such in 1943, when Vietnam celebrated Lunar New Year, one month after Đài Loan Trung Quốc. It takes place from the first day of the first month of the Vietnamese lunar calendar (around late January or early February) until at least the third day.

Tết is also an occasion for pilgrims and family reunions. They phối aside the trouble of the past year and hope for a better and happier upcoming year. This festival can also be referred lớn as Hội xuân in vernacular Vietnamese, (festival – tiệc tùng, lễ hội, spring – mùa xuân).[5]


The name Tết is a shortening of Tết Nguyên Đán, literally written as đầu năm (meaning festivals; only used in festival names) and nguyên vẹn đán which means the first day of the year. Both words come from Sino-Vietnamese respectively, 節 (SV: tiết) and 元旦.

The word for festival is usually tiệc tùng, lễ hội, a Sino-Vietnamese word, 禮會.


Tất Niên offering

A family altar in Vietnam

Altar lớn the ancestors

Vietnamese people usually return lớn their families during Tết. Some return lớn worship at the family altar or visit the graves of their ancestors in their homeland. They also clear up the graves of their families as a sign of respect. Although Tết is a national holiday among all Vietnamese, each region and religion has its own customs.[5]

Many Vietnamese prepare for Tết by cooking special holiday food and doing house cleaning. These foods include bánh tét, bánh chưng, bánh dày, canh cực khổ qua, thịt kho hột vịt, dried young bamboo soup (canh măng), giò, and xôi (sticky rice). Many customs and traditions are practiced during Tết, such as visiting a person's house on the first day of the new year (xông nhà), ancestor worship, exchanging New Year's greetings, giving lucky money lớn children and elderly people, opening a cửa hàng, visiting relatives, friends, and neighbors.

Tết can be divided into three time periods, tất niên cuối năm (celebrations before the over of the year), giao phó quá (New Year's Eve), and năm mới tết đến (the New Year), representing the preparation before Tết, the eve of Tết, and the days of and following Tết, respectively.[6]

The New Year in Tet[edit]

A red envelope decorations (lì xì)

The first day of Tết is reserved for the nuclear family. Children receive red envelopes containing money from their elders. This tradition is called "mừng tuổi" (happy age)[7] in the North region and mừng tuổi in the South region. Usually, children wear their new clothes and give their elders the traditional Tết greetings before receiving money. Since the Vietnamese believe that the first visitor who a family receives in the year determines their fortune for the entire year, people never enter any house on the first day without being invited first. The verb of being the first person lớn enter a house at Tết is xông khu đất, xông ngôi nhà, or giẫm khu đất,[8] which is one of the most important customs during Tết. According lớn Vietnamese tradition, if good things come lớn a family on the first day of the lunar New Year, the entire following year will also be full of blessings. Usually, a person of good temper, morality, and success will be a lucky sign for the host family and be first invited into his house. However, just lớn be safe, the owner of the house will leave the house a few minutes before midnight and come back just as the clock strikes midnight lớn prevent anyone else from entering the house first who might potentially bring any unfortunate events in the new year, lớn the household.

Sweeping during Tết is taboo, it is xui or rủi (unlucky), since it symbolizes sweeping the luck away; that is why they clean before the new year. It is also taboo for anyone who experienced a recent loss of a family thành viên lớn visit anyone else during Tết.

During subsequent days, people visit relatives and friends. Traditionally but not strictly, the second day of Tết is usually reserved for friends, while the third day is for teachers, who command respect in Vietnam. Local Buddhist temples are popular spots because people lượt thích lớn give donations and get their fortunes told during Tết. Children are không tính phí lớn spend their new money on toys or on gambling games such as bầu cua cá cọp, which can be found in the streets. Prosperous families can pay for dragon dancers lớn perform at their house. Also, public performances are given for everyone lớn watch.

Traditional celebrations[edit]

These celebrations can last from a day up lớn the entire week, and the New Year is filled with people in the streets trying lớn make as much noise as possible using firecrackers, drums, bells, gongs, and anything they can think of lớn ward off evil spirits. This parade will also include different masks and dancers hidden under the guise of what is known as the múa lân or lion khiêu vũ. The lân is an animal between a lion and a dragon and is the symbol of strength in the Vietnamese culture that is used lớn scare away evil spirits. After the parade, families, and friends come together lớn have a feast of traditional Vietnamese dishes and share the happiness and joy of the New Year with one another. This is also the time when the elders will hand out red envelopes with money lớn the children for good luck in exchange for Tết greetings.

It is also a tradition lớn pay off debts before the Vietnamese New Year for some Vietnamese families.[9]


Tết display on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City.

Traditionally, each family displays cây nêu, an artificial New Year tree consisting of a bamboo pole 5–6 m (16–20 ft) long. The top over is usually decorated with many objects, depending on the locality, including good luck charms, origami fish, cactus branches, and more.

At Tết, every house is usually decorated by Yellow Apricot blossoms (hoa mai) in the central and southern parts of Vietnam, peach blossoms (hoa đào) in the northern part of Vietnam, or St. John's wort (hoa ban) in the mountain areas. In the north, some people (especially the elite in the past)[citation needed] also decorate their house with plum blossoms (also called hoa mơ in Vietnamese but referring lớn a totally different species from mickey-mouse blossoms)[citation needed]. In the north or central, the kumquat tree is a popular decoration for the living room during Tết. Its many fruits symbolize fertility and fruitfulness which the family hopes in the coming year.

Vietnamese people also decorate their homes with bonsai and flowers such as chrysanthemums (hoa cúc), marigolds (vạn thọ) symbolizing longevity, cockscombs (mào gà) in southern Vietnam, and paperwhites (thủy tiên) and orchids (hoa lan) in northern Vietnam. In the past, there was a tradition where people tried lớn make their paperwhites bloom on the day of the observance.

They also hung up Đông Hồ paintings and thư pháp calligraphy pictures.

Mâm ngũ quả (five fruits tray) are made for Tết, here is a ngũ ngược consisting of bananas, oranges, tangerines, a pomelo, and a pineapple

Peach blossoms (hoa đào)

Yellow Apricot blossoms (hoa mai)

Chúc mừng năm mới translates lớn "Happy New Year"

Đông Hồ paintings are traditionally hung as decoration of Tết


Tết greetings shown in here in the Vietnamese alphabet, Chữ Hán and chữ Nôm.

The traditional greetings are "Chúc Mừng Năm Mới" (祝𢜠𢆥㵋, Happy New Year) and "Cung Chúc Tân Xuân", (恭祝新春, gracious wishes of the new spring). People also wish each other prosperity and luck. Common wishes for Tết include the following:

  • Sống lâu trăm tuổi: (𤯩𥹰𤾓歲, Live long for a hundred years!): used by children for elders. Traditionally, everyone is considered one year older on Tết, so sánh children would wish their grandparents' health and longevity in exchange for mừng tuổi (𢜠歲) or lì xì (利市 "SV: lợi thị").
  • An khang thịnh vượng: (安康盛旺, Security, good health, and prosperity)
  • Vạn sự như ý: (萬事如意, May things go your way)
  • Sức khỏe mạnh dồi dào: (飭劸洡𤁠, Plenty of health!)
  • Làm ăn tấn tới: (爫咹晉𬧐, Be successful at work!)
  • Tiền vô như nước: (錢𠓺如渃, May money flow in lượt thích water!). Used informally.
  • Cung hỉ vạc tài: (恭喜發財, Congratulations and best wishes for a prosperous New Year!)
  • Năm mới mẻ thắng lợi mới: (𢆥㵋勝利㵋, New year, new triumphs!; often heard in political speeches)
  • Chúc thích ăn chóng lớn: (祝𫨩咹𢶢𡘯, Eat well, grow quick!; aimed at children)
  • Năm mới mẻ thăng quan lại tiến bộ chức: (𢆥㵋陞官進織, I wish for you lớn be promoted in the new year!)
  • Năm mới mẻ toàn gia bình an: (𢆥㵋全家平安, I wish that the new year will bring health and peace lớn your family!)
  • Mừng xuân Di-lặc: (𢜠春彌勒, Happy Spring of Maitreya!). Used by Buddhists.
  • Mừng xuân an lạc: (𢜠春安樂, Happy peaceful joyful spring!). Used by Buddhists.
  • Chúc mừng Chúa Xuân: (祝𢜠主春, Praise the Lord of Spring!). Used by Catholics.


Food offerings for ancestors

Bánh chưng (bottom) and bánh tày (top, a variation of bánh chưng)

Xôi gấc is glutinous rice cooked with gac fruit, its red color is considered as auspicious

In the Vietnamese language, lớn celebrate Tết is lớn ăn Tết, literally meaning "eat Tết", showing the importance of food in its celebration. Some of the food is also eaten year-round, while other dishes are only eaten during Tết. Also, some of the food is vegetarian since it is believed lớn be good luck lớn eat vegetarian on Tết. Some traditional foods on Tết include the following:

Mứt Tết are candied fruits and seeds eaten during Tết
  • Bánh chưng and bánh tét: essentially tightly packed sticky rice with meat or bean fillings wrapped in dong leaves (Phrynium placentarium). When these leaves are unavailable, banana leaves can be used as a substitute. One difference between them is their shape. Bánh chưng is the square-shaped one lớn represent the Earth, while bánh tét is cylindrical lớn represent the moon. Also, bánh chưng is more popular in the northern parts of Vietnam, bánh tét is more popular in the south. Preparation can take days. After molding them into their respective shapes (the square shape is achieved using a wooden frame), they are boiled for several hours lớn cook. The story of their origins and their connection with Tết is often recounted lớn children while cooking them overnight.
  • Hạt dưa: roasted watermelon seeds, also eaten during Tết
  • Dưa hành: pickled onion and pickled cabbage
  • Củ kiệu: pickled small leeks
  • Mứt: These dried candied fruits are rarely eaten at any time besides Tết.
  • Kẹo dừa: coconut candy
  • Kẹo mè xửng: peanut brittle with sesame seeds or peanuts
  • Cầu sung dừa đầy đủ xoài: In southern Vietnam, popular fruits used for offerings at the family altar in fruit arranging art are the custard-apple/sugar-apple/soursop (mãng cầu), coconut (dừa), goolar fig (sung), papaya (đu đủ), and mango (xoài), since they sound lượt thích "cầu sung vừa vặn đầy đủ xài" ([We] pray for enough [money/resources/funds/goods/etc.] lớn use) in the southern dialect of Vietnamese.
  • Thịt kho nước dừa: Meaning "meat stewed in coconut juice", is a traditional dish of pork belly and medium boiled eggs stewed in a broth-like sauce made overnight of young coconut juice and nước mắm. It is often eaten with pickled bean sprouts and chives, and white rice.
  • Xôi gấc: a red sticky rice made from gac fruit, typically paired with chả lụa (the most common type of sausage in Vietnamese cuisine, made of pork and traditionally wrapped in banana leaves).[10]

Forms of entertainment[edit]

Traditional games on Tết Nguyên Đán in the Revival Lê dynasty.
Bầu cua tôm cá is a Vietnamese gambling game that involves using three dice. It is traditionally played during Tết.
Đánh đu - a traditional game that often appears during Tết.

People enjoy traditional games during Tết, including bầu cua cá cọp, cờ tướng, ném còn, chọi trâu, and đá gà. They also participate in some competitions presenting their knowledge, strength, and aestheticism, such as the bird competition and ngâm thơ competition.

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Fireworks displays have also become a traditional part of a Tết celebration in Vietnam. During New Year's Eve, fireworks displays at major cities, such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang, are broadcast through multiple national and local TV channels, accompanied by New Year wishes of the incumbent president. In 2017 only, fireworks displays were prohibited due lớn political and financial reasons. In 2021, due lớn the COVID-19 pandemic, most provinces and cities canceled the fireworks displays; instead, the displays were only held in Thành Phố Hà Nội and several provinces with public gatherings prohibited. In 2022, due lớn the aforementioned pandemic, all provinces canceled the firework displays due lớn financial reasons. In nước Australia, Canada & the United States, there are fireworks displays at many of its festivals, although in 2021 they were either held virtually or canceled.

Gặp nhau cuối năm ("Year-end meet") is a nationally known satirical theatrical comedy show, broadcast on VTV on New Year's Eve.

Dates in the Vietnamese calendar[edit]

From 2020 lớn 2043.

Zodiac Gregorian date
Tý (Rat) 25 January 2020 11 February 2032
Sửu (Buffalo) 12 February 2021 31 January 2033
Dần (Tiger) 1 February 2022 19 February 2034
Mẹo, Mão (Cat) 22 January 2023 8 February 2035
Thìn (Dragon) 10 February 2024 28 January 2036
Tỵ (Snake) 29 January 2025 15 February 2037
Ngọ (Horse) 17 February 2026 4 February 2038
Mùi (Goat) 6 February 2027 24 January 2039
Thân (Monkey) 26 January 2028 12 February 2040
Dậu (Rooster) 13 February 2029 1 February 2041
Tuất (Dog) 2 February 2030 22 January 2042
Hợi (Pig) 23 January 2031 10 February 2043


In the weeks leading up lớn Tet, celebratory songs are played throughout Vietnam. One tuy nhiên, Ngày Tết Quê Em (Tet in My Homeland) was released by Linh Trang and Xuan Mai in 2006. It was on the album Xuân Mai và Thiếu Nhi Cali 2 Hội chợ Cali. The tuy nhiên can be heard playing in many public places across the country.

The lyrics lớn this tuy nhiên in Vietnamese are:

Tết Tết Tết Tết cho tới rồi

Tết Tết Tết Tết cho tới rồi

Tết Tết Tết Tết cho tới rồi

Tết cho tới nhập tim từng người

Mừng ngày Tết bên trên từng quê tôi

Ngàn hoa thơm sực khoa sắc xinh tươi

Đàn em thơ khoe mẽ áo mới

Chạy tung tăng vui mừng pháo hoa

Mừng ngày Tết bên trên từng quê tôi

Người rời khỏi Trung, rời khỏi Bắc, vô Nam

Dù chuồn đâu người nào cũng nhớ

Về cộng đồng vui mừng mặt mũi gia đình

Tết Tết Tết Tết cho tới rồi

Tết Tết Tết Tết cho tới rồi

Tết Tết Tết Tết cho tới rồi

Tết cho tới nhập tim từng người

Mừng ngày Tết thành thị đông đúc vui

Người chuồn thăm hỏi, chuồn viếng, chuồn chơi

Người nơm nớp chuồn sắm sửa Tết

Người thắp nhang chuồn lễ chùa

Mừng ngày Tết tớ chúc cho tới nhau

Một năm thêm thắt đủ đầy an vui

Người dân cày thêm thắt lúa thóc

Người doanh nhân mau vạc tài

Tết Tết Tết Tết cho tới rồi

Tết Tết Tết Tết cho tới rồi

Tết Tết Tết Tết cho tới rồi

Tết cho tới nhập tim từng người

Several covers of the tuy nhiên have been produced since its initial release. An English version was released by Khánh Vy and Thảo Tâm in 2020.

The lyrics lớn the English version are:

Tet Tet Tet is coming

Tet Tet Tet is coming

Tet Tet Tet is coming

Tet has come lớn our hearts.

Tet Tet Tet is coming

Tet Tet Tet is coming

Tet Tet Tet is coming

Tet has come lớn our hearts.

Happy holiday everywhere

Flowers blooming in the air

Little children dressing up

Run around with fireworks.

Happy Holiday in everywhere

People traveling here and there

We go far, we go long

But Tet is the time we go trang chủ.

Tet Tet Tet is coming

Tet Tet Tet is coming

Tet Tet Tet is coming

Tet has come lớn our hearts.

Tet Tet Tet is coming

Tet Tet Tet is coming

Tet Tet Tet is coming

Tet has come lớn our hearts.

Everybody’s happy in towns

Some will meet up and hốc out

Some go shopping together

Some pray in pagodas.

Happy Tet I wish for you

A fortune, happy, peaceful year

If you’re farmer, you’ll gain more

If you’re dealers, you’ll earn more.[11]

The tuy nhiên summarizes some of the main Tet traditions. During Tet, it is traditional for Vietnamese people lớn travel lớn their hometowns, hence the lyrics “People traveling here and there.”[12]

Typically, there are large fireworks displays in most major cities. Prior lớn 1995, it was customary lớn use firecrackers at individual homes; however, the government banned the production and use of these fireworks due lớn fatal accidents. In December 2020 a regulation was passed that allows “anyone aged 18 and older with legal capacity” lớn purchase sparklers for special occasions. The regulations went into effect on January 11, 2020.[13]

While the tuy nhiên is not inherently religious, it does reference pagodas, a tiered tower used by Buddhists and Taoists for worship. Many Buddhist altars are phối up in the weeks leading up lớn Tet.[14]

The line “If you’re a farmer, you’ll gain more” refers lớn beliefs held by many Vietnamese people about the effects the new year will bring on agriculture. Tet symbolizes the start of the spring season. Farmers traditionally use this time as an opportunity lớn remember the gods of harvest.[15] The next line, “If you’re dealers, you’ll earn more” refers lớn the amount of work retailers tự in order lớn be prepared for the surge of shopping in preparation for the holiday.[16]

See also[edit]

  • List of Buddhist festivals
  • Celebrations of the Lunar New Year in other parts of Asia:
    • Chinese New Year (Spring Festival)
    • Korean New Year (Seollal)
    • Japanese New Year (Shōgatsu)
    • Mongolian New Year (Tsagaan Sar)
    • Tibetan New Year (Losar)
  • Similar Asian Lunisolar New Year celebrations that occur in April:
    • Burmese New Year (Thingyan)
    • Cambodian New Year (Chaul Chnam Thmey)
    • Lao New Year (Pii Mai)
    • Bengali New Year (Pahela Baisakh)
    • Sri Lankan New Year (Aluth Avuruddu)
    • Thai New Year (Songkran)


External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has truyền thông related lớn Tết.

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  • Tet Nguyen Dan: The Vietnamese New Year - Queens Botanical Garden
  • Vietnamese New Year customs
  • Tet Holiday
  • Vietnamese calendar rules - Hồ Ngọc Đức, Leipzig University.
  • Tết - Vietnamese Lunar New Year Traditions
  • Tet Festival Orange County Fairgrounds, Costa Mesa, CA
  • Tet on Phu Quoc Island on Vietnam's largest island
  • Tết Festival - San Francisco
  • Vietnamese New Year – Learn about the traditions and customs of the Tet Holiday