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Vietnamese Tet – Dos and Don’ts

  • By Easia Admin
  • February, 12, 2018

Tet holiday has become more and more popular among travelers in Vietnam, particularly because it is celebrated in a completely different way from the usual New Year holiday. There are, however, a few unwritten rules you should tell your travelers to keep in mind if they want to enjoy the most popular Vietnamese event like a true local.

1. Pay all debts before Tet
Before New Year’s Eve, return all things you borrowed. People believe they will spend the whole next year in debt if they start the new year with even a tiny debt.

2. Give away lucky money and wishes

During Tet, adults are supposed to give children and the elderly lucky money, also known as “lì xì” as a symbol of fortune. Wishes are also shared with the hope that all good things come to everyone.

3. Smile
A smile could be a magical tool to light up anyone’s mood as it brings joy and enhances relationships among people. When visiting Vietnam during Tet, you’ll rarely see someone not smiling on the streets.

4. Wear bold, bright colors

Though people dress up everyday, Tet is still a special occasion to wear new and beautiful outfits. Ao dai and colorful dresses are the preferred clothing of choice. It is believed that bold and bright colors such as red or yellow can bring good luck and prosperity for the upcoming year.

5. Visit temples and pagodas

Vietnam is a spiritual country, so don’t be surprised when most of the temples and pagodas are full of people during Tet. Vietnamese often go there to pray for a new year of peace and happiness.

1. Lend or borrow money
People avoid lending or borrowing money during Tet as it is considered a sign for a poor and unlucky year.

2. Mistreat others
As smile is encouraged, Vietnamese people neither fight nor argue with others. They tend to give away kindness, for instance, setting free birds, a tradition originated by the Buddhism’s causality idea.

3. Sweep the house
People do not sweep the house as they believe it can shoo the luck away. That is why you should clean up and decorate your house before Tet.

4. Wear black or white clothes

White and black are usually seen at funerals in Vietnam. As a result, these two colors symbolize death and bad luck if you wear them on the first days of the Lunar New Year. Of course you can wear whatever you like, but don’t try an all-black or white-on-white outfit!

5. Eat “bad luck” food
Tet is also a party, literally. Vietnamese people usually store a lot of food in the fridge to prepare for Tet since some markets do not open during the time and the prices may increase slightly. A wide range of food is prepared, except for those considered bad luck such as duck, squid or dog meat. Don’t be afraid when you see the list of what you should not do.

Be brave! And be excited to be a part of this tradition, we promise your travelers will never regret celebrating the Lunar New Year in a true Vietnamese Tet atmosphere.

Easia Travel offers opportunities to discover Vietnamese culture, including programs during Tet. Let our tour guides take them along the journey by contacting

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