return to main page

Celebrating Vietnam’s Lunar New Year, like a local

  • By The Easia Travel Team
  • January, 21, 2019
The Tet holiday, or “Vietnamese New Year,” 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. Pick up a few of these customs, and your guests will be celebrating Tet just like a local!
 What To Do

1. Dressing up

It is believed that wearing new clothes from head to toe symbolizes a new start and fresh hopes for the New Year. Vietnamese believe that New Year’s Day sets the tone for the rest of the year, so everyone tries to dress well. They usually wear brightly-colored clothes, especially the “ao dai to match the festive and upbeat mood. Black or white, symbolic of mourning and death would not be appropriate.
2.Giving away lucky money and wishes
Giving actual money in an envelope is a way of giving best wishes, as well as a financial present. It’s like the western tradition of sending a greeting card with money inside, and called by the name tien li xi “lucky money”
3. Visiting relatives and friends
Tet is about honoring and visiting friends and family. Especially on the evening of New Year, each family will hold a huge family dinner this is a huge meal, wherein everyone enjoys plenty of fantastic dishes, from special chung cake to the ever-popular spring roll. 
What To Eat
1. Chung Cake – Symbol of Earth
This is a traditional Vietnamese cake that’s only made around the Tet holiday. Both a bit sweet and savory, Chung cake is made from sticky rice, green beans, and pork, all of which is wrapped in green banana leaves and boiled overnight. Chung cake is the perfect symbol of Earth for the Vietnamese, since it combines all the unique elements of Vietnamese agriculture and folk beliefs about the shape of the world.
2. Fruit Jam – Symbol of Fortune and Happiness
Fruit Jam – “mut” is one of the most common snacks for welcoming guests during Tet. It is mainly made from dried fruits, like carrot, coconuts, apples or even some kinds of seeds – from simple roasted watermelon seeds to sunflower seeds mixed with sugar. The Vietnamese believe eating sweet things over the Tet holiday will bring them luck and happiness for the New Year.
3. Spring Rolls – Symbol of Wealth
The main ingredients of this common but incredibly popular dish are usually seasonal ground meats, eggs, mushrooms, noodles, and diced vegetables, all rolled up in a sheet of moist rice paper. The roll is then deepfried until the rice paper coat turns that deliciously familiar crisp, golden brown color.
Where To Go
1. Temples
Vietnam is, in fact, a rather spiritual country, therefore assure your guests that they will find most of the temples and pagodas are full of people during Tet. Vietnamese often go there to light incense and pray to the deities for blessings and good luck for the year ahead. Many major temples will even put on festive dragon and lion dances in the courtyard – definitely a sight worth seeing.
2. Flower Markets
The average flower market is unlike any other market you will visit. Especially around Tet, this market becomes a giant, bustling garden, full of vibrant colors and holiday energy. Flowers are often used as offerings in temples and especially in ancestor worship. Because of their pivotal role in so many Tet ceremonies and rituals, the flower markets naturally get packed during Tet, and are certainly worth a visit – if only to experience the buzzing energy of the new year!
Easia Travel offers ample opportunities like these to discover Vietnamese culture, and our programs during Tet are growing more and more popular as travelers discover the wonders and joy to be had over this holiday. Let our tour guides take them on a truly authentic cultural journey by contacting
Explore more Travel blogs
Destination news