Yes, its that time of year again and I am often asked what is TET?

Happy New Lunar Year from Xuan Tu’s team!

Well, ‘Tết‘ is actually short for the Vietnamese: Tết Nguyên Đán (Feast of the First Morning of the First Day) and Tết celebrates the arrival of spring based on the Vietnamese calendar. Although Tết can be a very exciting time to travel in Vietnam, it’s also the busiest time of the year to be in my amazing country. Millions of my people will be travelling to share reunions and celebrations with friends and family. Our airlines, railway and bus companies put on many additional journeys before and after this years holiday period of 4th-10th February, to cope with this mass movement of people. Our celebration will certainly impact on your travel plans!

A Grandfather, his daughter and son at home with Tết decoration

Many, many Vietnamese people return to their home villages and families; even the additional transport laid on becomes filled up in the days before and after the holiday. Plan extra time if you want to move around the country.

Tết is seen as a chance for a fresh start. Debts are settled, old grievances are forgiven, and houses are cleaned of clutter – all to set the stage for attracting as much luck and good fortune as possible in the upcoming year.  This year its ‘The Year of the Pig’.

Dressing up in our traditional “Ao Dai” for the Tết holiday

Because many shops and businesses will be closed during the actual Tết holiday, people rush out in the weeks prior to taking care of preparations. They purchase gifts, groceries, and new clothing. Many meals will need to be cooked for family reunions. Markets and shopping areas become busier and busier. Hotels get booked.

Many shops and businesses will close during Tết – 4th to 10th February this year

Our local people become even more friendly. Spirits lift, and the atmosphere becomes optimistic. A greater focus is put on the ability to invite good fortune into homes and businesses in the upcoming year. Whatever happens on the first day of the new year is thought to set the pace for the rest of the year.

Superstition abounds!

For travellers in Vietnam, Tết can seem incredibly noisy and chaotic as people celebrate in the streets by throwing firecrackers and banging gongs, or other noisy objects – to scare away evil spirits that could bring bad fortune. Any hotel rooms with windows facing the street will be extra noisy during the celebration. Tết is a great time to see Vietnamese traditions, games, and revelry. Public stages are set up throughout the country with free cultural shows, music, and entertainment.

A calligraphist writing in Hán-Nôm, our ancient text in preparation for Tết, at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi
A Grandmother and her niece at the Temple of Literature, Hanoi

Many businesses close to allow their staff to travel and celebrate our national holiday, and other places slow down with less staff on hand. Many Vietnamese families take advantage of the national holiday by travelling to tourist areas to celebrate and enjoy time away from work (Ba Na Hills resort especially will be packed, and I really mean PACKED!). Popular beach areas and tourist towns such as Hoi An will be busier with more sightseers than usual. Staff are enticed to remain ‘on duty’ with premium payments so prices for such things as accommodation and tours can increase with demand in central Vietnam especially.

Mommm… Why we don’t fly to Da Lat, a hill province near Saigon (HCMC) to celebrate our Lunar New Year! 
“Li Xi” or Lucky Money for all this Vietnamese family!
Lucky Money, or Li Xi  – the traditional little gift for the Vietnamese New Year

Tết is typically celebrated for three days with some traditions observed for up to a week. The first day is usually spent with immediate family, the second day is for visiting friends, and the third day is dedicated to teachers and visiting temples.

The third day of Tết is dedicated to our wonderful teachers – so important for the advancement of my country

So, how to say Happy New Year in Vietnamese?

Vietnamese is a tonal language, making pronunciation (and learning) a real challenge for most English speakers. But our locals will appreciate your efforts! Check out my short video below so you can wish everyone a happy lunar new year in Vietnamese, by saying: “chúc mừng năm mới”.

"Lunar New Year Wishes & Greetings" from Xuan Tu's team

Happy New Year to you all! You can see that all of us at Xuan Tu Tours are really excited about starting our new year and we look forward to greeting you all in The Year of the Pig – "Chúc Mừng Năm Mới"#lunarnewyear #tetholiday #vietnamesetet#Xuantutours #privatetours #privateshoreexcursions#Danang #Hoian #Hue #Banahills #Mysonsanctuary#CentralVietnam #Vietnam#Xuantusblog

Posted by Da Nang, Hoi An and Hue with Xuan Tu's Private Tours on Tuesday, February 5, 2019

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