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Company News

Vietnamese Traditional Tet Nguyen Dan

(10/2/2015)
We are living in the very first days of 2015 when the New Year eve has just passed in great celebration and hope of the whole world for a prospective year ahead. Soon January flies away and then comes February – the time Vietnamese people once again welcome their Lunar New Year - TET NGUYEN DAN (TET) holiday.  

While clinking champagne glasses, celebrating lavish parties … have long become iconic pictures of New Year celebration in other parts of the world , what has occurred in this elongated-S-shape country is quite different. And this article is with hope to give you an interesting insight into how TET NGUYEN TAN is celebrated in Vietnam.  

TET NGUYEN DAN AT A GLANCE

The word “NGUYEN” means the start of something while “DAN” means the dawn. NGUYEN DAN then can be understood as the very first dawns of the Lunar New Year. And the timing to celebrate TET NGUYEN DAN chosen by the ancient Vietnamese is believed to capture the operating cycle of the universe that pictures the harmonious blend of human beings and the nature.

In an agriculture-dominated country like Vietnam, people believe that Gods have supported them in maintaining their crop productivity. Hence, Vietnamese people traditionally consider TET as an occasion to express their grateful gratitude towards the Earth Genie, the God of Thunder, the God of Water, etc. Besides, TET is said to be a privileged opportunity for family’s members to reunite and celebrate a new year with their beloved ones.

The beginning of TET is marked with the first three days of the lunar calendar. However, in the weeks before TET, the country is in the midst of preparations for family reunions, house decoration, ritual worshiping, and debt paying off, etc.

CUSTOMS PRACTICED DURING TET NGUYEN DAN HOLIDAY

Household decoration

Household decoration must be conducted before the New Year’s Day as the appearance of cleaning facilities after that is believed to sweep all the good lucks away.

 Photo by: Khai Le 
People spend time collecting nice pictures about TET and hanging them up on the walls. Colorful bunches of flowers such as yellow chrysanthemums, sunflowers, and kumquat trees…are beautifully displayed insides and outsides houses. Talking about flowers, interestingly there are two types of flowers only blooming on TET Holiday including apricot flowers and peach flowers. They hence are chosen to be TET’s typical flowers. People from the North of Vietnam much prefer peach flowers while those from the South are interested in apricot flowers. 

 

Photo by: Khai Le 
Apart from decoration flowers, every household also makes good preparation of fruits encompassing bananas, oranges, grapefruits, coconuts, papayas, mango, watermelons,…Each type of fruit symbolizes a specific meaning of luck, prosperity, and good health…

Kitchen God Worshiping

It is believed that each year on the 23rd day of the last Lunar month, Kitchen Gods (two males, one female) of each family visit Jade Emperor and submit to him their reports about their in-charge family’s household activities. On the New Year’s Eve, they return to the Earth to continue their duties as family “take-carer”. Each household also buys a carp which is a mean of transport for the Gods on their trip to heaven. After the ritual, they set the carp free. Undeniably, Vietnamese people no matter where they are or what they do consider this activity as an integral part of what to be done before TET.

TET Specialty Food Preparation

It seems most Vietnamese women are much busier before TET. Apart from other household work, they also dedicate their time to preparing good food for the whole family.  Some specialty of TET can be listed as follows Chung cake - a square shaped rice package of sticky rice, bean and seasoned pork ; Tet cake – a tube shaped rice package of sticky rice, bean and pork; candied fruits; nuts; pickles…(Chung cake and Tet cake are commonly used in the North and the South of Vietnam respectively). Those cakes are unique in Vietnam Lunar New Year celebration which sets our Tet holiday apart from those in other Asian countries. 
 

Source: Internet

Ancestral worshiping

On the 30th day of the last lunar month (or the 29th day), people often worship their ancestors. By doing so, they believe their ancestors will also be able to feel and enjoy the atmosphere of TET with the family.

At 12.00 a.m on the New Year’s Eve right at the moment of saying goodbye to the old year and welcoming the New Year, Vietnamese people also do the ancestral worshiping.

All these worshiping activities are with hope to get the spiritual support from their ancestors so that the whole family will be able to gain good health, success, and happiness.

TET greetings

During TET, people often visit their family members, relatives, friends and dedicate beautiful New Year’s greetings and wishes. Lucky money – the so-called “Li Xi” will be nicely enveloped in red paper and given to children and elderly people with hope of bringing them good luck and happiness.

 

Source: Internet

 It goes without saying that modern Vietnamese society has transformed rapidly in the effect of intensified exposure to the globalization forces. In such context, TET and our cultures of this spring festival have been revolving accordingly. However, precious spiritual and cultural values around the Tet holiday are still sustained. And the above mentioned customs practiced during TET are not exhaustive but they just simply make TET NGUYEN DAN something worthwhile to treasure. TET, indeed, is forever irreplaceable in the spiritual life of Vietnamese, through times, through generation and changes.