Vietnam Traditional Lunar New Year
Vietnam Traditional Lunar New Year. Which is Tet Holiday, furthermore is the most important, sacred holidays and has a profound meaning in Viet Nam. It takes places from the first day of the first month of The Lunar Calendar until at least the third day. For Vietnamese, Tet is not only the occasion for a family reunion but also a time to preserve the national identity through the traditional customs maintenance. Depending on each region or the Vietnamese religious concepts, the customs in each locality are usually slightly different. But in general, the common point of the New Year customs is divided into three periods: Before New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Eve and The New Year. Each period corresponds to the preparation, the ritual or the different forms of expression.
Prepare for Kitchen God to The Heaven
Each family, Kitchen God who helps people keep fire and protect their house so Vietnamese people always respects him. On 23rd December (Lunar Calendar) every year, he is responsible for returning to the Heaven to report what happened in the house in old year to Allas. This day, Vietnamese people will prepare a table with foods, fruits and golden carp as the mean of transportation for Kitchen God and they would like him to report to Allas the good because according to folklore this is the day the Jade Emperor will charge or reward the host based on what Kitchen God reported. This is a nice custom with the spiritual meaning of local people.
Giao Thừa (The New Year’s Eve)
Giao Thừa is the most sacred point of time, the passage from the old to the new year. It is popularly believed that in Heaven there are twelve Highnesses in charge of monitoring and controlling the affairs on earth, each of them taking charge of one year. Giao Thừa is the moment of seeing off the old chieftain upon the conclusion of his term and welcoming in the new one upon his assumption of office. For this reason, every home makes offerings in the open air to pray for a good new year.
Tết Market – Vietnam Traditional Lunar New Year
Vietnamese people go to the market mainly to buy the leaves, meat, onion, fruits, flowers, … They also have a preference for home decoration with many kinds of flowers and display tray five fruits on Tết. The flowers that are indispensable for the Tết festival are peach blossom, apricot blossom, sea lily, lobster, peony, etc. The fruit tray is dependent on the region where there are different fruits. All of them carry the meaning: security, good health, full of happiness and prosperity.
The first day of Tết is the time for family reunion, adults and children gathered and exchanged greetings. Usually, children wear new clothes and give their elders the traditional Tết greetings before receiving a red envelope containing money. This tradition is called “mừng tuổi” (happy new age) in the north and “lì xì” in the south. Greetings is a unique culture and indispensable on New Year’s Day.
Common greetings for Tết include:
An khang thịnh vượng (security, good health, and prosperity)
Vạn sự như ý (may myriad things go according to your will)
Sức khỏe dồi dào (Plenty of health)
Cung hỉ phát tài (congratulations and be prosperous)
Tiền vô như nước (many money flows in like water): used informally
Vietnamese families also buy home peach blossom trees, apricot blossom trees, (both are typical of northern and southern plants), kumquat tree, marigold, carnation, gerbera, hydrangea, orchid,… Each type of flower has a special name that symbolizes luck and happiness all year. There are also fruits like custard, coconut, papaya, mango, watermelon, … and they symbolize the fertility and fruitfulness that the family hopes for in the coming year.
Visit the ancestral grave
Before the Lunar New Year, the descendants of the family will gather together to visit and sweep the ancestral graves. Each family brought light candles, fruits to worship, invited their ancestors to celebrate Tet with their descendants, together to review the memories of the old year, wish the good things for The New Year to come.
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