Lunar New Year in Vietnam – An ideal time for tourists to have many great experiences and activities

For Vietnamese people, the Lunar New Year also known as "Tet Nguyen Dan" is the biggest holiday of the year and is a lifelong tradition of the people here. Lunar New Year is the longest time off after a year of hard work to reunite with family and gather together to celebrate the new year. There are many interesting things about Lunar New Year in Vietnam that not everyone knows and if you have the opportunity to travel to Vietnam during the New Year, let's enjoy the bustling atmosphere and learn many new things about Tet in this beautiful country!
Lunar New Year in Vietnam - AN Tours Vietnam

When is the Lunar New Year in Vietnam?

The Lunar New Year in Vietnam takes place on the first day of the first lunar month every year. The entire annual Lunar New Year usually lasts about 7 to 8 days at the end of the old year and the first 7 days of the new year (December 23 to January 7 of the lunar calendar).  That means Tet falls around the end of January to mid-February of the year.

Interesting things you may not know about the Lunar New Year in Vietnam

Lunar New Year in Vietnam, which people often call Tet Nguyen Dan, is a custom that has existed for a long time and has a traditional value that has been preserved for many generations. Even though life is modern and developed, Tet has many interesting stories surrounding the Lunar New Year in Vietnam that many people do not know.

Origin of the Lunar New Year Holiday

Origin of the Lunar New Year Holiday - AN Tours Vietnam

Lunar New Year is the beginning of a new year, season, and agricultural production cycle and is the biggest and most important festival for Vietnamese people. Therefore, everyone gives their best for this special holiday. According to historian Tran Van Giap about the origin of the Lunar New Year in Vietnam, “Tet” is understood based on the Chinese word “Tiet”, meaning “weather”. “Eight periods” and “weather” mean the changes in the four seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter. Lunar New Year is the first holiday of the year. Everywhere in Vietnam, people set up offering tables and have lavish meetings at the beginning of the year to celebrate the new year and think about the past year.

The two words “Nguyen Dan” are a Chinese noun. According to ancient books, after primitive times, people knew what a year was, so the first day of the year was called Nguyen Dan. “Nguyen” means “Dan” means early morning; “Nguyen” means early morning at the beginning of the year. Tet begins on the first day of January, the beginning of a new year, also the beginning of a new farming cycle. The origin of Lunar New Year in Vietnam still has no documents to prove when it originated, but people believe that the Lunar New Year has existed since the reign of the Hung King according to the legend “Banh Chung-Banh Day” with the legend Lang Lieu and banh chung. Lunar New Year has appeared since ancient times and is maintained by Vietnamese people as a good tradition until today.

The meaning of this ceremony

Origin of the Lunar New Year Holiday - AN Tours Vietnam 1

Lunar New Year is the beginning of a new growing season, so it carries great significance in the lives of Vietnamese people. For Vietnamese people, the Lunar New Year is an occasion for family reunions and reunions after a year of hard work. Expatriates who work or go to school in faraway places will return on the first day of the year to reunite with their families. No matter how busy it is, Lunar New Year is always a time when people always try to arrange their work to return home.

Is Vietnamese Tet similar to Chinese?

Is Vietnamese Tet similar to Chinese - AN Tours Vietnam

Vietnam and China, both celebrate Lunar New Year at the beginning of the year and are organized according to the lunar calendar. Tet is also an important holiday for both countries, however, the ways of celebrating Tet in Vietnam and China have their uniqueness and different characteristics.


Lunar New Year in Vietnam is called “Tet Nguyen Dan”, in China it is called “Xuan Tiet”.

Regarding customs and practices:

In Vietnam, people will eagerly celebrate Tet with traditional customs such as wrapping banh chung and banh tet, taking the Kitchen God to heaven on December 23, and preparing a five-fruit tray for New Year’s Eve offerings with the hope of a new year, peace, prosperity, and happiness. 

In China, families often post door guardians, red couplets, and red lanterns to pray for peace. They also hang on the door a sticker with the word “Phuc ” but reversed (with the implication that “Phuc ” means Lucky comes to the house).

Traditional dishes on Lunar New Year:

Vietnamese cuisine during Tet is extremely rich and diverse, reflecting the meaning of humanity and life. The Lunar New Year menu in Vietnam varies depending on the South, Central, and North regions. Among them are typical dishes such as banh chung, banh tet, palanquin, frozen meat, fried spring rolls, spring rolls, pickled onions, and bitter melon soup, which are indispensable typical dishes on the rice tray these days. the beginning of the year.

Regarding Chinese cuisine – a country with an extremely large culinary culture, the Lunar New Year menu is also completely different from that in Vietnam. The New Year meal in China never lacks longevity noodles that symbolize health, steamed fish that symbolize abundance, and dumplings that symbolize prosperity.

Customs during the Tet holiday

Customs during the Tet holiday - AN Tours Vietnam

Vietnam has maintained traditional Lunar New Year customs for many years and these customs have a strong national identity. During Tet, everyone is busy cleaning and decorating their houses to prepare for the Ong Cong – Ong Tao Festival on the 23rd day of the last lunar month. According to legend, the Earth God and Kitchen God will go to Heaven every day to report the family’s annual activities to the God of Heaven. From the 23rd to the 30th day of the last lunar month, family members come together to visit their ancestors’ graves and invite them to celebrate Tet with their families.

Along with banh chung and banh tet, the five-fruit tray is an indispensable item on every family’s altar during Tet. Not only does it create a cozy feeling for the house, but the flower tray also has the effect of conveying the best wishes for the new year.

Activities you can do during the Lunar New Year

During the New Year in Vietnam, there are many traditional activities taking place and if you have the opportunity to visit Vietnam during the Lunar New Year, you will admire an ancient but extremely interesting culture. There are many extremely attractive activities taking place at this time.

1. Shopping for holiday items

Shopping for holiday items - AN Tours Vietnam

The days before the Lunar New Year officially takes place and people begin the long holiday season, pre-Tet shopping is the busiest and happiest time. People will go shopping for the necessary items and ingredients to cook during the New Year. Vietnamese people often buy new clothes to wear at the beginning of the year, buy fruit to make offerings, and the most popular cakes, jams, and candies to treat guests to their homes. In addition, home decoration items will be purchased to decorate the place to welcome the new year.

2. Celebrate New Year's Eve

Celebrate New Year's Eve - AN Tours Vietnam

When the clock strikes exactly 0 hours 0 minutes 0 second it is New Year’s Eve. This is a significant time because it is the transition between the old year and the new year. All activities in the house must take place before New Year’s Eve, including eating, bathing, changing clothes, and cleaning the house. According to folklore, you should not clean your house in the new year because doing so will make all your money go away and this is unlucky. When it’s exactly 0 o’clock, everyone in the family will gather together to watch fireworks, chat together, and go to rest to go to the temple the next morning and celebrate the New Year.

3. Pack Banh Chung and Banh Tet

Pack Banh Chung and Banh Tet - AN Tours Vietnam

The custom of wrapping Banh Chung-Banh Tet on the Tet holiday has become a traditional cultural feature of the Vietnamese people, passed down through many generations of Vietnamese people, demonstrating the beauty of wet rice civilization. Every time Spring comes, people and families wrap banh chung to celebrate Tet and offer the cake to their ancestors’ altars. According to ancient beliefs in celebrating traditional Tet, Tet banh chung represents the harmony of heaven and earth, expressing the dreams of people and families for a prosperous, peaceful, and happy new year. Banh Chung – Banh Tet is made with sticky rice soaked overnight, the filling inside is made from green beans and pork belly. Once the cake is wrapped and then steamed, it will have an extremely delicious and unique flavor. This is a dish that is never missing from the Lunar New Year tray of Vietnamese people and has always been a beautiful cultural feature of the country for many generations.

4. Kitchen Guardians worship

Kitchen Guardians worship - AN Tours Vietnam

The ceremony to worship Kitchen Guardians is conducted from December 17 to 23. The offerings depend on each family but must include 3 sets of hats, clothes, and carp. The Kitchen Guardian worshiping ceremony is associated with the legend of Kitchen Guardians with many variations. Relevant ancient documents all believe that this practice originated from the custom of worshiping the “Five Words”, to pay the 5 gods in the family: the Door God (Guardian God), and the Window God. (Middle Class God), Kitchen God (Apples God) and House Path God (Hanh God). ThGate god (Mon Than), this worshiping ceremony is very important during the Lunar New Year because these are the gods that protect the family, bringing health and peace.

5. First foot when visiting relatives' house

First foot when visiting relatives' house - AN Tours Vietnam

Another interesting thing about the Lunar New Year in Vietnam is the custom of breaking ground at the beginning of the year. First food, also known as groundbreaking, is a long-standing custom in Vietnam. The ancients believed that if the first person to come to wish the family a Happy New Year is someone of the same age as the homeowner, then the homeowner will have a lot of luck and fortune throughout the year. According to ancient beliefs, after New Year’s Eve, everything in the house is very new, that’s why homeowners often pray that at the beginning of the year, someone will bring luck, and prosperity to the family. Therefore, the first person who comes to the house to wish New Year is very important and is highly respected in the new year.

6. Happy New Year, lucky money for Tet

Happy New Year, lucky money for Tet - AN Tours Vietnam

The custom of lucky money, also known as lucky money, during Tet usually takes place during the new days of the traditional Lunar New Year. This custom originates from neighboring China. The legend about this custom says that in the past, in Dong Hai, many types of ferocious monsters roamed living beings, especially young children. Giving lucky money to others on Tet is like giving good wishes to the person you give lucky money to, wishing them good health and good luck in the new year. That is also the main meaning of giving lucky money for Tet. In the past, lucky money was only given to children on Lunar New Year, but today, anyone can receive lucky money. Young people will also give lucky money to the elderly with the meaning of wishing them a long life of 100 years and always be healthy and peaceful.

7. Explore the neighborhood where you live during the Tet

Explore the neighborhood where you live during the Tet - AN Tours Vietnam

In addition to gathering with family and friends on Lunar New Year, you can also organize a party with neighbors living in the surrounding neighborhood, eat, drink, and chat together. This will be an unforgettable memory on New Year’s Day when everyone sits together to talk in a bustling atmosphere that will create a joyful new year.

8. Participate in festivals at tourist destinations

Participate in festivals at tourist destinations - AN Tours Vietnam

In addition to traditional Vietnamese activities on Tet, when coming to Vietnam on Tet day, tourists can join a tour here to take advantage of the Tet atmosphere, thereby learning more about Vietnam’s history. Clear history and culture of Vietnam. Tourists can watch fireworks at midnight on Nguyen Hue walking street and countdown to welcome the new year if they visit Ho Chi Minh City during Tet. Some other flower shooting locations are Hanoi and Da Nang and tourists on Tet can participate in the country’s largest flower festival held in Dong Thap Province and the Flower Festival in Da Lat. In the northern provinces of Vietnam, there are many festivals imbued with national identity and sharp cultural traditions such as the Huong Pagoda Festival in Hanoi and the Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival in Ninh Binh. These festivals attract many international visitors when visiting Vietnam and should be tried if you have a little bit of travel to Vietnam.

You can learn more about some of the day’s activity articles below:

Read more at Things to do to in Tet

Different changes during each Lunar New Year holiday

Different changes during each Lunar New Year holiday - AN Tours Vietnam

Purchasing prices on Tet days increase compared to normal days:

On Lunar New Year, everything prices increase by 20-25% compared to normal days. When you go to eat at restaurants during Tet, the restaurants will charge an additional fee for Tet services, and sugar items sold at the market such as fruits and flowers will increase. The reason for the price increase is that, during the New Year, everyone does not go to work and returns to their hometowns, so the shops have no waiters, so they have increased this cost.

Many places are closed on Lunar New Year:

Most large restaurants, small eateries, and shopping centers will close during Tet because they will rest after a year of hard work. Therefore, buy all the necessary food ingredients and utensils before Tet because you cannot buy them if you need them because many places are closed.

The streets are not as crowded as usual

Some big cities on Tet holiday such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are quite deserted in the early days of the Lunar New Year because everyone has returned to their hometown. The bustling scene will disappear because students won’t go to school and office workers won’t go to work. This is the most typical image of every New Year because everyone is busy returning home and welcoming the New Year with their families. However, after a few days of the Tet holidays, the streets will become more bustling, and tourist destinations will be quite crowded because, after the holidays, families will start traveling to enjoy the holidays.

Traveling in the Lunar New Year and Things You Must Know

Traveling in the Lunar New Year and Things You Must Know - AN Tours Vietnam

New Year is a rare free time for people to travel with their relatives and friends. However, there are some things to keep in mind when traveling during Lunar New Year to avoid some unnecessary trouble.

Book flight tickets and hotel rooms early to get good deals

If you want to travel on the Lunar New Year, plan 1-2 months to book air tickets, hotels, and tours. When booking tickets early, the cost will be much cheaper than booking tickets close to the departure date. Also, if you book a hotel room late, there is a risk of running out of rooms because people travel on holidays in large numbers. Therefore, if you travel during the New Year, always plan to avoid wasting a lot of time and money.

Eat and drink:

When traveling for Tet, you must be very careful about what you eat and drink, avoid food poisoning or digestive disorders that cause stomach aches or eat unfamiliar foods, disrupting the happy atmosphere of traveling at the beginning of the new year. 

In addition, because it is Tet, some shops will close for a few days and then reopen after 3-4 days of Tet holiday. There are also quite a few restaurants that sell during Tet and if you want to eat, search on Google and Click on the “Currently open” filter to see which eateries and restaurants are open. In addition, the proposed list also includes information “Open – Closed at…” for each place about opening times to get to the restaurant. During the Lunar New Year, the restaurant will charge an additional service fee and you should note this to avoid being surprised. You don’t need to worry too much because restaurants are closed, supermarkets and many large restaurants in Vietnam are still open normally, although there is a surcharge of 5-10%, but this price is acceptable, so please keep it up. Search for restaurants on Google and ask hotel staff to be sure.

Find out in advance information about upcoming tourist destinations:

Before your trip, you should learn about tourist information in the destination: Customs, specialties, landmarks, weather during Tet season, etc. Researching in advance is especially important when you travel to Vietnam for Tet, it will help you avoid being surprised when visiting this place. You can contact AN Tours Vietnam for trip advice and can find out information about Vietnam’s tourist destinations through the Vietnam Travel Advice handbook from AN Tours Vietnam.

Choose a reputable travel company:

You need to take the time to research and choose the most reliable travel company to book a Tet tour. Read the company’s website as well as reviews on fan pages or travel groups to learn about service quality, included and accompanying services, prices, advance deposits, hotels, and meals. , support with passport and visa documents. In addition, find out about attractive and highly rated tours and whether they operate during Tet or not. Tourists can choose AN Tours Vietnam, which has many extremely attractive tours for tourists and will bring tourists experiences that cannot be found anywhere else and to places that few tourists know.

You can read more information about Vietnam Travel at Vietnam Travel Guide by AN Tours Vietnam

Choose a tourist destination with few people

During Tet, you should avoid or limit going to famous places in Vietnam like Da Lat because it is quite crowded and jostling. Choose some places where you can explore beautiful nature or pristine beaches. In addition, you can also visit rural areas and rivers like the Mekong Delta for a completely new and relaxing experience.

Schedule attractions

If you have decided to travel on holidays, especially Tet, you should determine that locations will be overloaded. Therefore, before leaving, you should prepare a schedule of places to visit one day in advance. This way, members on the trip will be mentally prepared to not feel tired or lose interest while traveling.

Lunar New Year is a very special occasion for Vietnamese people and also clearly reflects Vietnamese culture through the biggest holiday of the year. Travel to Vietnam during Tet to enjoy the festive atmosphere and learn about many attractive tourist destinations. Contact AN Tours Vietnam immediately for advice on interesting tours and support for quick visa procedures.

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