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Vietnamese New Year customs

VGP – The Lunar New Year Festival is the most important popular in Viet Nam as during the time, Vietnamese people practice a number of New Year customs.

February 10, 2013 7:09 PM GMT+7

1. Clean and decorate the home

One of the first preparation steps to welcome Tet Holiday is cleaning and decorating the house.

It is a common belief that cleaning the house will get rid of the bad fortunes associated with the old year.

Vietnamese usually carefully sweep and scrub the floor, begin for the cleaning is the ancestor altars then ahead to the kitchen where is believed that the Kitchen God exists. 

Some make up with new paintings, flower vases while others make the house newer with a new color painting wall or some colorful ribbons. 

2. Literally means "getting new clothes"

Likely to some other biggest holidays, Christmas, New Year’s Days, Thanks Giving, either Tet Holiday brings to all people a new look through new clothes.

This is often the most exciting part of the Vietnamese New Year among children.

Parents usually purchase new clothes and shoes for their children a month prior to the New Year. However, children cannot wear their new clothes until the first day of the New Year and onward. The best outfit is always worn on the first day of the year.

3. Sending the Kitchen Gods to the Heaven (Ong Tao) 

It is important to offer a farewell ceremony “The Kitchen God” to the Heaven Palace on 23rd (seven days prior to Tet holidays) because he needs to report to the Emperor what has happening through the year.

An interesting vehicle for the God is “Carp Fish.” People said that the bigger the carp is the faster the God could reach up the Heaven. And Vietnamese usually send the carp to the Kitchen God by grilling and praying at the kitchen.

4. New Year's Eve

A common and significant task that happens on New Year is New Year’s Eve, when all people gather and pray for the incoming year.

It is also time for the Kitchen God returning. At the stroke of midnight all problems from the previous year are left behind and mayhem ensues.

5. The aura of the earth

Giao Thua is the most sacred time of the year. Therefore, the first houseguest to offer the first greeting is very important.

If that particular guest has a good aura (well respected, well educated, successful, famous, etc.), then the family believes that they will receive luck and good fortune throughout the year.

The belief of "Xong Dat" still remains nowadays, especially among families with businesses. 

6. Apricot flowers and peach flowers

Flower buds and blossoms are the symbols for new beginning.

These two distinctive flowers are widely sold and purchased during Tet.

Apricot flowers (Hoa Mai) are the yellow apricot flowers often seen in Southern Viet Nam. Hoa Mai are more adaptable to the hot weather of southern regions, thus, it is known as the primary flower in every home.

Peach flowers are the warm pink of the peach blossoms that match well with the dry, cold weather from the North.

7. Giving away red envelopes (filled with lucky money) 

This is a cultural practice that has been maintained for generations. The red envelopes symbolize luck and wealth.

This greeting ritual and Li Xi is also known as Mung Tuoi, honoring the achievement of another year to one's life. 

Before receiving the red envelope, children must send some best wishes to their ancestors.

The amount of money would grow up to the children age./.