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◀️ Relationships — Previous Lesson Next Lesson — Mid-Autumn Festival ▶️

VietnameseCulture0 to A1 Course → Holidays and Celebrations → Tet

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Welcome to the lesson on Tet, one of the most significant holidays in Vietnamese culture. In this lesson, you will learn about the cultural significance of Tet and discover the associated vocabulary. Tet, also known as Vietnamese New Year, is a time of joy, reunion, and new beginnings. It is celebrated by Vietnamese people all over the world, and understanding Tet is essential for gaining insight into Vietnamese culture and traditions. So let's dive into the vibrant world of Tet and explore its rich customs and rituals!

Background[edit | edit source]

Tet is the most important holiday in Vietnam and marks the arrival of the Lunar New Year. The date of Tet varies each year, usually falling between late January and mid-February, following the lunar calendar. The festival lasts for seven days, with the main celebrations occurring on the first three days.

Tet is deeply rooted in Vietnamese culture and has a long history that dates back thousands of years. It combines elements of both agricultural traditions and spiritual beliefs. The festival is a time to honor ancestors, welcome the spring season, and wish for good fortune in the coming year.

Customs and Traditions[edit | edit source]

Tet is a time of great joy and celebration, with many customs and traditions observed. Let's explore some of the most important ones:

Cleaning and Decoration[edit | edit source]

In the days leading up to Tet, Vietnamese families thoroughly clean their houses to sweep away any bad luck from the previous year and make room for good luck in the new year. They also decorate their homes with various items, such as colorful flowers, fruit displays, and traditional symbols like the "Cay Neu" (a tall bamboo pole) and "Hoang Lien Son" (a string of firecrackers). These decorations are believed to bring prosperity and luck to the household.

New Year's Eve[edit | edit source]

On New Year's Eve, families gather for a reunion dinner called "Tet Nguyen Dan." This is a time for family members to come together, pay respects to their ancestors, and enjoy a lavish feast. Traditional dishes like "banh chung" (sticky rice cake) and "thit kho" (braised pork) are prepared and shared among loved ones. After the meal, families often visit pagodas or temples to pray for blessings and offer incense.

Giving and Receiving Lucky Money[edit | edit source]

One of the most cherished traditions of Tet is the giving and receiving of "li xi" (lucky money) in small red envelopes. Elders give these envelopes to younger family members, symbolizing good luck, blessings, and prosperity for the coming year. The act of giving and receiving lucky money is also a way to express love, respect, and gratitude within the family.

Visiting Relatives and Friends[edit | edit source]

During Tet, it is customary to visit relatives, friends, and neighbors to exchange New Year's greetings. This practice is called "di chuc Tet" and is an important way to strengthen family ties and maintain social connections. People often bring gifts, such as fruits, flowers, or traditional delicacies, when visiting others. It is also common to offer well wishes and blessings for health, happiness, and success in the new year.

Fireworks and Lion Dance[edit | edit source]

Fireworks and the Lion Dance are integral parts of Tet celebrations in Vietnam. The sound of fireworks is believed to scare away evil spirits and bring good luck. Lion dancers, wearing colorful lion costumes, perform acrobatic movements to the beat of drums and cymbals. The Lion Dance is thought to bring fortune and drive away bad luck, making it a highlight of Tet festivities.

Vocabulary[edit | edit source]

Now that you have an understanding of the customs and traditions associated with Tet, let's learn some vocabulary related to this festive occasion. Here are some essential words and phrases that will help you navigate conversations and immerse yourself in the spirit of Tet:

Vietnamese Pronunciation English
Tết [tet] Tet (Vietnamese New Year)
Chúc Mừng Năm Mới [chuk moong num moy] Happy New Year
Gia Đình [ya dinh] Family
Bánh Chưng [bun chung] Sticky rice cake
Hoa Đào [hwa dao] Peach blossom (symbol of Tet)
Cây Nêu [kai new] Bamboo pole (decorative item)
Li Xi [lee xi] Lucky money (red envelope)
Cung Điện [kung din] Imperial Palace (popular destination during Tet)
Lì Xì [lee xi] Prosperity and good fortune
Chúc Sức Khỏe [chuk suk kho-e] Wishing you good health
An Khang Thịnh Vượng [an khang ting voo-ong] Wishing you peace and prosperity

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Congratulations! You have now learned about the significance of Tet and explored the associated vocabulary. Tet is a time of joy, reunion, and new beginnings in Vietnamese culture. It is a festival that brings families together, honors ancestors, and welcomes the arrival of spring. By understanding Tet and its customs, you have gained valuable insights into Vietnamese traditions and values. Keep practicing the vocabulary you have learned and immerse yourself in the festive spirit of Tet. Chúc Mừng Năm Mới! (Happy New Year!)

Videos[edit | edit source]

6 Traditional Customs to Do for VIETNAMESE TET (Lunar New Year ...[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

Other Lessons[edit | edit source]

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