Vietnamese New Year Traditions
New Year in Vietnam is not only a holiday but also the biggest event of the year. It is tradition of thousand years of history. In Vietnamese, New Year means Nam Moi or Tet Nguyen Dan, which also means “the very first morning”. Nevertheless, people commonly call it Tet as its short form. As traditionally, the holiday lasts three days, starting from January first on lunar calendar. However, the spirit of Tet starts on December twenty third, seven days before Tet’s Eve. It is the day people bid the Kitchen Gods, the genies who live in the kitchens and guard the family, farewell so that they return to heaven and report to the Father God all the good and bad things which have happened in that house. It is believed that on December thirtieth, the Kitchen Gods come back home together with the ancestors’ spirits to celebrate the holiday with the family. Therefore, Vietnamese people always prepare for and celebrate Tet very ceremonially. Tet is not only an occasion to refresh old things and a time to recall and show gratitude to the ancestors but also a chance for everyone to get together and enjoy a good time. First, Tet is an occasion to refresh old things from a previous year by paying off debts and decorating houses as well as shopping for clothes and food. As traditionally, people try to pay off all their debts before Tet’s Eve since they believe that success and wealth are waiting for them in the following year as long as they do not owe money through the holiday. Some debtors, who cannot afford to pay off their debts before Tet, buy some small presents for the creditors instead of paying the debts and ask them for more time to pay the money. In addition, because Vietnamese people believe new things on Tet bring new opportunities and luck to the following year, they often decorate their houses with new curtains, new furniture, flowers and plants about ten days before New Year’s Eve. They usually choose bright colors for curtains...
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