(Construction) - Many Vietnamese prepare for Tet by cooking special holiday foods and cleaning their house. There are a lot of customs practiced during Tet.
Like other Asian countries, Vietnamese believe that the color of red and yellow will bring good fortune, which may explain why these colors can be seen everywhere in Lunar New Year. Vietnamese people usually return to their families during Tet. Some return to worship at the family altar or visit the graves of their ancestors in their homeland. Although Tet is a national holiday among all Vietnamese, each region and religion has its own customs.
Because of the fact that Vietnamese families are so close-knitted, Tet Holiday is considered the best occassion for family members to return home and get together. During Tết, Vietnamese spend time shopping for the New Year, go to Pagodas and Temples.
The Vietnamese believe that Tet Holiday is an occasion to enjoy life after a full hard-working year, thus people forget their struggles and focus on making the celebration as festive as possible. Tết is consumed with distinctive colors and flavors.
Children wear their new clothes, give their elders the traditional Tet greetings before receiving the lucky money from them in exchange. Tet is also an occasion for pilgrims and family reunions. During Tet, Vietnamese visits their relatives and temples, forgetting the troubles of the past year and hoping for a better upcoming year.
Tết is usually decorated by Ochna integerrima (in the central and southern parts of Vietnam) or peach flower (in the northern part of Vietnam). In the north or central, the kumquat tree is a popular decoration for the living room during Tết. Its bright orange-colored fruits represent the fertility and fruitfulness that the family hopes for in the coming year.
Sticky square cake
Bánh Chưng or sticky spuare cake is a food made from glutinous rice, bean and pork, added with many other ingredients. Bánh Chưng is covered by green leaves and symbolizes the Earth, invented by the prince Lang Liêu from Hùng King dynasty. Bánh Chưng is chosen as the main food for Tết holiday because of it can last long for days in Vietnamese weather.
Xôi or sticky rice is also a very important part of Têt holiday in Vietnam, along with Bánh Chưng, xôi is the main staple foods for Tết holiday. Xôi can be seen in many forms. Among these types, xôi gấc (with red color) is favorite the most by people because of its special red color – symbolizes the luck and new achievement for the New Year.
Tết jam is a food to serve in a meal during Tết holiday. This once-in-year mix of snack is very large in variety such as ginger, carrot, coconut, pineapple, pumpkin, lotus seed, star fruit, etc.
Above all, time to Tet is counting down, so if you want to experience this extremely special event at least once in a life, just come to this time and have a Lunar New Year trip in Vietnam.
By Khanh Phuong