If you do some research about Vietnam before, you will absolutely find out Tet holiday – the Lunar new year, is the most important festival around the year in Vietnam. Lunar new year is an occasion for summarizing what they did in last year and planning for new year.
Some people consider Lunar new year as a mark for every changes, plan or progress. Tet is also a memorable opportunity for every children who work far from hometown to comeback and have a happy time with their family after a hard-working.
Preparation before Tet
The festival often takes place from late January to early February depending on the cycle of the Lunar Calendar. The peak of Tet is in only three first days of lunar new year. However, people in Vietnam often spend nearly half of a month to prepare the festival.
Before Tet holiday, people clean their houses and decorate them beautifully with kumquat tree, peach blossoms or apricot blossoms. The streets are also festooned with lightening lanterns and red banner “Chuc Mung Nam Moi” or “Happy New Year”.
You can discover how Vietnamese prepare for Tet here: How Vietnamese people prepare for Tet
On the eve night
Different from Chinese new year where family members usually have dinner together on the eve-night and eat some special food, the eve-night in Vietnam is when people do some offerings to invite the kitchen’s God return their home. In Vietnamese culture, people believe that every kitchen has a God to protect their home during the year. If there are some children under 12 years old in home, their parents often dedicate a boiled chicken to kitchen’s God to pray for their children a safe year.
Nowaday, it change a little. Especially in Vietnamese young family, offering take place more simply with some fruits, they tend to gather their friends or relatives to have dinner together in the eve-night. In nearly 0:00 a.m, people rush out into the street to watch the firework.
The indispensable thing in Tet is that people cook “banh chung” while waiting for 0:00 a.m of lunar new year. “Banh chung” often take half day for preparing and wrapping and all night for cooking. They give the lucky wishes, tell funny jokes and ancestors’s stories together under the firework.
On three days of lunar new year
In Vietnam, there is a statement:” mung 1 tet cha, mung 2 tet me, mung 3 tet thay” – mean ” the first day is for father, the second is for mother, the third day is for teacher”. However, it’s sometimes happens not like that.
Offering activity take place during 3 first days of new year in order to invite the ancestors return in home and welcome a lunar new year together. Vietnamese women prepare some special food to dedicate their ancestors.
In the first day, Vietnamese people often visit their ancestor’s tomb to show their love, gratitude and respect to the deceased. This is also the way to teach their next generation about their ancestors. Parent take their children to visit grandparents and relatives. Children wish the health and richness in front of the older and get the lucky money from them. It’s is one of the lucky things should do during Tet in Vietnam to get lucky for a new year.
The second day is for friends and colleges. The traffic is heavy at that time. People in new clothes visit their friends, their colleges and give them their best wishes for a new year. During a hard-working year, people don’t have time to sit down together and send the good saying to each other. Tet holiday is a special time for these meaningful activities.
On the last day of 3 most important days in Lunar new year, Vietnamese people tend to visit their teachers. In Vietnam as well as almost Eastern countries, “honor the teacher and respect his teaching” culture is cared and appreciated. Therefore, people despite not being student anymore, always visit their teachers and wish them health and success in a new year.
However, outing activities and parties extend to the seventh or even eighth of lunar new year.
Top 5 iconic food on Tet holiday
1.BANH CHUNG-BANH TET – STICKY CAKE
It would not be Tet without “banh chung”, “banh tet”. They are basically the same in ingredients and cooking. Both are made with sticky rice, stewed green beans and pork. They are often wrapped by banana leaves. Sticky cake takes a long time, about 12 hours for cook to perfection. So, what is the differences between them?
The answer is the shape. “Banh chung” is shaped as a square, while “banh tet” is in cylinder. In the North, people tend to made “banh chung”. Otherwise, “banh tet” is more popular in the south and central of Vietnam.
“Hat dua” or watermelon seed is an indispensable thing on Tet holiday. It is hard for foreigners to bite the melon seeds and get the core. I guess that this food will addict you those day.
Watermelon seeds are toasted and then split, with both black and red varieties available.
“Mut” represent a traditional lunar new year. “Mut” – sugar coated fruits or dried fruits can be coconuts, ginger, kiwi, orange,…”Mut” is served as a kind of sweet snack. Like “hat dua”, sugar coated fruits are displayed on the table during Tet for welcoming the guests. Guests pick some “mut” while chatting with the host.
4.DUA MON CU KIEU – PICKLED SHALLOTS
Pickled shallots is a side dish, but without pickled shallot, Tet won’t be perfect. Shallots, sometimes with payaya, carot cutted into thin slices, are dried. Fish sauce is cooked with sugar to make the sweet taste. After cooling, fish sauce will be poured into the jar with shallots.
Pickled shallots are eaten with sticky rice, “thit mam” to make the dish more delicious and more “Tet” taste.
The dish is made by pork, after often cutting in the medium rectangle or depend on maker, marinated with sugar for around 6 hours and then boiled in fish sauce. A big jar will be prepared on the side and, after pork is ready, pork and fish sauce are put together in the jar for pickling process.
“Thit mam” can be available for eating after 1 day. The dish is often served in the thin slices for roll style, eating with rice or banh chung.
The reason for “thit mam” as a must-have food in lunar new year is that pork in this method can keep during 1 month. People believe that keeping meat during the first lunar month will make the whole year rich.
You can discover some related post here: how to prepare Tet in Viet nam, …