Chúc mừng năm mới

Tết in Vietnam

Tết, or the Lunar New Year, began on January 28 in Vietnam, but I have been hearing about it since I arrived five months ago.  This is the most important and anticipated holiday in Vietnam.  

Here are a few facts I’ve learned that help me understand the importance of this holiday.

During Tết, families return to their hometown.  Your hometown is where your father or grandfather is from, even if you weren’t born there.  Large cities like Hanoi become ghost towns during Tết.  

Buses, trains and planes are booked months in advance.  It is not the easiest time to travel.  Transportation and hotels are more expensive during this time.  

Families traveling for Tết

In the past, most people only ate meat once a year, during Tết.  

The holiday lasts from 1-2 weeks.  Schools, businesses, universities and government offices are closed during this time.

Several other countries celebrate the Lunar New Year, including China, Korea and Japan.

Every mall, department store, and place of business has some type of Tết display.  It is popular for families to take photos in front of the most elaborate ones, wearing traditional clothing.

This year is the year of the Rooster.

Making offerings of food to ancestors is popular in Vietnam, especially during Tết.  A boiled chicken is a traditional offering.

There are many traditional flowers and fruits given as gifts during Tết.  One of these is the kumquat, a symbol of prosperity.  It is not uncommon to see motorbikes carrying a kumquat tree on the back during this time of year.  Sidewalks are filled with special Tết gifts for sale.

Even in Cambodia, some people are celebrating Tet.

 We returned to our hotel in Phnom Penh today to see this group performing a Tết dance next door.

 Chúc mừng năm mới to all my friends in Vietnam!

Comments (9):

  1. anne

    January 28, 2017 at 08:57

    You and Vicki ann are doing a great job letting us all go on this ride with you two thru all the pictures and the blog can’t express enough how much I am enjoying it!! Tim I don’t know if your friends with Ed Jolly on Facebook but he is in the Philippines apparently visiting his girlfriend and he’s been sending pictures from the Mall of Asia with some of the celebration. Happy New Year to you and Vicki ann! !

    • Tim Flanagan

      January 30, 2017 at 10:54

      Thanks for the info, Anne.

  2. ellen (kathy's neighbor!)

    January 28, 2017 at 11:14

    Another great post/story, Tim! It reminds me of Chuseok in Korea, their Thanksgiving holiday…the roads are clogged with travelers and all transport is booked up because everyone goes to visit their hometown to pay homage to their ancestors.

    • Tim Flanagan

      January 30, 2017 at 10:55

      Sounds very similar. Nothing like it in the US.

  3. Lori Liguori

    January 28, 2017 at 16:09

    Happy New Year, Tim and Vicky Ann!!!!!! Looks like a fabulous celebration!!! Enjoy!

    • Tim Flanagan

      January 30, 2017 at 10:55

      Thanks, Lori!

  4. Cindy J Cassidy

    January 30, 2017 at 17:54

    Happy New Year worldly travelers. May the year of the rooster find you happiness, health, and prosperity!!

    • Tim Flanagan

      February 2, 2017 at 05:44

      Happy Year of the Rooster to you and your family!


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