It begins to look a lot like … Tết.
Yes, in exactly one month from now, Vietnamese people around the world will celebrate our lunar new year. We call it TẾT NGUYÊN ĐÁN (or Tết, in short). The coming year is the year of Buffalo.
Frankly, it is a lot like how Westerners celebrate Christmas. Tết is considered the biggest holiday of the year for Vietnamese people, we have 5 paid holiday days. We also often take extra days off making business during the month before and after Tết quite slow.
Big cities like Ho Chi Minh city or Hà Nội will become empty because the majority of the population are from smaller cities and provinces just like how Paris is during Christmas days. Everything will be closed the first 3 days of the lunar new year, including markets and supermarkets. Moms will need to do huge shopping before that, fridges become stuffed with traditional food, which we will talk about in another post and hopefully you will get to try as well.
During the month towards Tết, we deep clean the house and organize year end’s gathering, everything needs to be new, clean and tidy up for this occasion. During these days, if you ask a friend to hang out, you might recieve answers like: “sorry, I have to take my mom to the flower markets” or “sorry, I need to help my dad to clean windows” etc. In fact, you might as well do so.
Just like Christmas time, during Tết, we spend lots of time with our families and eat LOTS OF traditional (really) good food. This is also the biggest time of the year we workship our ancestors. The altars (in each and every house) are always filled with food, flowers and incense. We believe the spirit of our ancestors will come back to say good bye to the old year, to welcome the new year as well as to bring health and prosperity.
There are many customs that we follow before, during and after Tết which are well explained in this blog:
I hope that I am giving you a warm up about what is actually happening in Vietnam now.
See you real soon for some very very authentic tasting.