Are you wondering about what to do if travel Vietnam in Tet Holiday (Lunar New Year)? All though Tet is the biggest Vietnamese national holiday when locals stop their business and take one week off for family and friends, there are still so much fun waiting for you when come to Vietnam in Tet Holiday. Below are the top 5 things to do in Vietnam Tet holiday that you can consider.
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Vietnam streets, especially in the big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city, are more crowded in about 1 month before the Tet Holiday (Lunar New Year). People start to decorate and sell New Year stuffs in this time, therefore, on many streets, especially in the city center, you can see buildings and stores decorated colorfully in New Year theme
Besides, as in Asian belief, red and gold are the good colors which bring luck and wealthy, therefore on some streets where people sell decorations, you will see how garish they are with many color and shape of decorations showing throughout the street with red and gold as the main colors.
Vietnam streets in Tet Holiday
There are many decorations only sold in Lunar New Year's time, so if you are a traveler who hunting for lovely special souvenirs from Vietnam, you should buy some for decorating your house or give them to your family and friends.
Flower markets are the must-visit places of Vietnamese before Tet Holiday. Local people call these markets “the Tet flower market”; however, it doesn’t mean that they only exist at the time of Lunar New Year, it just because in Tet Holiday, the flower markets become extremely crowded, the size of those markets suddenly become much bigger than in normal days. Some most popular markets become the huge flower trading center where gathering the biggest sellers and attracting all the buyers throughout the city.
Right before Tet Holiday is the most beautiful time of flower markets in Vietnam. As to adapt the demand of buying flower to dedicate and decorate of Vietnamese, so many kinds of flower are sold from the basic simple one like daisy and rose to the rare expensive one like orchid, peony, etc.; of course, some symbol plans for Vietnam Tet holiday such as cherry blossom, apricot blossom and kumquat tree which represent for a wealthy and lucky new year.
A corner of the flower market in Tet holiday
Normally, flower markets are not included in any tour itinerary; therefore, if you want to visit one of them, just talk to your tour provider before the trip, see if they can help you to arrange that, or else, you can go by yourself in a free day (or night) by taxis or local public transportation.
In Vietnamese belief, at the beginning of the year, if you come to temples and pagodas, dedicate and wish to Buddha and gods, you may have an auspicious new year. Many people come to temples and pagodas to wish for a healthy year for their family, while youngsters wish for love, students may want a good study year (like pass all the courses), businessmen hope for favorable business, etc. Different people come there with different wishes, of course not many of them can come true but they play a role as a spirit or mental energy which motivates people in the new year. Also, with local people, come to temples and pagodas is considered as a way to teach their children – the next Vietnam generation about the Vietnamese cultural value and to keep the national tradition.
If you want to visit local temples or pagodas to wish for a good new year and experience the local religious life, just simply book a city tour in Hanoi as most of the itineraries include a visit to famous temples and pagodas here such as Tran Quoc Pagoda, One-pillar Pagoda, Temple of Literature, etc.
People come to the Temple of Literature to get "Words" from teachers as a wish for a good study year for themselves or their kids
Like many other countries, Vietnam has its own menu for New Year's time. As the country is separated into three areas: the North, the South, and the Central, the new year recipes in each area are different and they present the typical cuisine culture in these places. In the North where the most long-lived ancient capital – Thang Long was located (which is also the present Vietnam Capital – Hanoi), the traditional Tet menu is also the most complicated. Normally, people here (especially in Northern Delta) eat the same dishes in 3 first day of the Lunar New Year and all the dishes are the traditional ones such as Banh Chung (Square Cake), Gio lua, Nem (Spring Roll), Ga Luoc (Boiled Chicken), Dua Hanh (Pickled Onion) and Canh mang (Dried Bamboo Shoot Soup with Chicken or Pork Ribs). All of these dishes are quite difficult and complicated to cook which are like a measurement of Northern women’s cooking ability when they get married (in old belief).
A typical new year meal in Northern Vietnam
On the other hand, in the South and Central, the menu for Tet Holiday is more simple with Banh Tet (same type of traditional cake with Banh Chung – Square cake but in cylinder shape), Gio Bo (Vietnamese Beef Sausage with Black Pepper), Thit Kho Hot Vit (Chinese Braised Pork with Duck Eggs) and Canh Kho Qua (Pork Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup); these dishes are easy and don’t cost too much time to cook, some of them can be bought in markets and supermarkets be before Tet Holiday.
If you want to taste the traditional Tet Holiday cuisine while traveling Vietnam in Lunar New Year's time, you can book a tour with a travel agent and order to have a local Tet Holiday meal so they can help you to arrange the meal in a local style restaurant or a homestay.
As affected by Chinese culture, Vietnamese also consider lucky money as an ancient tradition. In the old-time, lucky money was only for children as people believed it brings luck and prevents the evils from the kids. However, nowadays, people give lucky money not only to children but also to elders, relatives, friends, colleagues, etc. anyone they love as a wish of luck for a whole new year. Therefore, if you come to Vietnam in Tet Holiday, you can try to give lucky money to anyone you like such as a local people who help you, a tour guide to who work hard during your trip, an enthusiastic Vietnamese friend, etc. and you may take back a small red envelop with lucky money inside from the locals as a wish of luck to you and a thank from them.
Sharing lucky money as a wish of a lucky new year to others
Above are just a few typical things to do in Vietnam Tet Holiday, there are more interesting activities at this time waiting for you to experience so don't hesitate, take your luggage and enjoy Lunar New Year in Vietnam now!
(Image source: Internet)