Tet is the Vietnamese New Year celebration and is considered the first day of spring. “Tết” is actually a shortened form of Tết Nguyên Đán, with Sino-Vietnamese origins meaning “Festival of the First Morning of the First Day.” It is the most important Vietnamese festival of the year. It is generally celebrated the same day as Chinese New Year and is also based on the lunar calendar, and usually is in January or February.
Tet is a very family-centered holiday and people often travel back to their family’s hometown to celebrate. Families will often prepare for Tet by cleaning their homes thoroughly. For many, this symbolizes getting rid of any bad luck and welcoming new good luck. Many families also believe the spirits of deceased ancestors will be visiting, so they prepare by cleaning the home and making everything ready for an ancestral visit. While the day before Tet is usually celebrated with extended family, nuclear families often just spend the day together on the day of Tet itself.
Some ways to celebrate include colorful flowers, dancing, and food. There are usually parades, fireworks, and loud noises. Families also usually feast on traditional foods and children receive special red envelopes with money from older relatives.