While many special events, including fireworks have been cancelled the “meaning of TET” in the hearts of Vietnamese is undeniable.
Vietnam will celebrate the New Year of the Tiger over a nine-day period (January 29-February 6). NYE being 31st January and New Year’s day being 1st February.
Flowers, small envelopes of money and personal gift giving have been an integral part of this celebration. However, as 2021 was not a good year for many people due to Covid and the typhoons that ravaged the coastline, it will be the occasion of being together as a family that will be celebrated the most.
HCMC has cancelled firework displays for the Gregorian New Year’s Eve this year because of the pandemic situation.
Hanoi has designated one single location, Thong Nhat Park, to view fireworks on the first 15 minutes of the Lunar New Year on Feb 1.
The capital has decided against the New Year countdown as the government fears a re-emergence of a Covid -19 and the Omicron variant.
Family and friends are everything. Even businesses who have suffered a lot in the past years will do their best to pay tribute to their staff in whatever way possible.
Time also becomes part of the “giving”. During the TET period; people make the time to visit their friends and family and offer gifts. Even people who they don’t normally see very often.
While Covid-19 may make this more challenging, and is being discouraged, people will travel all over, to have time with friends and family with no expectation of receiving anything in return.
In saying this, not everyone celebrates the same way. The less traditional still use the time to celebrate with family and friends but they do not conform strictly to the traditions of their ancestors.
What are people hoping for this TET?
TET is not just a day. It’s official New Year’s day is on 1st of February, 2022 this year, but the season of TET can last up to 10 days.
Everything either happens before TET or after, but not much during. By that, it’s meant to be a time of relaxation, eating and drinking foods prepared by family members. The cooking preparation starts well before the beginning of TET and everyone including the youngest in the family get involved.
You can expect to see a lot of cleaning, refurbishing and redecorating. This tends to start prior to TET as people believe the way they finish the previous year will influence the way the next year will run for them.
As you walk around town you can see shops, homes and streets being cleared away of junk and spaces cleared to make room for flowers and altars. It’s an extremely colourful time of the year as the streets become filled with flowers, colourful fish tanks, and money trees.
There is talk that this TET will hopefully mark an end of, or be the turning point in the scourge of the COVID-19 virus. The country now is mostly double and triple vaccinated, so many are hoping to welcome in a new year of prosperity, health and wellbeing. Included in that is tourism, which will lift the spirit of many businesses that have depended on tourism in previous years.
The year of the “Tiger” meaning
“Tigers are extremely competitive people, known for their courage and ambition. Tigers are ambitious, but they’re also extremely generous with a drive to help others. Tigers want to win but they’re also always seeking justice.
If you believe on “fortune teller” they say that in the year of the Tiger we can making big changes. This will be a year of risk-taking and adventure. We’re finding enthusiasm again, both for ourselves and for others. Everyone is fired up, generosity is at an all-time high and social progress feels possible again.”
5 tips for Travellers in Vietnam during TET
- Buy your travel tickets for travel during the TET season well in advance ( 3 days before New Year and 3 days after). For 2022 this would be for the period 29 January – 6thFebruary, roughly.
- Be early at the airport, bus station or train as this is the busiest travel period for Vietnamese who travel long distances to visit family and friends and carry lots of luggage.
- Make sure you bring all your travel documents confirming all your travel arrangements, tickets, and emergency contact details. Check the latest Covid tests required to be completed before flying.
- Don’t expect to do too much activity wise on the actual National Holidays as many tourist attractions will be closed or at a minimum their hours will be reduced, and they may even charge an extra TAX. Be prepared to just chill out!
- Check with your hotel or Homestay about what services will be operating for meals and what are the closest alternative eateries open.
Is there anything special you should buy as a gift for someone?
Gifts are not expected. However, if you do wish to give someone a gift, you can purchase small envelopes and place money inside. You can also buy some candy from the markets or give flowers. It is not expected for anyone to give anything, only if they wish to.
Will there tourist attractions and restaurants be open?
It is best to check with each venue, as many close or only operate with minimal staff.
Facebook is strong in Vietnam so if you wish to check on a restaurant, or venue, hotel etc, then check on their Facebook page as it will most likely have the most recent update.
Are there any do’s and don’t during TET?
No not really. If you Google you can read about lots of old traditions, so it will depend on the family you wish to visit. It is normal however to only have close family together on the first day, NYD. If you are invited to a family’s home on this day, it says a lot about how they feel about you.