Tet Festival 2023 – Year Of Cat

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Tet Festival – Tet Nguyen Dan, known by the shortened name Tet by Vietnamese people. It is Vietnam’s most significant and widespread celebration. Across Vietnam, families reunite, pay respect to their ancestors, and pray for good fortune, wealth, and health in the upcoming year. If you plan to visit Vietnam at this time, how do you celebrate Tet Festival in Vietnam? In this blog, Vietgotravel will look at something you can expect.

Tet Holiday 2023

The dates of the Tet Festival differ each year but it usually falls around late January or early/mid-February. According to the government’s schedule, this year’s Tet holiday will begin on January 20 (the 29th day of the 12th lunar month) and will go on until January 26. (the fifth day of the first lunar month). 

tet festival
Cre: Vnexpress

Because of the importance of the Tet holiday for Vietnamese, preparations before the celebration is necessary. Vietnamese citizens tend to offer and pray at the pagoda about 2 weeks before and in Tet, because they believe that visiting temples is fortunate.

In addition, they spend most of their time shopping for the Lunar New Year, decorating, and cleaning their house. Food, clothing, and home décor are all on the list that has to be purchased. 

In the week before Tet, plenty of families pay their relatives’ graves a visit. Hoa Mai (yellow apricot bloom), Hoa Dao (peach blossom), Kumquat tree, and other vibrant flowers are used to clean and adorn homes. They prepare an excess of food on the eve of Tet. Everyone, especially children, dons new clothing and footwear on the first day of the new year to visit relatives and friends and eat traditional Tet fare like Banh Chung (a sticky rice cake). A lot of kids get “lucky money” in red.

Traditional Customs in Tet Festival

Giving Li xi (lucky money)

On the first day of the Tet festival, nearly all people spend time with the nuclear family. Children wear their new clothes and wish their elders New Year. After that, the elders give the children a red envelope. In the north, this custom is known as “Mung Tuoi” (happy new age), whereas in the south, it is known as “Li Xi.”

Xong Nha

Vietnamese people never enter a house on the first day without being invited because they think that the first visitor a family gets in the year defines their fortune for the entire year. It is one of the most significant ceremonies of Tet known as “xong dat, xong nha, or dap dat.”

Vietnamese custom that if a family has good fortune on the first day of the lunar New Year, the coming year will likewise be blessed. A visitor with good morals, success, and temper is typically a favorable omen for the host family. The next days are spent with family and friends. 


Each Vietnamese household traditionally displays a “Cay neu,” a fake New Year tree made on a 5- to a 6-meter-long bamboo pole. Depending on the region, the top end is frequently embellished with a variety of items, such as lucky charms,…

In the center and southern regions of Vietnam, “Hoa Mai” and in the northern part of Vietnam “Hoa Dao,” or cherry blossoms, are used to adorn homes for Tet. Besides, the kumquat tree is also a common Tet decoration for living rooms in the north or center. The family wishes for fertility and fruitfulness in the upcoming year, which is symbolized by the tree’s beautiful orange fruits.

Traditional Food in Tet Festival

Sticky square cake (Banh Chung)

Chung cake is one of the indispensable traditional dishes in families during the Tet festival. It makes from glutinous rice, mung beans, pork, and other ingredients. Banh Chung was created by prince Lang Lieu of the Hung King dynasty and was clothed in green foliage. Since Banh Chung can withstand the long days of Vietnamese weather, it is the primary dish for the Tet celebration. Additionally, Banh Chung is typically kept by families for close to a month at room temperature.

Vietnamese sausage (Gio, cha)

Vietnamese ham/sausage known as Gio/Cha is another traditional food on Tet holiday. People usually serve it with Sticky rice (Xoi) and Banh Chung. Gio and Cha are distinct because Gio is boiled while Cha is deep fried. Ingredients and lean pork are also used to make cha. Cha is not, however, wrapped in leaves and boiled; rather, it is deep-fried in oil.


Braised Pork Belly with Duck Egg (Thit kho hot vit)

In the South compared to the North, braised pork belly with duck egg is more well-liked. Nobody can dispute, however, how delicious, tempting, and well-balanced this dish is. Coconut juice and fish sauce are used to boil pork belly and eggs until they are soft and have absorbed all of the distinctive tastes. The meal has become one of the most well-liked foods offered during the Tet Holiday since it is so adaptable and simple to prepare.

Sticky rice (Xoi)

Along with Banh Chung, Xoi is one of the primary staple foods during the Tet holiday in Vietnam and plays a significant role in the celebration. It comes in a variety of flavors, including Xoi Lac (sticky rice with peanuts), Xoi o Xanh (sticky rice with mung beans), and Xoi Gac (sticky rice with a unique fruit called “gac”). Because of its distinctive red hue, which denotes luck and new accomplishments for the New Year, Xoi Gac is the most popular of these varieties.

Sugar-coated fruit (Mut)

Besides the main dishes during the Tet celebration, Mut Tet (Tet Sugar-coated Fruit) is more like a snack to welcome visitors during this unique time. This yearly assortment of snacks is quite diverse and has a wide range of flavors, including ginger, carrot, coconut, pineapple, pumpkin, lotus seed, star fruit, and others.

Traveling in Vietnam during Tet

What to expect

Tet is a highly joyous time of year in Vietnam, and gorgeous decorations and flowers can be found everywhere. Cities around the nation really go all out with their flower displays, adding to the wonderful ambiance already there.

It is not essential to change your plans to travel to Vietnam for Tet, especially because the greatest weather in Vietnam occurs around the Tet Festival (February is often the best month to visit the entire country).

Since Tet is one of the rare vacations that many Vietnamese workers receive, many companies may lock their doors the day before Tet and may remain closed for a few days. This contains the majority of museums, tourist attractions, and stores. It is a good idea to check operating hours if you are traveling during this time before going anywhere in particular.

Tips for Visiting Vietnam during the Tet Festival

As there will be a lot of people traveling to see relatives during the Tet Festival, we advise reserving accommodations and transportation in advance if you want to visit Vietnam during that time. Due to increased demand, you might need to plan for higher charges, especially if you’re not making reservations in advance.

We advise visiting the public parks and lakes, which are always open, instead of some of the museums and art galleries, which will be closed. For instance, in Hanoi, it’s a terrific idea to stroll about and take in the Old Quarter’s festive ambiance.

The first few days of Tet offer a unique opportunity to observe Vietnam’s major cities devoid of traffic and pollution. Utilize the peace and quiet to explore on foot, on a bicycle, or on a scooter.

It would be a great honor to be invited into a family’s house for Tet. It’s necessary to get permission before visiting any Vietnamese home during Tet because the first visitors of the year are chosen specifically to bring luck to each home. Warm wishes are much welcomed before, during, and after Tet. On the first days of the new year, be cheerful and wish everyone “Chuc Mung Nam Moi” (Happy New Year)

Finally, avoid negotiating during this unique time because it is believed that doing so will bring bad luck for the entire year. Try to be extra courteous if you really must. Save your purchase until immediately before or shortly after Tet, if possible!

Where to Celebrate Tet in Vietnam for Travelers?

Hanoi – the capital’s celebrations

Hanoi offers additional options for travelers over the Tet holiday. Even though places of interest including museums, monuments, and public service facilities will be closed for the full week beginning on Tet, visitors may still take part in the New Year’s festivities by strolling along the Hoan Kiem Lake neighborhood.

There won’t be a complete closure of all enterprises. The majority of rated hotels are open, and tourist-focused activities attract attendees. Finding some eateries to eat at is simple. Large retail centers will open during the day even if the majority of food stores will be closed.

We advise arriving in Hanoi a few days before Tet so you may check out the sights and marketplaces before staying to celebrate the New Year. The interaction with locals will make it much more enjoyable if you are welcomed to a Vietnamese home.

Hoian – traditional activities

Hoi An is the best location to visit during Tet. Shops and restaurants remain open, and many visitors come to Hoi An to take part in the festivities. The majority of the celebrations take place in Hoi An’s Old Town, an ancient port city and UNESCO World Heritage site.

During Tet, street food sellers line the historic walkways, which are illuminated by traditional Vietnamese lanterns. The Ancient Town is bustling and beautiful. Hoi An also has frequent cultural and artistic acts throughout the whole week.

Ho Chi Minh City – fireworks and flower festivals

Ho Chi Minh City, renowned as the “city that never sleeps” in Vietnam, is a popular destination for nightlife. Parties, sumptuous dinners, inventive and entertaining drinks, and a large number of people staying up late are all commonplace here.

The Nguyen Hue Flower Festival and the Tao Ban Flower Festival are two events taking place in HCMC at this time for individuals who desire to observe the holiday in the same manner as the Vietnamese.

There will be beautiful yellow and orange flower decorations covering everything at these festive gatherings, along with folk music, activities, and delectable cuisine to sample.

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