Tết Holiday // An Introduction to Vietnamese New Year

Discover Vietnamese New Year // Things To Do & Things To Avoid

Vietnamese Tet Holiday or “Tết Nguyên Đán” is the most important celebration in Vietnamese culture.

Tết Nguyên Đán is essentially the Vietnamese New Year celebration.

It carries love and hope, signifies family and friendship, and promises a better year ahead.

If you want to get to know Vietnamese culture, discovering the Tet Holiday is a great way to do so!

In this article, we will walk you through the top “Tetiquettes” to follow. The do’s and don’ts during the big holiday in Vietnam – Vietnamese New Year!


Tet Holiday – Buy Food Ahead of Time

Tet Holiday – Refresh Your House

Tet Holiday – Give Yourself a Makeover


Tet Holiday – Never Enter a House Without Permission

Tet Holiday – Never Create An Argument

Tet Holiday – Never Wear Dark/Black Clothes

Tet Holiday – When Is It?

Tet Holiday – FAQ’s

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Tet Holiday – Do’s

Buy Food Ahead of Time

If you are living or going to live in Hanoi during the Tet Holiday, you had better buy lots of food ahead of time because 99% of shops are closed during the typical 7-day Tet Holiday.

Only a few other restaurants whose owners or employees are Hanoi natives are open to serve the people who stay in the city. 

TOP TIP – Vietnamese New Year would be the best time for you to travel around Hanoi without the fear of getting stuck in a traffic jam because the streets are empty and silent. 

Refresh Your House

Think of the Vietnamese New Year as your country’s New Year equivalent.

Before Tet, you can immerse yourself in the rushed atmosphere and excitement of people shopping and redecorating their houses with new stuff.

You can buy flowers such as peach blossoms or kumquat as they symbolize strong vitality, prosperity, and longevity.

Moreover, the pink colour of peach blossoms shows the love and joy spread among people during this unique time of the year. 

Cleaning the house before Tet Holiday is one of the most important traditions in Vietnam.

Cleaning your house before Lunar New Year, helps to tidy up the previous year, removing old things to get rid of bad luck and welcome the New Year’s fortunes.

As the Vietnamese elderly say…

Lucky fortunes will visit the clean, neat, and tidy houses on the first days of the year.

Therefore, the owners must finish cleaning their homes at the end of the year before the 23rd, which is the day known as Ông Táo (The Kitchen God).

Ông Táo goes back to heaven to report the family’s events in the past year, legend has it.

Give Yourself a Makeover

If you haven’t changed your hairstyle for a long time, do it before Tet Holiday!

Cutting your hair is seen as getting rid of all the bad luck and sad memories. Really!

It is also a tradition to buy new clothing for Tet such as the new Vietnamese Traditional Dress – Ao dai.

Moreover, you can make a New Year’s Resolution list and start by learning a new skill – such as making Chung Cake with your friends, or maybe even taking Vietnamese classes!

On the 28th or 29th of the Tet Holiday, Vietnamese families often gather and make Banh Chung (square glutinous rice cake).

It is quite challenging to make these traditional cakes so the creators must be very skilled to be able to wrap these cakes beautifully and tightly.

Otherwise, the cakes will crack and absorb water.

Will you accept the challenge?!

Vietnamese Public Holidays // A Complete Guide Thumbnail

Vietnamese Public Holidays // A Complete Guide

Besides the Vietnamese Lunar New Year (or Tet Holiday), there are several Vietnamese Public Holidays to celebrate and enjoy throughout the year.

Tet Holiday – Don’ts

Never Enter a House Without Permission

Among the many taboos and rituals connected with the Vietnamese New Year is “Xông Đất”, or “first-footing” as the Scots call it.

It is a deep-rooted belief that the first person to enter a house at the beginning of a lunar year will have a bearing on the family’s fortune throughout that year.

Thus, Vietnamese families are super careful when it comes to the man (usually male guests are preferred) who sets the first step into their house in the new year.

So, if not invited by the host, you must not enter the house.

Never Create An Argument

Understandably, people avoid talking about sad or bad things in the first couple of days of the Vietnamese New Year.

Moreover, Tet Holiday is for family and friends to reunite, so even if you drink, try not to lose yourself and argue with anyone.

Any violations are believed to be the signs of an inharmonic year.

When having any conflict, try to calm down and keep it as peaceful as possible.

Never Wear Dark/Black Clothes

Black is the symbol of sadness during Tet and is usually worn at funerals only.

Therefore, you should not wear black clothes during the Tet Holiday, especially when you visit Vietnamese families as it may attract bad luck and evil spirits.

Instead, you may choose to wear red – the symbol of luck and prosperity, yellow – the happy and dynamic colour. Any colourful or flowery outfits are recommended. 

Learn Vietnamese on TV // Watch Nhập Gia Tùy Tục Thumbnail

Learn Vietnamese on TV // Watch Nhập Gia Tùy Tục

Nhập gia tùy tục (or When in Rome, do as the Romans do) is a new TV show brought to you by Vietnam television, broadcasted every Friday at 8.30 pm on VTV3.

Tet Holiday – When Is It?

Vietnamese New Year, or Tết Nguyên Đán takes place in January or February each year and does not follow the same date.

This is because the Tet follows the Lunar Calendar rather than the Gregorian alternative.

The date of the Tet Holiday falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice on December 21st.

  • 2021 Tet | February 10th – 16th
  • 2022 Tet | January 31st – February 6th

The holiday is the longest and most important in the whole Vietnamese calendar.

If you want to discover more about the holidays in Vietnam, check out our guide to the most important public holidays in Vietnam here.

What about Chinese New Year? There are some similarities between China and Vietnam when it comes to the big New Year celebration. Find out what with our complete guide to Chinese New Year here.

Have you ever experienced a holiday in Vietnam? Why not tell us in the comments below.

Tết Nguyên Đán – FAQ’s

What is the full Vietnamese name of the Tet Holiday?

Vietnamese New Year is Tết Nguyên Đán in Vietnamese.

What are good colours to wear during Vietnamese New Year?

You may choose to wear red – the symbol of luck and prosperity, yellow – the happy and dynamic colour.

Any colourful or flowery outfits are recommended. 

When was the Tet Holiday in 2021?

The 2021 Vietnamese New Year was February 10th – 16th.

When is the Tet Holiday in 2022?

The 2022 Vietnamese New Year is January 31st – February 6th.

Is it a good idea to travel in Vietnam during the New Year?

Vietnamese New Year would be the best time for you to travel around Hanoi without the fear of getting stuck in a traffic jam because the streets are empty and silent. 

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