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Lunar New Year in Vietnam

Lunar New Year is the biggest, oldest traditional festival with the widest range of popular, from North to South. This is the most exciting and bustling festival of the nation. Dating back from a long time ago under the Ly, Tran, Le dynasties, and ancient people celebrated annual Tet solemnly. Lunar New Year is the biggest, oldest traditional festival with the widest range of popular, from North to South. This is the most exciting and bustling festival of the nation. Dating back from a long time ago under the Ly, Tran, Le dynasties, and ancient people celebrated annual Tet solemnly.
Lunar New Year is the first step and the most important in Vietnamese festival system, in which “festival” as well as “holiday” are very rich in both content and form, carrying a profound and deep human value.
 
The fact that our ancestors determined Lunar New Year just in time ending an old year, starting a new year according to lunar calendar, is a cosmic operation cycle, reflecting the spirit of harmony between human and nature (Land – God – Creature). At the same time, Lunar New Year is also the time for family, relatives, and neighbors etc. to visit and send best wishes to each other and remember grandparents, ancestors.
In terms of relationship between human and nature, Tet – thanks to weather favorable to the operation of the universe, manifested in the flow in turn among seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter – has a special meaning for a society in which the economy still relies heavily on agriculture. According to folk beliefs, farmers believe that this is an occasion to honor the Gods relating to gain and loss of crops such as: Land God, Rain God, the God of Thunder, Water God, Sun God etc. they also do not forget to thank animals, trees that have helped, fed them, from grain to cattle, poultry these days.
 
About human life meaning of Lunar New Year, many researchers believe that firstly, it is family’s festival, of every home. For Vietnamese people, whenever Tet comes, though do any job, live anywhere, including those living thousands of kilometers away, they still hope to be united with their family during the 3 Tet days, pray before the altar of ancestors, visit churches, graves, wells, house yard, where they used to spend their childhood filled with love.  “Back home for Tet” is not a common concept of leave or arrive, but it is to go on a pilgrimage back to the roots, to native land.
According to the opinion of Vietnamese people, New Year’s Day is the day for reunion, kinship relations are extended to villages, bound together into common morality for society: family hood, teacher hood, patients and doctors, matchmakers, longtime friends, debtors and creditors etc. 
Tet is also an opportunity “reckoning” all activities of the past year, welcoming one year with good hope for individual and for the community. But the most notable is the preparation atmosphere of each family. Stepping into any house at this moment, we can easily see the exciting and bustling preparation, from shopping to decorating homes, preparing fruits, cakes, food for reception of distant relatives… For large families with wide relations, many descendants, bridges and grooms, the preparatory work is even more complicated. 
 
According to tradition, 23 December is the day to say farewell to Kitchen God on his trip to Heaven to present human actives, the Tet atmosphere begins to clear. Under the feudal days, from the court to provincial and district mandarins have days off after the seal washing ceremony. At the court, in this ceremony in the presence of the king, mandarins put on majestic Mandarin’s grade attire. That’s enough to know how important New Year’s Day is considered.
Small mistakes are not punished; serious crimes are detained pending until the 7th day of January for settlement. Thus, the whole festival lasts from 23 December (a week before midnight) to 7 January (a week after New Year’s Eve).
There’s no clear evidence for when traditional Tet holiday started, but it has become sacred, sticking in the soul, feelings of every Vietnamese citizen. The fun traditions during Tet, the green rice cakes, trays of five fruits on the altar, peach branch, pot of blueberries blooming in each family has become a part of the hometown images to each Vietnamese, wherever they live. How can we forget our childhood with kids sitting around the pot boiling rice cakes, waiting to pick out the cakes! How can we forget Tet markets crowded with people and flowers!
 
Lunar New Year officially begins from the watch-night time. This is the holiest time of the year, time of communication between the old year and new year, time to reconcile man with nature; ancestors come back to reunion with their family. When Eve worship is finished, the whole family gather around the prepared tray feast, drink the first cup of wine of the new year, children wish parents and grandparents longevity, and adults give children gifts of money put in red paper bags. 
After the New Year’s Eve ceremony, people then go to church and pick a branch of greenery which is considered as a branch of luck, or burn a stick of incense and bring home to plug on the altar. After New Year’s Eve, the person who steps into the house first will be regarded as bringing good or bad luck to the family all year around. This person is usually selected among close friends.
Tet is an occasion for people to return to their roots. Those who live away from home also try to come back hometown to reunion with family, visiting ancestral graves, seeing relatives, villages. Tet also makes people become happier, more generous. This may be the human meaning of Vietnamese Tet.