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How do Vietnamese families prepare for Lunar New Year?

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Lunar New Year, known as "Tết Nguyên Đán" in Vietnamese, is one of the most significant and widely celebrated holidays in Vietnam. It marks the beginning of the lunar calendar year and typically falls between late January and mid-February.

The preparations for Lunar New Year usually start well in advance as families clean their houses, decorate them with traditional ornaments, and buy new clothes to wear for the occasion. There is a sense of renewal and freshness associated with the holiday.
One of the central aspects of Tết in Vietnam is the family reunion. Many people travel long distances to be with their loved ones during this time. Family members gather at the ancestral home, paying respects to ancestors and participating in traditional ceremonies. The atmosphere is joyful and filled with warmth as family members exchange well wishes and lucky money, known as "lì xì," in small red envelopes.
During Tết, traditional foods play a significant role. One of the most iconic dishes is "bánh chưng" or "bánh tét," which are sticky rice cakes wrapped in banana leaves and filled with pork and mung bean. Families often make these cakes together and offer them as offerings to ancestors before enjoying them as a part of a festive meal. Other traditional dishes like "gỏi cuốn" (spring rolls), "xôi gấc" (red sticky rice), and various meat and seafood dishes are also commonly prepared.

Throughout the holiday period, vibrant festivities take place across the country. Streets and houses are adorned with colorful decorations, especially red and gold, symbolizing luck and prosperity. Dragon and lion dances, firecrackers, and cultural performances are organized to bring good fortune and ward off evil spirits.
Visiting temples and pagodas is another important aspect of Tết. Many Vietnamese people take the opportunity to pray for blessings and make offerings to deities during this time.
Tết is a time of reflection, gratitude, and optimism for the year ahead. It is a time when Vietnamese people honor their traditions, strengthen family bonds, and embrace the spirit of hope and new beginnings.

Please note that traditions and customs may vary among different regions and communities within Vietnam, but the essence of family togetherness and celebration remains consistent throughout the country during Lunar New Year.

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