Tet holiday or Vietnamese New Year, is the most important celebration of Vietnamese culture. The word is a shortened form of Tet Nguyen Dan, which is Sino-Vietnamese for “Feast of the First Morning of the First Day”. Tet celebrates the arrival of spring based on the Vietnamese variation of the Chinese lunisolar calendar, which usually has the date falling between the months of January or February.
Tet is celebrated on the same day as Chinese New Year, though exceptions arise due to the one-hour time difference between Hanoi and Beijing resulting in the alternate calculation of the new moon. It takes place from the first day of the first month of the Vietnamese calendar (around late January or early February) until at least the third day.
Many Vietnamese prepare for Tet by cooking special holiday foods and cleaning the house. These food includes “banh chung, banh day”, dried young bamboo soup(canh mang), gio and sticky rice. There are a lot of customs practiced during Tet, such as visiting a person’s house on the first day of the new year (xong nha), ancestral worshipping, wishing New Year’s greetings, giving lucky money to children and elderly people, and opening a shop.
During Tet, Vietnamese visit their relatives and temples, forgetting about the troubles of the past year and hoping for a better upcoming year. They consider Tet to be the first day of spring and the festival is often called Hoi xuan (spring festival).