Tet festival-Vietnamese new year-What you should know

Tet festival, or Vietnamese New Year, is the most important holiday celebrated in Vietnam. It takes place at the beginning of the lunar year and marks a time for families to gather together, honor their ancestors with offerings, and enjoy traditional foods and activities. If you travel Vietnam during Tet holiday, let's save tips for travelling Vietnam during Tet. While Tet festival varies from region to region in Vietnam, its essence remains unchanged: it’s a time for families to come together, celebrate the past year’s accomplishments, and look forward to a prosperous future.

How is Tet celebrated?

Before Tet: Cleaning and Shopping

During Tet, many Vietnamese people clean their homes, wear new clothes and exchange gifts as symbols of luck and prosperity. Traditional foods such as Banh Chung (sticky rice cakes wrapped in banana leaves) are prepared during Tet and eaten as part of the celebration. Tet is also a time for people to reconnect with friends and family, pay respects to their ancestors, and wish each other good luck in the coming year. With its vibrant colors, traditional cuisine, and festive atmosphere, Tet holiday is an important event celebrated throughout Vietnam that’s sure to bring joy and happiness to all.

The Lunar New Year's Day - Tet

On the Lunar New Year’s Day, many Vietnamese people get up early to prepare offerings for their ancestors and make traditional foods. Children might receive lucky money from adults as a symbol of good fortune. Red is seen everywhere during Tet holiday, as it's believed to bring luck and happiness. Many people visit temples and pagodas to pay their respects and pray for a successful year. At night, families gather together to enjoy traditional dishes while watching fireworks or taking part in a lion dance.

During Tet holiday, many Vietnamese people go on long trips to celebrate the new year with friends and family, or travel to places of historical and cultural importance. For many Vietnamese people, Tet hoiday is a time for renewal and hope for the future.

Read more: Best time to visit Vietnam

Decoration of the house for good luck during Tet in Vietnam

peach flowers for Tet in Vietnam

Decorating the home is an important tradition during Tet holiday. People believe that decorations placed around the house bring luck, prosperity, and good health for the new year. Red banners are hung from windows and doorways to ward off bad spirits and encourage good luck. The Vietnamese also display vibrant paper lanterns throughout their home to bring in more light and positive energy. Other decorations, such as peach blossoms and kumquat trees (which are symbols of good luck), can be found adorning houses during Tet holiday. All these beautiful decorations help to create an inviting atmosphere that welcomes the new year with joy and optimism. The decorations also remind people to reflect on the past year and look forward to the future with hope. Together, these decorations help to set the festive mood of Tet holiday and bring families closer together.

Additionally, many people also hang calligraphy on the walls of their homes during Tet. Writing special wishes for prosperity, good health and fortune are believed to bring good luck in the coming year. With its bright colors and cheery decorations, the home is ready to celebrate Tet holiday in the best way possible. By decorating their homes, Vietnamese people welcome the new year with optimism and hope for a prosperous future. With its vibrant colors and traditional decorations, Tet holiday is sure to bring joy and happiness to all who take part in it.

How to say Happy New Year in Vietnam

Happy New Year in Vietnam is expressed as Chúc mừng năm mới or Chuc Mung Nam Moi. This phrase translates to “wishing you a happy and prosperous new year” and is used widely during the Tet holiday. This greeting is often accompanied with other words of blessing and good luck, such as “Nam moi khoe manh” or "Nam moi an khang, thinh vuong", which translates to “may you have a healthy and happy new year.”
These expressions are used among friends, family members and even strangers during Tet, as a way to show respect and appreciation for one another. Saying “Chuc Mung Nam Moi” is also a way to express hope for a bright and prosperous future. So during Tet holiday, don't forget to wish your loved ones  “Chúc mừng năm mới” as a way of sending good luck and happiness in the coming year.

Read more: Best places to visit in Vietnam with family

The traditional food for Tet festival

Banh Chung

making Banh Chung for Tet in Vietnam

Banh Chung is a traditional dish, prepared and enjoyed during the Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebrations. This steamed glutinous rice cake filled with pork and green beans is a symbolic food, representing the balance between yin and yang energy. It’s an essential dish during Tet and is often served as a treat to guests who arrive during the celebration.

Gio or Cha

Gio or Cha is another traditional dish that is served during Tet. It’s a type of pork sausage made with either ground pork, beef, or both. The mixture is then wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed until cooked through. This dish is traditionally served with pickled vegetables and is a great snack for guests during the celebration.


Xoi is a type of sticky rice dish that is often served during the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. The rice is cooked with different ingredients such as sticky rice, coconut milk, or corn, and is often topped with fried onions for extra flavor. Xoi is a traditional dish that can be served as a breakfast food, snack, or even a side dish for lunch and dinner. It’s a favorite among Vietnamese families during Tet and is considered to be a symbol of wealth and prosperity.  Xoi is one of the most popular dishes served during Tet and is an essential part of the celebration.

Traveling in Vietnam during Tet

What to Expect when travel during Tet in Vietnam

During the Tet holiday, most shops and restaurants close down as people take time to spend with their families. Tourists who are traveling in Vietnam during Tet holiday should expect to find it a bit more difficult to get around, as public transportation may be limited. Additionally, certain attractions such as museums and galleries may be closed for the duration of the holiday.

Despite the lack of transportation and certain places being closed, there are still plenty of activities to do in Vietnam during Tet. Tourists can explore the streets of the town, which are often filled with vibrant decorations and festivities. There are also plenty of traditional food stalls and markets open, where visitors can sample some local dishes and take in the lively atmosphere. Additionally, there are many cultural festivals and performances taking place throughout the country, which are well worth seeing.

Overall, visitors should expect to have an exciting and unique experience while traveling in Vietnam during Tet. From the rich cultural displays to the delicious local food, there are plenty of fun and exciting things to do.

Tips for Visiting Vietnam during Tet

During Tet holiday in Vietnam, especially from the 1st to the 3rd day of the lunar calendar, these initial three days of the year hold immense significance for the Vietnamese people. It's a time when most individuals prioritize spending time with family and self-reflection. We recommend that you take advantage of these days to unwind and relax at hotels, resorts, or on cruises in prominent cities such as Hanoi, Halong Bay, Danang, Hoian, Hue, Nha Trang, Saigon, and more. These accommodations are designed to provide you with all the amenities you need, coupled with excellent dining services.

  • Respect local customs: When traveling around Vietnam during Tet holiday, it’s important to respect local traditions and customs. Many people will be celebrating with their families, so it’s important to show respect for those who are observing the holiday.
  • Bring cash: Many businesses close during the Tet holiday, so it’s important to carry enough cash for your travels. ATMs may be difficult to find, so it’s best to have some cash on hand.
  • Book transportation in advance: Public transportation may be limited during Tet, so it’s important to book your transportation in advance. You can also look into hiring a car or motorbike rental for the duration of your stay.
  • Explore local food stalls: Many local food stalls will be open during Tet, and it’s a great chance to sample some delicious local dishes. Be sure to try some of the traditional Tet dishes, such as Banh Chung and Xoi.
  • Take part in cultural activities: There are many events and festivals taking place throughout the country during Tet holiday, so be sure to take part in some of the cultural activities. From parades to fireworks displays, there are plenty of fun and exciting things to do.

Finally, for an exceptional travel experience to Vietnam, consider the timing of your visit in relation to the Tet holiday. If your trip falls before Tet, embark on your journey from the North to the South. The rationale behind this lies in the work dynamics of Vietnam, where a significant number of labor opportunities are concentrated in the southern regions, offering better career prospects than the northern counterparts. During Tet, a festive period when people flock to their hometowns for family reunions, traveling from the North to the South before the holiday ensures a smoother and more manageable expedition. It allows for easier coordination of transportation and often comes with more economical pricing.

Conversely, if your travel plans extend beyond Tet, opt for a journey from the South to the North. Post-Tet, individuals return to their work routines, causing a surge in travel from the North and Central regions to the South. Choosing to move from the South to the North during this time can result in significantly higher costs and logistical challenges, making transportation arrangements more cumbersome. Consider these nuances in travel dynamics to enhance the overall quality of your exploration in Vietnam.

Where to celebrate Tet in Vietnam for travelers?

Hanoi for the capital's celebrations

Hanoi is an amazing city to experience the Tet Holidays. The capital of Vietnam has a variety of activities and cultural events that will surely make this time of the year a memorable one. During Tet, Hanoi is decorated with colorful lanterns and banners that add to the festive atmosphere. There are also many traditional markets and food stalls where visitors can try some delicious local dishes. Additionally, there are plenty of cultural performances taking place throughout the city, such as lion dances and traditional musical performances.

One of the most popular activities in Hanoi during Tet is to join the city’s procession. On the morning of the first day, thousands of people gather to celebrate with dragon and lion dances, marching bands, and colorful floats. This is a great opportunity to witness the city’s vibrant culture and take part in an age-old tradition.

Hoi An for traditional activities

Tet in Hoian in Vietnam

Hoi An is a great destination for travelers looking to experience traditional Tet activities. The city is renowned for its beautiful architecture, and it’s an excellent place to take part in some of the traditional Tet customs. During this time, locals can be seen making offerings at shrines and temples, as well as participating in traditional dances and rituals.

One of the most popular activities during Tet is the making of colorful lanterns. These lanterns are hung up in houses and public buildings throughout the city, creating an enchanting atmosphere. Additionally, visitors can enjoy traditional performance such as lion dances and the firing of cannons. There are also plenty of markets selling traditional foods, crafts, and decorations throughout the city.

Ho Chi Minh City for fireworks and flower festivals

Tet fireworks in Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City is a great destination for visitors looking to experience the Tet holidays. During this time, the city comes alive with fireworks and flower festivals. On the evening of the first day, fireworks are set off throughout the city, creating a truly magical experience. Additionally, flower festivals are held throughout the city, in which locals gather to offer flowers and pray for a prosperous year ahead.

The streets of Ho Chi Minh City also come alive with colorful decorations and festive activities. There are plenty of markets selling traditional foods, crafts, and decorations throughout the city. Visitors can also enjoy the traditional lion dance and a variety of cultural performances. Additionally, there are plenty of events taking place throughout the city during Tet, from parades to fireworks displays.

All in all, Tet is a great time to experience the culture and traditions of Vietnam. From Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, there are plenty of activities and events to take part in that will make this time of the year a memorable one.

Travel Authentic Asia Company is your best choice for discovering the beauty of Southeast Asia. Our experienced and knowledgeable travel advisors are committed to helping you create a tailor-made tour and extraordinary experiences in this majestic region.

If you're looking for an authentic cultural experience, do not hesitate to contact Travel Authentic Asia to choose a Vietnam tour, Southeast Asia tour package or to customize your own style tour to South East Asia.

Vietnam bestselling tours