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Tết Holiday, How Vietnam Celebrates The Biggest Holiday Of The Year

The Tết holiday, a Vietnamese holiday celebrated through Lunar New Year, erupted in a cultural and economic boost across Vietnam last week.

Tet Holiday

Flowers sold in a Tet market. https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chợ_hoa_tết.jpg

The annual Tết Holiday celebration began on February 15, when traditionally, families return to their home village to spend time with older relatives and celebrate the coming spring harvest. Gifts and traditional meals are prepared, although many families have departed from the process of cooking more time-consuming treats, opting to buy them pre-made instead.

Banh chung, traditional cuisine during Tết Holiday.

One such culinary specialty made across Vietnam is the banh chung, which is a combination of glutinous rice, pork and mung beans, wrapped squarely in la dong leaf and boiled for about 12 hours. This nutritional sticky rice cake can be preserved for long periods, but requires the hands of several people to wrap correctly.

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Banh Chung preparation.

According to legend, the square shape of the cake represents the ancient concept of the Earth at the time of this tradition’s creation, over 3,000 years ago.

In addition to banh chung, markets spilled with tangerines, and peach blossom trees lined the streets in cities and towns across the nation in early February. Popular gifts between family members include new clothing, flowers, and a specially designed currency called “lucky money”, frequently given to children.

Homeward bound for the holiday.

In preparation for this celebration, many Vietnamese expats living abroad returned to their home country, resulting in airport delays and congestion along heavily trafficked roads outside of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Tết Holiday


Bus tickets are sold at a price increase of 20 to 60 percent during the holiday season, but many organizations and labor unions have stepped in to provide transportation to low-income laborers and students.

The labor union in Ho Chi Minh City delivered 2,490 bus tickets and gifts to workers in industrial zones surrounding the city, according to Vietnam Breaking News. In preparation for the traditionally expensive holiday, many companies also allot bonuses to their laborers so that more families can afford to participate in the festivities.

Cultural transitions and worries over the future of the holiday.

While the Vietnam government continues to pump money into the municipal costs of the holiday, which include banners and street decorations throughout the downtown areas of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, concerns have increased regarding the costly demands of the holiday as well as concerns that the original intentions of the Tết holiday fade more each year, parallel to conversations about the increasingly costly Christmas season in most western nations.



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