For Vietnamese people, spring is the season of festivals. The festive atmosphere could last even further upon Lunar New Year period. It is when Vietnamese people celebrate Tet Nguyen Tieu, or the first full moon of the very first lunar month, which is on 15th. It traditionally marks the end of the Lunar New Year period and is celebrated throughout Asian countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and China.
What is Tet Nguyen Tieu?
Tet Nguyen Tieu is the last day of the Lunar New Year period. After that, all the new year taboos are no longer in effect. If you walk along streets in Vietnam, you may see people taking down their New Year decorations. Despite having its origin in China, Tet Nguyen Tieu in Vietnam brings its own distinctive culture.
In Vietnam, Tet Nguyen Tieu closely sticks to the agricultural practices of Vietnamese farmers for thousands of years. It is before the Full Moon of the first Lunar month that farmers have to work hard to prepare for farming activities of the whole year. On the night of the first full moon, the farmers will burn dried leaf to get rid of harmful pests. After such strenuous tasks, the farmers will sit down and enjoy the beauty of the full moon.
Vietnamese people believe that the first full moon night in the Lunar New Year is the most important full moon of the year. For many people, it marks the return of spring and symbolizes the reunion of family for those who do not manage to celebrate the Lunar New Year Eve with their family.
What Vietnamese people do on the day of the First Full Moon?
During the very first days of Lunar New Year Eve, Caterian - our intern did experience the once-in-a-lifetime atmosphere of celebrating Tet with her local buddy's family.
On January 15th of the Lunar Calendar, families usually visit pagodas and wish for the best things for their family members and friends.
Don’t be surprised if your host family eat vegan on this special day since vegan food helps to bring peace in mind for the coming year. Vietnamese love to practice vegetarianism on this day.
Eating Banh troi nuoc is an important custom in both Vietnam and China. Banh Troi Nuoc can look like ball-shaped dumplings made of glutinous rice flour and stuffed with white or brown sugar, sesame seeds, and bean paste. In Chinese, it is known as yuanxiao or tangyuan, meaning a happy get-together. The round shape of the cake and the bowls symbolize wholeness and reunion.
What is typical about Tet Nguyen Tieu in the North and the South of Vietnam?
In certain areas of Vietnam, you may catch a sight of colorful lanterns. If you live in Ho Chi Minh City, you can sense Vietnamese vibes at the Cultural Center of District 5. City dwellers decorate the streets with colorful gorgeously and hang up in rows, giving the feelings of tranquility and nostalgia.
In the North of Vietnam, Tet Nguyen Tieu can be more about paying remembrance to the ancestors. People will rush back and forth shopping for fruits and paper offerings to place on the family altars.
Being such a significant event in cultural and religious life of Vietnamese people, Tet Nguyen Tieu is a beautiful wrap-up to the Lunar New Year Eve. It's time to finally get over Post-Tet syndrome and get back to work.
If you are in Vietnam this time of the year, don’t miss out the opportunity to have some banh troi nuoc!
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