Tet Holiday 2024: A Guide To Vietnamese Lunar New Year

Tet Holiday - Culture Pham Travel

About Vietnamese Lunar New Year

If you ask multiple Vietnamese what holiday is most important, Tet is the only answer. Indeed, Tet Holiday has been deeply ingrained in Vietnamese culture for an extended period. It is the foremost New Year celebration in Vietnam, based on the lunisolar calendar.

Tet holiday, featuring a series of activities imbued with distinct national traditions, engages countrywide participation. Its vibrancy and diversity capture the interests of not only the natives but also the foreigners.

Via this travel blog, Culture Pham Travel will give non-native travelers a real insight into this special event.

Vietnamese Lunar New Year - Culture Pham Travel

As a reliable travel agency, we hope to give you a satisfying visit during the Tet holiday with intriguing Vietnam Tours, such as:

When Is Tet In Vietnam?

Tet holidays in Vietnam occur on the first day of the first month in the Vietnamese lunar calendar. In the solar calendar, that will be around late January to early February. To be more exact, Tet’s first day never goes before January 21 or after February 20.

For instance, the upcoming Tet Holiday Vietnam 2024 will be on February 10, 2024.

Normally, the Lunar New Year festival in Asian countries (such as China, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, etc.) happens on the same date. Yet, there may be differences due to time zone offsets. For example, the Chinese Lunar New Year will be 1 hour or 1 day later than the Vietnamese Lunar New Year.

Interestingly, the Vietnamese usually start Tet preparations two weeks or even a month before, creating a buzzing atmosphere at the spring entrance. Decoration stuff, colorful flowers, abundant foods, fresh fruits, pretty garments, and so on are displayed everywhere. Thus, many foreigners love to visit Vietnam in both the pre-Tet and during-Tet periods to relish the vibes.

People shopping for holiday Tet - Culture Pham Travel
People shopping for holiday Tet – Culture Pham Travel

Meaning Of Tet Holiday

What reasons behind this unique occasion make everyone so excited about it?

Vietnamese Lunar New Year’s official name, Tết Nguyên Đán, or Tết for short, means ‘the first day of the year festivals.’ The Vietnamese blow into this occasion their own beliefs, traditions, and customs, turning it into a meaningful part of their culture.

The Vietnamese deem Tet holiday a season for beloveds—their families, ancestors, friends, lovers, and even themselves. Tet gives people a chance to break from work and look back on the ones they love.

Tet Holiday - Culture Pham Travel

Family members gather. Descendants worship their ancestors. Relatives visit one another. Friends have hang-outs. Everyone looks cheerful and happy. Thereby, Tet holiday reflects Vietnamese core values and humane mindsets.

Due to such significance, the Vietnamese celebrate the holiday Tet in the most notable ways. They spend all the goods for it: week-long nationwide day-offs, plentiful foods, new clothes, well-decorated homes, and more.

How To Celebrate Tet In Vietnam?

Earliness and newness are top of mind for many Vietnamese when it comes to the Tet holiday. Therefore, the Tet Vietnam holiday is celebrated in accordance with this idea. People clean their homes, put up festive decorations, and go shopping.

Different regions will have different ways of celebrating, but basically, people will make sure these things are done:

Home Cleanup

Before the New Year comes, a comprehensive cleanup is seen far and near. Family members start tidying up everything, from washing mattresses to even repainting the house. In addition to altars and shrines placed in homes, people clean their ancestors’ graves, usually located in cemeteries away from their residences.

Home cleanup for Tet - Culture Pham Travel
A Vietnamese family busy cleaning up for Tet – Culture Pham Travel

Speaking figuratively, people believe this symbolizes the removal of previous bad luck and a welcome to ongoing good fortune. In that way, cleaning right on New Year’s Day, instead of before the New Year, becomes taboo as it is thought to clear out good luck.

Also, home cleanup gives homeowners a sense of fresh start and confidence in welcoming honored guests and relatives dropping by for Tet wishes.


Tet holiday Vietnam is well-decorated with colorful items. People usually adorn their homes with five-fruit trays, flowers (commonly cherry blossoms, apricot blossoms, marigolds, and chrysanthemums), New Year trees (usually cây nêu or kumquat trees), folk pictures, spring couplets, etc.

Tet decorations are more and more diverse, but they capture the essence of Tet holiday – merriment and optimism.

Vietnamese Lunar New Year - Culture Pham Travel

Besides households, municipal authorities establish adornments, such as mascot statues, posters, or flowers, in public places. Thus, domestic and international visitors can savor pleasant outdoor hangouts during the Tet holiday.

Dragon mascot for Tet holiday 2024 in Quang Tri - Culture Pham Travel
Dragon mascot for Tet holiday 2024 in Quang Tri – Culture Pham Travel


When referring to Tet holiday, people also use the phrase ăn Tết, which means ‘eat Tet.’ This term expresses the important role of food in Tet celebrations. All the Vietnamese culinary quintessence offers for the Vietnamese Lunar New Year food. Some dishes are seen throughout the year, but some are Tet-only offerings.

If you visit a Vietnamese home during Tet, you will immediately see an eye-catching box put amidst the living room table. It displays flavorful candied fruits, sweets, cookies, and different grains, such as watermelon seeds or hazelnuts.

Tet candy box - Culture Pham Travel
Tet candy box – Culture Pham Travel

Yet, they’re just snacks. Normally, the main courses will mainly include bánh chưng, bánh tét, sticky rice, fish sauce-marinated steak (or pork), chả lụa (pork sausage), pickled veggies as side dishes, and so on. Different families will have different choices of food depending on their preferences.

Tet Holiday Vietnam Food - Culture Pham Travel


Lunar New Year Vietnamese is the most worthy opportunity for gifts. Everyone gives and receives gifts during Tet season: the old and the young, parents and children, bosses and employees, friends and lovers. Gifts for Tet can be varied according to relationships, purposes, and budgets.

Tet hamper full of food as a Tet gift box - Culture Pham Travel
Tet hamper full of food as a Tet gift box – Culture Pham Travel

Common gifts are Tet hampers, including various food, fruits, and wines; and lucky money, or lì xì. No Vietnamese kids don’t long for a red envelope with some cash and lovely wishes from the adults. Gift-giving is a beautiful tradition on the Tet Vietnamese holiday as a manifestation of interpersonal affection.

Lucky money as Tet gifts for children - Culture Pham Travel
Lucky money as Tet gifts for children – Culture Pham Travel

Vietnamese New Year Traditions

With great importance, the Tet holiday in Vietnam features numerous traditions and customs. They vary depending on region, but some are the same throughout the country.

Before-Tet Traditions

Beyond shopping and cleaning up, the Vietnamese maintain offering traditions:

  • Last full-moon offering (cúng rằm tháng Chạp): It’s the 15th of the last lunar month. Vietnamese people make offerings on the 15th of every lunar month, but the last one is the most important and sumptuous.
  • Offering to Kitchen Gods (cúng ông Công ông Táo): It occurs on the 23rd of the last lunar month. People will serve the Kitchen Gods offerings and farewell them to heaven.
Vietnamese traditional offerings - Culture Pham Travel
Vietnamese traditional offerings – Culture Pham Travel
  • Tomb-sweeping: Family members will choose one day from the 23–30th of the last lunar month to visit their ancestors’ graves and do cleanup and decorations. This rewarding tradition shows the respect of descendants for their predecessors.
Tomb-Sweeping Day Vietnam - Culture Pham Travel
Tomb-Sweeping Day Vietnam – Culture Pham Travel
  • Year-end celebration (cúng tất niên): It takes place on the 29th or 30th of the last lunar month. Family members gather, prepare food, offer it to ancestors, and have a cozy meal together.
  • New Year’s Eve (giao thừa): On the threshold of the New Year, there are activities such as cooking bánh chưng together, firework watching, making outdoor and indoor offerings, first-footing (xông đất), and praying at temples.
Vietnamese spend New Year's Eve with family - Culture Pham Travel
Vietnamese spend New Year’s Eve with family – Culture Pham Travel

During-Tet Traditions

The Tet festival’s main event is on the first three days, but people can celebrate it for 7 days or more. During these days, good traditions are retained with warm-hearted activities, such as:

  • First-footing: Homeowners will invite a close person with matching zodiacs or a nice personality to be their first foot. A good man as a first foot is believed to bring good fortune and prosperity.
  • Visiting and greeting: During the holiday, people spend time seeing their relatives and close acquaintances to exchange wishes. This intimate socialization helps enhance relationships among people.
  • Lucky money (lì xì): Children, and sometimes the elderly, will receive lucky money wrapped in a red and yellow envelope. Red and yellow are believed to bring good luck and chase away evil.
Vietnamese tradition of visiting relatives at Tet - Culture Pham Travel
Vietnamese tradition of visiting relatives at Tet – Culture Pham Travel
  • Go to temples: At Tet, people also tend to visit temples and pagodas to burn some incense, do rituals, and make sincere wishes. In doing so, they hope for blessings from deities.
  • Folk entertainment and festivities: Tet is the time for energetic traditional games and art performances, such as blind man’s buff; lion dances; bội, cải lương, and chèo singing; boat races; wrestling; gambling games like bài chòi, lắc bầu cua, French-suited cards; etc.

Vietnamese Zodiacs

Some Asian countries, including Vietnam, follow a 12-year-cycle lunar calendar based on 12 animals with particular attributes. Each animal represents a year, which has a deep connection to native philosophy and beliefs.

Here’s an example of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year animals in 12 years, by the traditional order:

  1. Tý – Rat: 2020
  2. Sửu – Buffalo: 2021 (Ox in China, Korea, and Japan)
  3. Dần – Tiger: 2022
  4. Mão – Cat: 2023 (Rabbit in China, Korea, and Japan)
  5. Thìn – Dragon: 2024
  6. Tỵ – Snake: 2025
  7. Ngọ – Horse: 2026
  8. Mùi – Goat: 2027
  9. Thân – Monkey: 2028
  10. Dậu – Chicken: 2029
  11. Tuất – Dog: 2030
  12. Hợi – Pig: 2031

Vietnamese Lunar New Year animals - Culture Pham Travel

Tet Greetings

As mentioned above, greeting is one of the main traditions of Vietnam holiday Tet. Thus, you might be curious about how to say Happy Lunar New Year in Vietnamese. See some common Tet greetings as follows:

  • Chúc mừng năm mới (Happy New Year)
  • Cung chúc tân xuân (Sincere wishes for a new spring)
  • Sống lâu trăm tuổi (Wish you a hundred-year longevity; usually aimed at the elderly)
  • An khang thịnh vượng (Wish you good health and prosperity)
  • Vạn sự như ý (A myriad things go according)
  • Hay ăn chóng lớn (Eat well, grow well; usually aimed at children)
  • Làm ăn tấn tới (May you be successful at work)
  • Tiền vô như nước (May wealth pour in like water)
Tet couplets with greetings on them - Culture Pham Travel
Tet couplets with greetings on them – Culture Pham Travel

Best Place To Celebrate New Year In Vietnam

Vietnamese Lunar New Year is an exceptional nationwide festival that offers great excitement to everyone, including foreign tourists. To savor the most lively ambiance, foreigners who want to celebrate New Year’s Eve and Tet holiday in Vietnam should opt for big cities or beach resorts. Several good recommendations are:

  • Ho Chi Minh City: accommodations and restaurants open during Tet; firework events (Sai Gon River); festivities throughout Tet (e.g. the Duc Thanh Tran Temple Festival)
  • Hanoi: accommodations open during Tet are available; there are countdown and firework spaces (around Hoan Kiem Lake); visitors can see various relics in Tet theme and folk festivals (e.g. Perfume Pagoda Festival, Dong Da Festival)
  • Halong Bay: dinner cruise on New Year’s Eve (Ambassador Cruise) as the best feature; intriguing traditional festivities in the city
  • Phu Quoc: sufficient facilities for tourists (hotels, restaurants, new attractions) available during Tet; stunning beach views; many local Tet festivals to see (e.g. Dinh Ba Ong Lang Festival)
  • Hoi An: accommodations during Tet and fireworks available; tasty local dishes for Tet; vintage atmosphere imbued with traditional Tet; folk festivals (e.g. Nguyen Tieu Festival)
  • Nha Trang: impressive coastal scenery; ample visitor amenities (hotels, restaurants, and attractions) accessible during Tet; local Tet celebrations to attend

Again, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year is celebrated throughout Vietnam. That means any place can offer a great insight into the native Tet culture to contemplate. If you have a preferred place in mind, don’t hesitate to choose it.

Foreigners visiting Hoi An Vietnam during Tet - Culture Pham Travel
Foreigners visiting Hoi An Vietnam during Tet – Culture Pham Travel


In short, Tet holiday in Vietnam is an incredibly significant event that holds deep cultural and traditional values. It’s a cozy occasion for Vietnamese people to gather around their beloveds, show respect to their ancestors, and celebrate a hopeful new year.

From the vibrant decorations to the delicious traditional foods, Tet is a truly unique and special experience that visitors to Vietnam should not miss. By embracing the customs and traditions of Tet, travelers can gain a deeper understanding of Vietnamese culture and create unforgettable memories.

Lunar New Year Vietnamese - Culture Pham Travel

So, mark your calendars for the upcoming Tet holiday in 2024 and experience the magic of this extraordinary celebration in Vietnam. We hope that our blog provides you with considerable insight into the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. Thanks for reading.

Culture Pham Travel

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