Vietnamese Lunar New Year (Tet)
2024 - Year Of The Dragon
Vietnamese Tet, also known as Tet Nguyen Dan or simply Tet, is the most important festival in Vietnamese culture. It is the Vietnamese New Year, and it marks the beginning of the lunar calendar. Tet Holiday carries love and hope; signifies family and friend kinship; and promises a better year ahead. If you are interested in learning about local life in Vietnam, there could not be a better time than Tet.
2024 - Year Of The Dragon
Vietnam Online creates this guide as a special early gift for those visiting Vietnam during the New year, in the hope that upon leaving, many will say
In Vietnam, there could be no other occasions more special than Tet for all members in a family to unite and enjoy a wide range of hilarious activities during the holiday. Below are the top five most preferable Tet’s activities Vietnamese people often do with family.
Living in a cradle of the wet rice civilization, Vietnamese has a deep connection with nature and to them, besides the buffalo, chicken is one of the six most familiar animals (including: chicken, pig, goat, buffalo, and horse).
Tet celebration in Vietnam starts on the 1st day of Lunar calendar and usually lasts for 3 days. Before Tet holidays, people start having days off from December 26th to tidy up and decorate their houses. The work schedule are normally back to track at January 5th of Lunar Calendar.
In order to have the best Tet experience in Ho Chi Minh city, read these useful tips shared by locals and experienced travellers to ensure a smooth trip during the holidays.
It seems to look like sticky rice, but its bloody red color makes it so bizarre. That is “xoi gac”- the unique red sticky rice that people can find nowhere else in the world except for Vietnam!
Banh Tet, a representative cake in the South Vietnam, can be easily found at any house during Tet.
Frequently asked questions
How much lucky money is appropriate?
The customary amount of lucky money given varies, ranging from 20,000 - 100,000 VND (for acquaintances) to 200,000 - 500,000 VND for closer relationships.
Will prices increase during this period?
Prices for various consumer goods and services like transportation, accommodation, tour packages, gifts, and entertainment activities can increase due to increased demand and various factors associated with the festival. However, the differences in goods prices would not be significant compared to the normal time.
What should I wear during Tet holiday?
There is no strict dress code but it is thoughtful to dress modestly and respectfully, especially when visiting temples or attending family gatherings. Vietnamese traditional “ao dai” or suits and long dresses are appropriate attire during this celebration. The weather is pretty cold so you should also wear thick jackets and shoes or boots to get warm.
What is the weather like during this time?
Vietnamese Lunar New Year occurs between late January and mid-February marking the transition from winter to spring. The weather varies across the nation but it is generally pleasant, ideal for outdoor trips, festivities, and cultural celebrations.
In northern Vietnam (Hanoi and mountainous areas), the weather tends to be cool ranging from 15 to 20 Celsius Degree and relatively dry. The region receives minimal rainfall. Central Vietnam (Hue, Danang, Hoi An) experiences milder and warmer temperatures averaging around 20°C to 25°C. In the south, it is much warmer and more humid. Temperatures can range from around 25°C to 30°C or higher. There might be occasional showers or short bursts of rain, but it does not usually last long.
Is it obligatory to give red envelopes or gifts?
Red envelopes or “li xi” are not compulsory but they represent a thoughtful gesture, symbolizing good luck and prosperity. You should send it to your close Vietnamese friends, the elderly, and children.
How many days are stores and offices closed?
The official duration is 7 days but the real business opening time depends on the store and company’s owners. Offices and companies often resume business on time while small shops and stores can open earlier or later upon to their consideration for a lucky and prosperous year.
What are common sentences to wish Vietnamese locals a happy new year?
Common greetings that you can say to Vietnamese people are “Chuc Mung Nam Moi” (Happy New Year) or “Cung Chuc Tan Xuan” (wishing you a prosperous new spring).
How does Tet affect my travel in Vietnam?
You may encounter increased traffic and crowded transportation before and after the holiday. Meanwhile, during this time, most businesses, shops, and government offices are closed so you may not get the service timely. There would also be limited availability of public transport including buses, trains, and flights due to high demand. Therefore, you are advised to book accommodations and other services well in advance.
As a foreigner, are there any specific taboos or customs to be aware of?
You should be conscious of gift-giving, a tradition to exchange lucky money although it is not obligatory. Additionally, it is good to adhere to traditions like greetings, pay respect to elders, cover your legs and shoulders while visiting religious sites, and avoid causing disruptions during religious ceremonies. Understanding changes like business closures, slow-paced services, and immersing in cultural activities are also highly recommended things for you to blend into the nation's most important festival.
Besides, certain taboos are observed, including prohibiting discussions about unfortunate topics such as death or using profanity. Additionally, avoid engaging in arguments or raising voices as it is believed to bring bad luck.
Can foreigners participate in the celebrations?
Yes, foreign visitors are welcome to join. You can engage in local traditions and customs such as visiting temples, exchanging lucky money, and enjoying traditional specialties. You should try to partake in the festivities respectfully by paying respects at temples and pagodas, dressing moderately, and learning some customs like giving and receiving red envelopes or greeting “Chuc Mung Nam Moi” (Happy New Year).
What are the key activities during the occasion?
23rd of the lunar December is the Kitchen God Day, also known as Tet Ong Cong - Ong Tao, the kitchen gods who protect and govern the works of the family. On this day, Vietnamese people clean the altar, set new offerings, prepare traditional dishes, and release carp as ritual ceremonies to say farewell to these gods and help them on their way back to heaven.
From the 24th to 30th of the lunar December, family members gather to clean, decorate the house, make Chung cake, prepare traditional dish ingredients, five-fruit trays, and visit ancestors’ graves. They also go shopping to buy new clothes, decorative items, and gifts.
On New Year’s Eve (30th of lunar December), people give offerings to ancestors’ altar and “xong dat” - the first visit to the house. Afterward, during the five-day holiday, Vietnamese people will visit relatives’ houses, exchange lucky money, go to pagodas, temples, and so on.
While resuming normal daily life, Vietnamese people can still continue to take part in spring festivals, enjoy the festive atmosphere, and celebrate Tet Nguyen Tieu on the 15th of the lunar January.
How long does Tet often last in Vietnam?
Tet, or Vietnamese New Year, usually lasts for 7-9 days. However, the preparations for Tet can last for several weeks and the holiday spirit can be felt even longer. The official dates of Tet are determined by the lunar calendar, so it can fall on different days each year.
- 2018: 7 days
- 2019: 9 days
- 2020: 7 days
- 2021: 7 days
- 2022: 9 days
When is Tet 2024 and how long is it last?
The 2024 Vietnamese New Year falls on Saturday, February 10, 2024. This is the Year of Dragon and the holiday lasts 7 days from Thursday, February 8 (29th of the lunar December) to Wednesday, February 14 (5th of the lunar January). Yet, the celebration may span up to a month, including preparations, the official holiday, and post-festivities.
Schools, offices, hospitals, and almost all institutions are closed during this time. Expect some convenience stores, groceries, and local markets to open soon after the first day of the lunar year.
How many days are stores closed during Tet?
It really depends on the store owners. Vietnamese small businesses are very strict about their reopening day during the new year, wishing for a lucky and prosperous year ahead. They may visit a fortune teller or check the lunar calendar book and pick the date that best match their zodiac. Some may open on the first day of the year, others will wait until the tenth or even after the First Full Moon Festival (Tet Nguyen Tieu).
Are grocery stores open during Tet Holiday?
Some grocery stores such as Aeon Mall only close briefly on the New Year Day's morning and open from noon until late at night. Vinmart store chains often close on the first day and open on the second day of the new year. It is better you avoid visiting the shopping mall or grocery stores within 2-3 days before Tet holiday as they will be jam-packed with locals making their last minute holiday shopping.
When is Tet 2023?
In 2023, the lunar new year eve will fall on January 21andnew year day on January 22. The actual public holiday is from January 19 to January 26. Expect banks, schools and other public institutions to close during this time.
How long is Tet 2024? I plan to visit Vietnam between 09 Feb to 15 feb. should I delay my travel?
@Rachael, Tet 2024 will begin on 10 Feb and will last for about 7 days, if you want to experience the local culture, it is recommended that you travel Vietnam during Tet holiday. Otherwise, you can move up your travel to the date after 19 Feb when all services resume to normal.
YOU HAVE THE WRONG DATES FOR TET 2022!!!!!!
Hi there, the date has been updated. Thanks for your information!
Chuc Mung Nam Moi from France!
Do you know where I can get all ingredients for Banh Chung in California?
This restaurant sells all kinds of Vietnamese food: Kim Huong - 8860 Bolsa Ave, Ste C, Westminster, CA 92683. Cheers
Time in Vietnam
Public Holidays 2024
Meet our experts
Unlock experiences far beyond the ordinary