Tết and Lunar New Year Celebrations in Vietnam and Cambodia

What is the Tết Holiday? In Vietnam, the Lunar New Year known as Tết, is celebrated on February 8th and Cambodia celebrates their New Year April 13th.

19 Jan 2012, Hanoi, Vietnam - – epa03066806 A woman hangs a lantern at a street in Hanoi, Vietnam, 19 January 2012. Vietnam is preparing for Tet, or lunar new year, the most important holiday of the year. Many households buy peach blossoms, cumquat trees and flowers to celebrate the new year. This year, Tet starts from 02 to 06 February 2011. EPA/LUONG THAI LINH - – Image by © LUONG THAI LINH/epa/Corbis

Image by © LUONG THAI LINH/epa/Corbis

In Vietnam and Cambodia, Tết is a sacred festival that welcomes the arrival of Spring based on the lunar calendar. In the past, Tet provided one of few long breaks during the agricultural year, which was held between the harvesting of the crops and the sowing of the next ones. Tết festivities last three-days with every effort to indulge in eating, drinking, enjoying friends and family, and paying homage to ancestors. The Vietnamese believe what they do on the dawn of Tết will determine their fate for the whole year therefore they often smile and behave as nicely as possible in hope for a better year.


Tết In Vietnam plays an important role in Vietnamese’s religious beliefs and begins by people spending several days cleaning their homes, polishing every utensil, or even repainting and decorating their houses with flowers to rid the home of bad luck from the previous year. The ancestral altar is decorated with five kinds of fruits and votive papers. Celebrants wear their newest clothes and shoes on the first days of New Year and make a point of paying pending debts and resolving disputes amongst themselves.

Like other Asian countries, Vietnamese believe that the color of red and yellow will bring good fortune, which may explain why these colors can be seen everywhere during Tết  celebrations with gifts shared between family members and children receiving money wrapped in red envelopes.

The following foods are typically consumed during Tết:
– Banh Chung/ Banh Tet
– Pickled onions
– Boiled chicken
– Mung bean pudding
– Vietnamese sausage – giò chả
– Xôi Gấc – Red Sticky Rice
– Roasted nuts and seeds

Tet 7_RGB_vn

Check out the Tết Vietnam celebrations for yourself:

My heart can feel Tet - VietnamOnline.com

Borrow these cultural traditions for your own New Year’s celebration or if you’re traveling with us, join in the fun with us at Aqua Expeditions!