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Traditional Lunar New Year celebrations: Vietnam


All you need is just 15mins today! 每天給自己15分鐘學英語

There is no cat in the Chinese zodiac. There is one in the Vietnamese one, though. Vietnam inherited the zodiac and the lunar calendar from the Chinese, who ruled it for a millennium a millennium ago. They replaced the rabbit with a cat.


The Vietnamese believe there are 12 sacred animals from the zodiac, and these take turns supervising earthly affairs. Lunar New Year’s eve sees the animal overseeing the old year end its term and hand the baton to the new animal. This year, for the Vietnamese — as for the Taiwanese — is the Year of the Rooster.


Although Vietnam has followed the Gregorian calendar since 1954, the traditional lunisolar calendar, mostly based on the Chinese lunar calendar, is still used to observe lunisolar holidays and commemorations, Tet being one of them.


Tet Nguyen Dan — Tet for short — is Sino-Vietnamese for “Feast of the First Morning of the First Day”. It is Vietnamese New Year’s Day, falling this year on Jan. 28, the arrival of spring, and the most important celebration in Vietnamese culture. The final day of the old year is about preparing food to offer to the ancestors. The actual dishes differ, depending on the climates of the northern, central and southern parts of the country.

Tet Nguyen Dan- — 簡稱Tet — 在越語中意謂「第一天的第一早的盛宴」。今年一月二十八日是越南的春節,是慶祝春天的到來,也是越南文化中最重要的慶典。越南人在舊年的最後一天準備食物來供奉祖先。實際上供奉的菜餚則根據國家北、中、南部各地的氣候而有所不同。

The Vietnamese also believe that the new year’s first visitor determines the fortunes of the family for that year. It is very important that you don’t visit a family on that day unless invited. Sometimes, the owner of the house pops outside a few minutes before the clock strikes the midnight hour, and then returns a few minutes into the new year. That way, the year’s first visitor is at least presentable.


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