The events observed by the Vietnamese during Tet
- on Feb 8, 2021       By: BN
The most important festival in Vietnamese culture is Tết Nguyên đán, the New Year's party or simply Tet. The Vietnamese believe that all business depends on the first days of each year. If you are lucky during those days, the happiness of a family will last all year. The Vietnamese act as if they are starting a whole new life.
We dress in the best clothes. We want to appear easy and happy. We are kind to everyone. We avoid using certain words that may bring bad luck, or doing certain acts which would give all business a bad start.
1. The first visit
On the first day of the year, we have to watch the door of the house, where we anxiously await the first visit. Mourners refrain from visiting during the first few days of the year.
No one is allowed into the house who appears to have deadly vital spirits (vía). But one receives with great joy a person who has a favourable life, because the happiness and prosperity of the whole year will depend on this first visit.
A special expression for the act of crossing the threshold of a house first on the first day of the year: xông đất.
Normally, people will limit going to other people's homes on the morningof the 1st. According to Vietnamese custom, this person plays an important role and can affect the family fortune for a whole year. Therefore, on the first day of the Lunar New Year, Vietnamese people usually only visit the homes of relatives.
Beggars are not allowed in, because they would bring bad luck to the family, the members would soon be reduced to begging.
2. You should not also name names, otherwise you could be in a bad mood all year round.
Vietnamese people think that the words of the beginning of the year are very important, so during the Tet holidays one should only say beautiful words to have better luck. Therefore, it is often advisable to avoid language and actions which can bring bad luck like "death", "failure"... Especially on New Years Day, people should not speak loudly so as not to avoid lose family harmony and the chase for fortune.
The monkey's name should be avoided as this animal has a reputation for being a bad omen.
3. You refrain from opening the safe for the first three days of the year, as this would portend spending the rest of the year.
We choose a good day to open the safe for the first time by making a small sacrifice.
In the first days of the year, one should neither borrow nor lend money. This will put the family in poverty throughout the year as it is a sign of "giving" the fortune to others.
4. It is forbidden to do sewing work, during Tet with white thread, one would risk having mourning during the year, because the colour white is the colour of mourning.
Black and white represents for bad luck for Vietnamese mourners. Therefore, people generally avoid wearing black or white clothing during Tet. They often wear new clothes in colourful colours such as red and yellow, wishing a happy new year.
5. In the past one should choose a favourable time and day to write the first characters on red paper, the colour of happiness, or on paper with a floral background. This rite is called “khai bút”, the inauguration of the brush.
Failure to observe this rite would cause setbacks in business and study. And if, unfortunately, we write for the first time at a bad time, we risk having unforeseen illnesses and accidents.
6. During Tet, fire and water should not be given to one who asks for it, for fear of losing his good chances.
The fire is red, a sign of good luck, and the water is like a source of wealth and energy for the family. Therefore, the demand for fire or water will lead to lost profits and disaster for the family.
7. It is absolutely forbidden to sweep the house on the first day of the year and throw away the garbage for the first three days because the family will be ruined.
Particularly in the South, after cleaning, families should store all their brooms properly because their loss during Tet will cause bad luck all year round and all their belongings could be stolen.
8. On the Tet festival, we must also observe the prohibitions on agricultural work. Anything that disturbs the God of the Ground is forbidden. Not only should we avoid digging in the earth, but also we must not pull up the grass and cut the tree branches.
The ground, and what emanates from it, that is to say the vegetation, are momentarily inviolable. It is not even allowed to split wood or husk rice.