New Year in Vietnam

The New Year in Vietnam is popularly known as Tet, the formal name being Nguyen-dan. The festival of New Year in Vietnam is very important as this is the time for breaks in the year of agriculture. The festival falls between sowing of new crops and the harvesting.
The New Year in Vietnam is celebrated by the people of Vietnam before the day. People clean their houses, polishes their copper and silver ware. All kinds of debts are paid off. The observance of Kitchen god Tao is celebrated for a week before the New Year. A belief exists that the three legs of the cooking equipment are the three gods. The middle stand is the female god whereas the other two are the two husbands. Earlier, people used to provide carp to the gods. Carp used to be bought from the market and placed in a bucket of water and then it was placed at the altar of the house, and later it was set free.
Vietnamese prepare special pudding which they eat at the New Year. This rice pudding, called Banh Chung or Tet is prepared beforehand. This dish is prepared from mung beans and pork. Other foods which are prepared in New Year are watermelons, oranges, coconuts, grapefruits, sweets, beef, fish and chicken.
On the last day, a plant like bamboo tree is planted in the area of the house. Decorations of trees are made with bells, flowers as well as red streamers and it is believed that this will guard the family from evil spirits. An offering is made on the altar of the house in the middle of the day during the New Year festival. A belief exists that the first person who comes through the door in the New Year signifies the future of the family.
The first day of the New Year in Vietnam is meant for visiting friends, teachers as well as parents. The next day is for visit to in-laws and friends. On the third day, visit to families of teachers and distant relatives are made. The fourth day is thought to be for the spirits to return as well as business to return normalcy. People visit the local temple and bring flowers as well as greenery considered as a gift of the celestial spirits. All these gifts are kept round the year.

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