What is Tet?

Tet Nguyen Dan, commonly known as Tet, is the most important and celebrated holiday in Vietnam. Marking the arrival of spring based on the lunar calendar, Tet is much more than just a holiday - it's a profound cultural event that embodies the Vietnamese spirit and heritage. During this time, families reunite, special foods are prepared, homes are decorated, and an atmosphere of renewal and hope pervades.

When is Tet?

The date of Tet varies each year but typically falls in late January or early February. The festival lasts for about a week, but preparations and the celebratory mood start well before the official holiday.

Experiencing Tet as a Traveler

1. Vibrant Decorations

As you walk through the streets, you'll be greeted by the color red, symbolizing good luck, and yellow, representing prosperity. Look out for 'cay neu', a traditional Tet bamboo tree, and beautiful flower markets brimming with peach blossoms and apricot flowers.

2. Cultural Customs

Tet is steeped in customs and traditions. One of the most significant is the act of cleaning and decorating the home to welcome the new year and ward off evil spirits. It's also a time of respect for ancestors, with families visiting temples and graves.

3. Festive Foods

Your culinary journey during Tet will be remarkable. Don't miss 'Banh Chung' (sticky rice cake), a symbol of the earth, or 'Banh Tet', a cylindrical version of Banh Chung. Savor other traditional dishes like 'gio lua' (Vietnamese sausage), 'thit kho tau' (caramelized pork belly), and various pickled vegetables.

4. Fireworks and Celebrations

Join the locals as they flock to major squares and public places on Tet Eve for countdowns, fireworks, and festivities. It's a communal experience filled with joy and excitement.

5. Travel Tips During Tet

  • Plan Ahead: Many businesses close during Tet, so book your accommodations and transportation well in advance.
  • Embrace the Pace: The usually bustling cities slow down, offering a different perspective of Vietnamese life.
  • Respect the Culture: Remember, Tet is a sacred time for locals. Be respectful of traditions and customs.


Celebrating Tet in Vietnam is a unique and enriching experience that offers deep insights into Vietnamese culture and traditions. It's a festival of joy, family, and renewal that will leave you with lasting memories. So, pack your bags, open your heart to new experiences, and get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant and soulful celebration of Tet. Remember, it's not just a holiday; it's an experience that embodies the heart of Vietnam.