How I celebrate Vietnamese New Year
The Vietnamese biggest celebration is the welcoming of the New Year. It is called Tet, which means the first morning of the first day of the New Year. Traditionally, it is celebrated for one week long. This is different from the western culture, which celebrates for only one day. According to the Vietnamese lunar calendar this is the year of the Goat. The lunar calendar was created by the systematically changing phases of the moon. Consequently, the actual days of the New Year vary from year to year according to the moon's phases.
Preparation for Tet starts weeks before New Year's Day. All homes are clean to get rid of bad fortune associated with the old year. Every member of the family participates in the preparation and cleaning process. The house must be thoroughly cleansed from inside and outside. Sweeping and scrubbing is done in advance as tradition discourages cleaning during the holiday itself.
It is considered bad luck to start the New Year cleaning. Sweeping the floor is like sweeping the good fortunes away elsewhere. Families paint their homes to give it a new look. The mothers are busy buying new clothes for everyone to wear on New Year's Day. Anyone who has debts needs to pay them off before the New Year to mark a new beginning. Also, it is very important to visit the graves of the ancestors and burn incense to call upon the souls of the dead visit the family home. Anyone who doesn't do this is regarded as the ill-fated child and would be punished by the ancestors.
The markets are swarmed with people preparing for the New Year. Most homes have the same celebration food and items. The traditionally food that must be purchased are...