The timeless traditional Tet in Vietnam

Tet in Vietnam, also known as the Vietnamese Traditional New Year, holds a special place in the hearts of the Vietnamese people. It is the most significant and cherished holiday in Vietnam, marking the beginning of the lunar new year. Tet is not only a time for celebration, but also a period deeply rooted in tradition and cultural heritage.

Customs and Traditions

A journey through time: Let’s take a look at some old photos of the traditional Tet in Vietnam (Hanoi) in 1920s. Time flies so quickly. Our traditional Tet is changed so much and the traditional traits are gradually assimilated with the modern life. Some of its beauty are lost in oblivion. Take a look into the past to see how the cherished traditional Tet looked like.The traditional Tet in Vietnam

Preparations for Tet in Vietnam

The Tet rush usually starts a month before the clock strikes Lunar New Year, with people busy shopping, preparing for the homecoming, cleaning and decorating houses, and cooking Tet specialties. The celebration for Tet can last to another month after the official holiday.

Modern Influences

Yet many are arguing Tet is losing its magic amid the modern fast-paced life, and whether the country should abandon the long-standing festival and its accompanying “exhaustion”, joining the rest of the world to celebrate only the International (Solar) New Year instead.

Others on the other hand, are trying to revive the flavors of Tet to prove how it has been a sacred, venerable tradition passed on for centuries that should be kept for the next generations.

While the debate spirals on, take a look back at the Tet spirit in Hanoi almost a century ago, before the wars, the Subsidy Period and then the modern lifestyle rolled in. These black and white photos, taken mostly at the central market of Dong Xuan in the 1920s give a glimpse of the Tet bustle that the elders have been nostalgic for.

Photos via Flickr/manhhai.

The traditional Tet in Vietnam
Waiting to get blessings written in calligraphy, a New Year tradition that is still kept alive today in the capital.
The traditional Tet in Vietnam
Dong leaves used to wrap banh chung, a special Tet rice cake, are on sale at a stall in the market.
The traditional Tet in Vietnam
Children from a noble family visit and wish their parents good health in the first days of the new year in Xa La Village, Ha Dong (now Hanoi’s suburban district).

Future Outlook On Tet In Vietnam

As Vietnam continues to undergo rapid development and modernization, the future of Tet may see further changes. However, the enduring spirit of Tet and its significance in Vietnamese culture are likely to persist. As Vietnamese people adapt to new challenges and opportunities, Tet will continue to serve as a timeless reminder of the importance of family, tradition, and community.


In conclusion, Tet is much more than just a holiday; it is a celebration of tradition, heritage, and community. From its ancient origins to its modern-day festivities, Tet embodies the resilience and spirit of the Vietnamese people. As Vietnam moves forward into the future, Tet will remain a cherished tradition that unites generations and preserves the rich cultural tapestry of the nation.
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