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, and the celebration can last to another month after the official holiday.
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.