Tet Festival, Vietnam

Festival Essentials

When: Annually, 12th month of the Buddhist calender
Where: Throughout Vietnam, had its heat in Saigon
Remember to bring: Firecrackers

Where’s the Party?

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly called Saigon, is one of Vietnam’s main cities. Though Tet (short for Tet Nguyen Dan, which means ‘the first day’) is celebrated all over the country, it is particularly festive in Ho Chi Minh.


The festival begins on the 23rd day of the 12th month of the year, according to the lunar calendar. Officially it lasts a week but in practice the festivities continue for much longer.

What Happens at Tet?

Families often spend large amounts of money on food, flowers and firecrackers for Tet. They take to the streets and join crowds setting off firecrackers. These are meant to repel the evil spirit Na A, who is said to be frightened away by noise and bright lights, before the new year begins

Tet is also the time to forgive, cancel debts and put last years problems behind you. Hundreds of people gather in prayer at the Buddhist pagodas, and for a travellers it’s a great time to observe the Mahayana Buddhist and Confuscious rituals that are an important part of Vietnamese life.

What’s the Meaning of the Tet Festival?

Tet marks the end of the lunar calendar and the beginning of spring.

More Information

Vietnam Web
The place to find information about any aspect of Vietnamese life.

By Jess Halliday


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