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