Foreigners’ feelings about Vietnamese Tet

The Lunar New Year (Tet) Festival is a special opportunity for foreigners living, working or just travelling in Vietnam to get a better understanding of the country’s rich cultural history and traditions.

In interviews with VOV, foreigners have expressed a wide diversity of feelings and impressions about Tet, though they all shared the joy with Vietnamese people.

For them, Tet has become a special attraction, offering an opportunity for the country to show its true colours and traditions to the international community.

Mark from Australia is an English teacher in Hanoi. Last year, he celebrated his second Lunar New Year in Vietnam.

He said that on the lead up to Tet people flocked to the streets to buy the usual necessities for the year’s biggest days.

“Pre Tet its busy and driving through the streets on a motorbike is more dangerous than usual”, Mark shares.  Vietnam, and Hanoi in particular, has gained a worldwide repudiation for its dangerous streets clogged with motorbikes and rude drivers.

“I am looking forward to the actual Tet holiday though and as for me anyway, Hanoi becomes so much more beautiful when people leave for the countryside

Tet and it is less congested”.

He said he liked it because of the quietness it brings to Hanoi, as many people visit their families hometowns, there is much less traffic and its actually pleasant to take an evening stroll.

Matt Aderson, 34, and Natalia Garcia from the US shared that they intended to celebrate New Year in Phu Quoc island.

“We see Vietnamese Tet is an exciting event. I will stay in Hanoi two or three days before Tet to discover Dong Xuan night market and walk along Hang Ma street where display a wide range of colourful lanterns, "caudoi" or parallel sentences, and Goat statue”.

“I am looking to have a Vietnamese Tet holiday on a beach and enjoy meaningful time with my beloved”. They share. “It’s nice to move far from a peaceful Hanoi with few people on the street and silent atmosphere during Tet”.

Rosy, an American journalist, who has been living in Vietnam for almost two years, says she loves Vietnamese traditional Tet with colourful decorations and delicious dishes like Chung cake (square cake made of sticky rice, green bean and fat pork).

“I live with a Vietnamese family, so I have good chances to enjoy a real Tet,” shares Rosy.

She also takes this occasion to write some features about Tet celebrations in Vietnam and traditional cultural values that are vividly exposed during the year’s largest festival.

“I often went out to watch firework display before gathering at home for unification party on New Year’s Eve,” she says, adding that her most impressive image of Vietnamese Tet is lucky money put in a red envelop with decoration of the animal of the year – a goat this year.

Ruan Ming De, junior international student at the Hanoi University, from Kunming, China who have celebrated New Year in Hanoi for second time, showed the similarities and differences of the cultural activities for Tet holiday between China and Vietnam.

“I have enjoyed Tet in Hanoi for two years and I found a lot of similarities and differences. The most different thing is firecrackers. It is legal in Chinabut not in Vietnam”, Ruan Ming De says.

“In my homeland, as I know, firecrackers would explode scaring off all evil spirits and welcoming the New Year. Both young and old people are very excited to hear its sound”.

He felt very sorry when Vietnamese government banned firecrackers.

“Fireworks have been used in celebrations in Vietnam for hundreds of years and can be classed as part of the culture. Quiet and non-explosive fireworks make as much sense as a dog that doesn't bark or a cat without claws”.

“I loved Tet in Hanoi and spring is my favourite season. It signifies new beginnings and hope for the year ahead”.

That is the sharing of Tracey Goodacre from Ireland who has celebrated New Year in the capital city.

Tracey said that her favourite memories of Tet are all the flowers, blossom and blooms.

“The colourful displays and decorations around the Hoan Kiem lake. People whizzing by on motorbikes with huge pink or orange blossom trees strapped to the back. The flower markets lined along the streets and around the lake.”

“My landlord growing hundreds of plants on his rooftop to sell at the markets”, she adds.

Tracey shared that she loves the excited and bustling atmosphere of Hanoi because it seemed to come even more alive in the run up to Tet.

“The streets packed with people buying blossoms for their house and gifts for their loved ones and wandering round the lake looking at the Tet decorations and soaking up the atmosphere”.

She told to VOV reporter that Tet in Vietnam is a time for family,not dissimilar to Christmas and New Year in England.

“On Tet everything closes and families get together to eat, drink and celebrate. The streets are quiet but behind doors and windows down alleys you can hear and catch a glimpse of families celebrating together”.

Tracey stressed that after a long, damp, drizzly cold winter huddled around hotpots and coffee cups. Tet marks the start of spring, warmer weather a new beginnings.

“It's a special and magical time and not to be missed if you re planning a trip to Vietnam”, she suggests.

Steven and Jennifer from the Hawaii are impressed by the colour Red which appeared every corner of the streets.

“This is the first time I and my fiancé have been in Vietnam. Luckily, we come to the country right on the occasion of New Year. It is totally different from my hometown. Red colour, symbolizing good luck and happiness, covers all the country”.

It is extremely amazing!!!” Jennifer says.

“Happy New Year, Vietnam”, Steven excited. “I wish you all best of luck and may the upcoming Year of the Goat bring peace and prosperity to all”.

Ngoc Vu/Vu Toan


Vietnamese Tet, foreigners with tet