What are some New Year traditions from where you are?

Sooo… the Lunar New Year celebration is fast approaching in Vietnam, and other east Asian countries like China, Taiwan, Korea, etc. and I am curious to learn more about your countries’ New Year’s customs/traditions.

  • Does your country have a separate New Year celebration not based on the Georgian calendar? If so, then when?
  • What are the things that are usually associated with said celebration/tradition? i.e. food, costume, colors, etc.
  • What do you usually do on the days / period of the celebration?

For us Vietnamese, the Lunar New Year (or “Tết”) begins on the January 1st of the lunar calendar, of which this year will falls on next Thursday (Feb 8).

Some of the things usually associated with it include…

  1. Red mostly everywhere

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During this time of the year in my country, you will usually see a lot of shops selling decorative items and people decorating their houses in red. This is because red signifies good fortune, luck, vitality, and prosperity in the new year.

Some people even went as far as wearing red “Áo dài” (a traditional Vietnamese tunic) on the first day of the new year (mostly for photo-taking purposes), though I am glad that my parents never made me wear one (red was never my color anyway).

  1. Food with tons of carbs

Some centerpieces on our table during this time are:

“Bánh chưng” or “Bánh tét” (Stick rice cake)

This is a sticky rice cake filled with pork and green mung beans wrapped in banana leaves and steamed for hours. In the image above, “bánh chưng” is the square-looking one, while “bánh tét” in the round-looking one. The former originated in the North, while the latter in the South.

They have basically the same filling, though with “bánh tét”, there are also other versions which are sweet instead of savory, vegetarian, or one which they use salted egg yolk instead of pork.

“Giò lụa” (Pork roll)

A smooth and delicate pink pork roll made with ground pork and spices wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. I believe this is quite similar to Russia’s “Doctor’s sausage”.

“Gà luộc” (literally boiled chicked)

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Probably one of the blandest dishes us Vietnamese have came up with, though it taste quite good when dipped in basic condiment made of pepper, salt, and lime juice.

And what do we do with the stock / broth from boiling the chicken?

“Miến gà” (Chicken glass noodle soup)

The name is pretty self-explanatory. The chicken used here is the same as the previous dish, just shredded or sliced into thinner pieces.

  1. Somethings we do before and during the Lunar New Year

Before

  • Lots of cleaning
  • Shopping i.e. clothes, house decor, etc.
  • Gifting each other sticky rice cakes (I remember one time my families was gifted up to 5-6 sticky rice cakes so we had to finish them one by one even after Tết has ended).
  • For those social butterflies among us, we also attend “tiệc tất niên” (year end parties) with friends or colleagues.

During

  • On the Lunar New Year’s Eve, my family often go to our local pagoda and pray for good fortune and prosperity for the new year. My grandparents’ urns are also in there so it’s a good time to offer them some incense. But that is only for the Buddhists, I am not sure what the Christians do during these time :person_shrugging:

  • Giving out “Tiền lì xì” (Lucky money): This involve gifting small amount of money - traditionally - in red envelopes to symbolize good luck, success, and blessing for the recipients.


    The amount gifted varies depending on the recipients themselves, how much you make, etc. It could be as low as 10,000 VND ($0.41) to 500,000 VND ($20.47). Nowadays though, I feel that most people treat this custom like a sport to see who can stuff in the most amount of money in each envelope. As a working adult, I dreaded every time Tết is around the corner since it means that I now have to shell out quite a bit of my earnings for my siblings, cousins, and the like.


So those were a few things related to the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, share with us about how your country celebrate the New Year below :point_down:

Just remembered this weird custom us Vietnamese follow during the Lunar New Year: no sweeping the house during the New Year’s Eve and the first couple days of the New Year is a big no-no.

For some reason, people here believe we would sweep away all the good luck along with the dirt. Hence, why cleaning always happens beforehand.


And… just to show how much money it could take to give out lucky money, see the video below:

Some people I know received around 10+ mil VND as a kid (around 400-500 USD) → also depending on how many relatives they have. So, having a lot of lucky money as a kid (or teenager) is usually used for flexing.