HANOI, December 9, 2017 – If you want to travel to Vietnam to enjoy Tet holiday – the Lunar New Year Celebration of Vietnamese people, you should understand these differences of Tet in the North, the Central and the South of Vietnam
Like Christmas in Western countries, Lunar New Year or Tet holiday is the biggest and the most important holiday of the year. And travelling to Vietnam to celebrate Vietnamese New Year is a great idea for visitors having interest in cultural exploration. And before you go, read this article to find out the differences of Tet holiday in three main regions in Vietnam.
Typically, Tet holiday in Vietnam is the occasion when everyone comes back home to gather with their family. People enjoy the cosy moment at home, enjoy delicious traditional food, and enjoy the festive atmosphere. However, there are some slight differences among the ways people celebrate Tet in the North, the Centre and the South of Vietnam, due to the differences in weather, culture and historical aspects. And it makes Vietnamese culture more diverse and worthy to explore.
1. Vietnamese New Year (Tet holiday) in the North
Because of the cold weather during New Year celebration, the people in the North love to decorate their house with peach blossom and kumquat tree. ‘There is not Tet if there isn’t a peach blossom tree in the house’, Northern people always think that. The red colour of peach blossom symbolises the luck and fortune. Besides, people think that there are two gods living on the peach trees, so they put a peach tree in their house so that the gods can protect them and bring happiness to their family.
Nowadays, there are a lot of trees and flowers to decorate for Tet such as lily, boat orchid, camellia, but peach blossom is always a traditional flower for Tet of the North. Also, in some places, especially in Hanoi, people usually put a pot of daffodil because they think if this flower bloom in the New Year’s Eve, it will bring happiness, luck and wealth for the whole family.
Food is an important part of Tet holiday. The Northern people think that the diverse and different colours of the dishes can bring fortune and wealth for the family. Therefore, the food in Tet holiday in the North is always various in dishes with multiple ingredients.
The typical features of traditional Tet cuisine of the North are exquisite, delicately flavoured and balanced in tastes. Fried spring rolls, different Vietnam style sausages (cha, gio), salted shallot and pickled mustard greens and combo noodle soup are must-have during Tet. Also, dried bamboo shoots and pork leg soup is a very popular bowl in Tet.
Banh chung is always a must. Banh Chung is the most important Vietnamese traditional cuisine in Tet holiday, especially in the North. Banh Chung in the North is in a square shape, covered with banana or Dong leaves and served with pickled shallots.
2. Vietnam New Year (Tet holiday) in Central Vietnam
Among the three regions, Central Vietnam has the harshest climate condition, therefore, Tet preparation in this region is a lot simpler than that in the others. However, people in the central part have Tet holiday with their special features.
People in North Central love to decorate their house with peach blossom and kumquat trees while those in North Central prefer apricot blossom and marigold flowers. People here usually hang red envelopes and small decoration things in red on these trees.
Tet cuisine the Central Vietnam is the combination of the North and the South. The Central has both Banh chung (in a square shape) and Banh Tet (in round shape) for their Tet. Moreover, the food of Tet holiday in here tends to be cooked with the aim of making it last longer. For example, the central people usually have Thit dong (pork jelly), caramelized pork and egg, meat in fish sauce (thit ngam nuoc mam) and different pickles which are the dishes that can keep for a long time. Besides, the traditional New Year’s food in the Central region always has three kinds of animals: fowl (chicken), red meat (pork, beef), and seafood (fish, shrimp).
Hue seems to be the most typical place to have the most sophisticated Tet cuisine in the central region. Hue is the ancient capital of Vietnam. Therefore, there is no surprise that its cuisine is featured for imperial families. Also, Hue people have the best vegetarian food only for Tet holiday.
3. Vietnamese New Year (Tet holiday) in the South
With the warm weather all year round, Tet holiday in the South is covered with the shining yellow colour of apricot blossom and marigold flowers. Like the peach blossom in the North, apricot blossom in the South is symbolic of happiness, luck and fortune.
A special thing in the southern region is the floating market on the river. And before Tet holiday, the flower floating market is held on the river with plenty of flowers. You should visit this market to see how beautiful the Tet flowers are.
Because of the hot weather, Tet’s cuisine in the South is mostly cold food (such as ham, pork pie, and different pickles). And the dishes are usually diverse and free in style and differ from place to place. However, caramelized pork with coconut juice and bitter melon soup are the two popular dishes in Tet Holiday in here.
Of course, Banh Tet is a must in the South. Like Banh Chung, Banh Tet is also covered in green banana or Dong leaves, but in round shape. Banh Tet in the South can have various fillings, from pork and mung bean (like in the North and the Central) to others such as black bean, banana, coconut milk, etc.
Along with the differences in Tet decoration and traditional cuisine, there are other differences in customs and the taboos during Tet Holiday among three regions. Enjoying the festive atmosphere, trying delicious Tet cuisines and exploring the interesting differences of Vietnamese New Year Celebration are the top things to do in Tet holiday in Vietnam.
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