New Year’s Eve shows the Vietnamese people’s deep respect for their ancestors: having arrived in their home country, they visit the graves of their loved ones, remove weeds and burn incense to invoke souls to visit the family home. The children express their respect for their grandparents and parents by celebrating their longevity and presenting their grandparents, parents and elderly relatives with wishes for peace and good health.
The first day is dedicated to family, the second to close friends. The Vietnamese dedicate the third day to teachers: a custom that testifies to the centrality and importance attached to teachers in Vietnamese culture.
In view of the Lunar New Year, the Vietnamese decorate houses and streets using decorations in colours considered to be good luck: red and yellow. Homes, schools and offices are decorated with flowers: daffodils, gerberas, chrysanthemums. In the North, the Vietnamese decorate spaces with pink peach blossoms, while in the South they prefer the intense yellow of Mai flowers.
In Vietnamese culture, New Year symbolises the link between heaven and earth, humanity and divinity. It is a solemn and sacred festival, bidding farewell to the old year and welcoming the new year with wishes for health, prosperity and harmony.
The Chinese New Year and the Vietnamese New Year are celebrated on the same day, ushering in a new lunar year. According to zodiac tradition, each lunar year is dedicated to an animal according to a twelve-year cycle. However, while the Chinese zodiac has the Year of the Ox and the Year of the Rabbit, the Vietnamese celebrate the Year of the Buffalo and the Year of the Cat. This year, both inaugurate the Year of the Dragon.