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TET New Year



Tet Nguyen Dan, is the lunar New year Festival and it is the most important Vietnamese holiday. Tet is the celebration of the beginning of spring as well as a new year. It is the time for family reunions, exchanging gifs, best wishes and the beginning of a new year.
Literally, Tet Nguyen Dan means the first morning of the first day of the new period. Officially, Tet marks the beginning of a new year on the lunar calendar. In reality, it is a friendly, festive, family holiday. Painstaking care is given to starting the year out right, since it is beleived the first day and the first week of the new year will determine the fortunes or misfortunes for the rest of the year. In order to start the new year right and set the best precedent, Vietnamese houses are painted and cleaned. New clothes are purchased for the first day of Tet and old debts should be paid and great care is taken to avoid arguments. Asian families exchange visits. The first visitor to the house on the first morning of Tet is very important. Particular care is taken to arrange in advance to have the visitor be rich, happy, and prestigious.
The holiday is also observed by a family visit to the church or pagoda to pray for good fortune and happiness. A sprig of the yellow blossomed. HOA MAI, is used to decorate the home. Tet officially lasts for seven days and ends with LE KHAI HA ritual during which CAY NEU is taken down.
The New Year does not fall on the same date each year, although it is always in January or February.
The Tet holiday is officially three days but is often celebrated for seven.
It is believed that the course of the few days of Tet will determine the path of the coming year.
People are on their best behavior. People stop their quarreling, children vow to behave, and families make special efforts to gather together.
Prior to the celebrations homes are cleaned and painted. However cleaning during Tet is avoided.
The yellow blossoms of the Hoa Mai decorate the home.
New clothes are purchased and old debts are paid.
Deceased relatives are also remembered during Tet. Families build alters with photographs, flowers, incense, money, and food. People typically visit the gravesites of deceased loved ones.
At the midnight hour of the New Years' Eve Le Tru Tich is held. The spirits of the old year are rushed out and the new spirits are welcomed.
The first person to enter the home after the start of the New Year sets the precedence for the coming year. Many people will arrange to have a child or someone well off enter the home minutes after the start of the New Year .
Food is enjoyed throughout the Tet holiday. One belief holds tht when a watermelon is cut open the redder the flesh the more luck the family will have in the Tet New Year.
In the United States women and girls will often wear the colors of the Vietnamese Flag, red and yellow and men will wear black.

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