Tet, Vietnamese New Year Is Here
One of the biggest people migrations in the world celebrates the human spirit these days, Chinese New Year. This multi day affair has a wave of humanity criss crossing Asia to get “home” for the celebrations. In Vietnam, the biggest festival of the year, Tet or Vietnamese New Year, is centered around community, family, friends, sharing, decorating, offerings, even house cleaning. Cleaning is not exactly a lighthearted pleasure but a spotless house is a necessary part of the Vietnamese New Year ritual, just before the callers come. Out with the old, including the dirt. In with the new, balloons, festive food, flowers and gifts.
Just head to any Vietnamese airport in the days surrounding (and mainly preceding) the Chinese New Year holidays. When you can not enter the airport brimming with travellers, you will realize that this is a considerable deal. A really big frantic deal, as you hope to get somewhere near the check-in before the plane leaves with festive holiday seekers.
First of all, Chinese New Year is not a 24 hour affair (including the hangover recovery period) as is the custom in western culture. Party it up and then off to work in the west. Vietnamese New Year is official three days long but usually slides into a week or more. Now that is a holiday.
For more on Chinese New Year observance, see: