Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Symbols of Vietnam Tet, Lunar New Year

Vietnam Tet Lunar New Year (Tet Nguyen Dan) starts on the first day of the first lunar month and is the first season of a year, Spring. The New Year is a fete of the family, and the time for family members to gather at home to enjoy warm atmosphere. This custom has become sacred and secular and, therefore, no matter where they are or whatever the circumstances, family members find ways to come back to meet their loved ones.

Vietnam Tet 2012 will begin from Jan 23, 2011.

Every Vietnamese has their own way celebrating the New Year, but they share the same symbol of Tet in their mind, which distinct Vietnamese cultural characteristics. The symbol is an indispensable part of Vietnamese traditional Tet, and brings the Tet flavour to every family when the day is coming. They include Banh Chung (Chung cake), Hoa Dao (Peach Blossoms), Hoa Mai (Apricot), Cay Quat (Kumquat Tree), Mam Ngu Qua (Five-fruit-tray), Cay Neu (Neu Tree), Phao (Fire Crackers), Cau Doi (Cau Doi (Parallels), and Rut Que (Praying)

Chung Cake

Symbols of Tet
As the legend goes, the Chung cake came into being under King Hung, the national founder, 3,000 4,000 years ago. Prince Lang Lieu, one of the sons of King Hung, made round and square cakes: the round Banh Day symbolizing the sky, and the square Banh Chung symbolic of the earth (under the ancient Viet's perception) and offered them to his Father on the occasion of Spring to show his respect. Ever since the Banh Chung has been a "must" during the Tet holidays. The Banh Chung is a square cake, wrapped in banana leaves and tied with laces of flexible bamboo slivers. It is a very rich food for the interior contains a filling of bean paste to which may be added small bits of pork meat, both fat and lean. This filling, which is amply seasoned, is pressed between layers of glutinous rice. Its square shape is considered a symbol of the thankfulness of the Vietnamese people for the great abundance of the Earth, which has supplied them with nutritious food throughout the four seasons of the year.

Peach Blossoms

Symbols of Tet
According to Vietnamese legend, once upon a time, in the East of the Soc Son Mountain, North Vietnam, existed a gigantic peach tree. The tree was so huge that its shadow extended through out a large area of land. Up on the tree, lived two powerful deities, Tra and Uat Luy. They protected the people of the land in the surrounding areas from the devils. The devils were so afraid of these two deities that even the sight of the peach tree haunted them.

However, at the end of every lunar year, these two deities had to fly back to heaven for an annual meeting with the Jade Emperor. During this time, the devils took advantage of this opportunity to harass the peaceful inhabitants. To fight the battle against these devils, people came up with the ideas of display a branch of the
Symbols of Tet
Peach tree in the house to scare away the devils. Since then it becomes a custom of the North Vietnamese to have a branch of a Peach tree during Tet season to protect themselves against the Satan soldiers. Those who don't have Peach tree can draw the figures of the two deities, Tra and Uat Luy, on red paper, and display them in front of the house.


While Peach tree is preferred in the North, Hoa Mai is more commonly used for this ceremony in the South because of the warm weather. Apricot is a small, yellow flowering plant that is used for decoration during Tet with the meanings of prosperity and well-being for the family. The value of these flowers is determined by the number of petals - the more petals, the more expensive the flower.

Kumquat Trees

Symbols of Tet
Kumquat trees about two or three feet tall are carefully selected and prominently displayed during Tet. To carefully choose a kumquat bush, the buyer must pay attention to the symmetrical shape, to the leaves and to the color and shape of the fruit. The bushes have been precisely pruned to display ripe deep orange fruits with smooth clear thin skin shining like little suns or gold coins on the first day of the lunar new year. Other fruits must still be green to ripen later. This represents the wish that wealth will come to you now and in the future. The leaves must be thick and dark green with some light green sprouts. The fruits represent the grandparents, the flowers represent parents, the buds represent children and the light green leaves represent grandchildren. The tree thus symbolizes many generations. Guests will caress the light green leaves about to sprout and compliment the discerning host who chose so carefully.

The plate of five fruits

Symbols of Tet
The five-fruit tray on the ancestral altar during the Tet holiday symbolizes the admiration and gratitude of the Vietnamese to Heaven and Earth and their ancestors, and demonstrates their aspiration for a life of plenty. As one theory goes, the five fruits are symbolic of the five basic elements of oriental philosophy: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. Some people believe that the five fruits are symbols of the five fingers of a man's hand that is used to produce physical wealth for his own use and to make offerings to his ancestors. However, in a simpler way, the five fruits represent the quintessence that Heaven and Earth bless humans. This is one of the general perceptions of life of the Vietnamese, which is "When taking fruit, you should think of the grower". Today, the tray may contain five or more fruits, in the form of a pyramid like before or in an different shape.

Neu Tree

On the days before Tet, people plant an extremely tall bamboo tree in front of their homes. Bows, arrows, bells and gongs are hung on the treetop with the hope that all the bad luck of the past year will be chased away and everyone will have a happy New Year. The Neu tree has Taoist origins and holds talismanic objects that clang in the breeze to attract good spirits and repel evil ones. On the very top, they frequently place a paper symbol of yin and yang, the two principal forces of the universe. Sometimes a colorful paper carp flag will fly from the top. The carp, or a horse, is the vehicle on which the Kitchen God travels to make his report. This tree is more common in the countryside rather than in the city. It is ceremonially removed after the seventh day of Tet.

Fire Crackers

The most exciting element in the celebration of Tet is the lighting of fire crackers. These explosions are believed to drive off ghosts and evil spirits and leave good luck in their place. As thousands of households simultaneously partake in this fantastic part of Tet, the level of volume and excitement rises to a fury. This level of emotion is the most memorable part of Tet and also the part, which makes it such a marvellous experience. However, firecrackers are no longer used as the government banned them in 1995.


Composing, challenging and displaying parallels represents an elegant cultural activity of the Vietnamese people. On the occasion of Tet, parallels are written on red paper and hung on both sides of the gate, the pillars or the ancestral altar. Each pair of parallels has an equal number of words with contrasting or corresponding meanings and lines of verses. They show a keen intelligence, perception of nature and social life, uphold morality and a yearning for the well-being of all people. The red is symbolic of auspicious and powerful vitality, according to popular belief. Mingling with the green of the Chung cake, the pink of the peach blooms, the yellow of the apricot, and the red of the parallels is sure to make the Spring warmer and cosier.


Symbols of Tet
After Giao Thua, the last day of the lunar calendar year, many Buddhists go to their favorite pagoda to pray for a good year and to get a fortune reading for the whole year. Each person will get a chance to shake the tube that contains reading sticks, until one stick falls out of the tube. In the case that many sticks drop out of the tube, that person will have to repeat the process. Afterwards, usually the monks will translate the meanings of the reading.

Vietnam Tet 2012 will begin from Jan 23, 2011.

Reprinted from VOV News

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Xmas 2011 is coming. Soon New Year too!

Xmas 2011 is coming around here. What you guys prepare for this?

Let’s be honest, nobody wants to get a dud gift for their family member or loved one – nor to they want to receive a dud when there are tons of GREAT 2011 Xmas Gifts available out there. We’re here to share the very best tips that we’ve found that include discounts, sales and huge price cuts in the best Holiday Gifts for 2011.

Before we start on you though, let’s talk about me. I’m 27, don’t love my job, but do enjoy making money on the side via websites like this. I’ve not yet added any money makers to this domain, but probably will closer to December 25, 2011, just to make back my huge $11 investment. While this has become a legitimate part time job, what I really want for xmas 2011 is for it to become my full time gig. You can start my 2012 off right by offering me an internet marketing job, or buying up some of my amazing domain names I have for sale.

Ok, back to you. Not that I care all that much. Xmas 2011 sales have already proven that this Christmas will be a profitable one for many major retailers, while making kids everywhere a bit happier than the recent, recession holiday’s of the past couple years. It is simply more of the same however – with Video Games and Consoles leading the way in Boy Gifts, and Dolls coming as gifts for many girls. Jewelry for mom, and electronics or tools for dad always do the trick.

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Wednesday, 18 May 2011

08 straight days of holiday at TET Lunar New Year

Based on a proposal from MOLISA, the Prime Minister approved an (optional) alternative holiday schedule for TET Lunar New Year and Hung Kings Fesitival in 2011.

1. TET Lunar New Year 2011: work on Sat, Sun (29, 30 Jan 2011, or 26, 27/12 lunar calendar), and holiday on Mon (31 Jan 2011, 28/12 lunar calendar) and Tue (01 Feb 2011, or 29/12 lunar calendar), in addition to holidays on Wed, Feb 2 – Mon, Feb 7.

2. Hung Kings Festival (10/3 lunar calendar) 2011: work on Sat (09 Apr 2011, which is 07/4 lunar calendar) and holiday on Mon, (11 Apr 2011, i.e., 09/4 lunar calendar), in addition to holiday on Tue, Apr 12.


Tuesday, 18 January 2011

VnExpress mở cuộc thi kiều bào viết về Tết

Bắt đầu từ hôm nay, độc giả là kiều bào ở các nước khắp thế giới có thể gửi bài viết chia sẻ cảm xúc về Tết Việt để nhận giải thưởng là một cặp vé máy bay khứ hồi về Việt Nam.

Đốt pháo mùng 1 Tết tại thương xá của người Việt ở Washington DC. Ảnh: Hoàng Quốc Hùng.
Đốt pháo mùng 1 Tết tại thương xá của người Việt ở Washington DC. Ảnh: Hoàng Quốc Hùng.

Nhân dịp Tết Tân Mão sắp tới, VnExpress cùng Hãng hàng không quốc gia Vietnam Airlines tổ chức cuộc thi viết mang tên "Xuân quê hương". Các bài dự thi có thể dưới dạng bài viết, thơ hoặc ảnh với nội dung chia sẻ cảm xúc Tết quê hương, mô tả và cảm nhận Tết Việt ở nước ngoài.

Cuộc thi sẽ diễn ra từ ngày 17/1 tới 12/2. Đối tượng dự thi là người Việt đang sinh sống, làm việc và học tập ở nước ngoài.

Giải nhất là một cặp vé khứ hồi về Việt Nam từ một quốc gia châu Á hoặc châu Âu do Vietnam Airlines tài trợ; giải nhì là một cặp vé khứ hồi các điểm đến trong nước. Người trúng thưởng có thể cho, tặng vé cho người thân.

Người dự thi gửi kèm theo bài viết thông tin gồm tên, địa chỉ, số hộ chiếu hoặc chứng minh thư. Thông tin cá nhân của độc giả được VnExpress và nhà tài trợ Vietnam Airlines bảo mật.

Xem chi tiết thể lệ cuộc thi Xuan que huong.

Độc giả có thể bắt đầu gửi bài dự thi tại đây. Bài dự thi có tiêu đề: Dự thi Xuân quê hương.


Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Hire a girlfriend from escort services in Vietnam

Lonely this new year & Tet holidays? Several new services are now available in Vietnam, including escorts.

Though first offered a year ago by Vinamost, a Hanoi company, it is only attaining popularity now.

The company provides an employee to play the role of a boyfriend or girlfriend but there are strict do’s and dont’s -- no kissing, no rude words, and definitely no hanky-panky.

However, holding hands like lovers is acceptable.

Pham Xuan Huy, deputy director of Vinamost, said several customers and employees have become sweethearts for real after using the escort service.

It costs VND800,000 (US$40) for three hours on ordinary days or more on Christmas and New Year depending on the cases.

“During Christmas this year, we had more than 30 customers,” Huy said.

Vinamost manages 450 employees, including 300 women, mostly college or university students who must meet strict requirements about height (1.6-1.9 meters) and level of education so as to be able to communicate clearly and speak a foreign language fluently if and when the circumstances demand.

Huy says the company guarantees the safety for both the customer and the employee.

Besides strict terms of compliance the customer has to abide by in the contract, Vinamost also secretly sends security guards to protect its employees, especially women, during a rendezvous.


Students working part time as 'girlfriends'

Buying food, cooking

If you need something more practical than just intellectual or emotional companionship, other services, such as buying grocery and cooking meals for your family, are also available for hire.

For busy working women, especially, the availability of domestic help by the hour is a godsend.

Thanh Hoa, who works for a real estate company in Hanoi from 8 am to 6 pm daily, had no time to even make food for her family.

"Sometimes my husband and I quarreled because of the delay in making food and the quality,” she said.

Then she found Thuan to cook for her. She knew about her through one of her friends and has been using her for nearly two years.

Initially, she was worried about the service quality but that soon changed to delight and Thuan now goes to the market to buy grocery and foodstuffs and cooks for her family.

She gets paid VND20,000 (US$1) a day -- and VND600,000 a month -- for an hour’s work. “This extra income together with my monthly salary [from another family] helps me cover my living costs here and my family’s back home,” she said.

Phuong, a university student, said her life has improved in the last two years after she started providing the service in Cau Giay District, Hanoi.

She gets VND40,000 and dinner for cooking for a family of four and cleaning the house from 5pm to 8 pm.

She gets an additional VND10,000-VND20,000 if there are guests.
She sometimes works for three families, cooking lunch for one and dinner for the others, getting VND15,000 and hour on average.

Vietnam Tet - Source: Tuoitrenews.

Monday, 27 December 2010

HCMC to host new year 2011 festival

Ho Chi Minh City Youth’s Cultural House has mapped out numerous cultural activities to welcome in the New Year from December 24 to 31, according to the head of the Event Planning Service Department of the Youth’s Cultural House, Nguyen Hong Phuc.

On the streets, the air of Christmas is boisterous.

The weeklong festival, which is called “Welcome New Year 2011”, will bring free and interesting programs for the youth. These will include fashion and music performances, singing contest, exciting games and other activities.

On December 24, it will be the “Christmas Gala 2010” and the “Dance of Hair-Spring fashion” will be on December 31. These will be the main highlights of the festival.

Ho Chi Minh City Youth’s Cultural House received more than 30,000 visitors in the “Welcome New Year 2010” festival.

Vietnam Daily News - Source: DTinews

Vietnam Tet holidays with Saigontourist

You will be amazed at a variety of events and services included in our tours around Ho Chi Minh City and to the ancient town of My Tho in nearby Tien Giang Province.

Tet with Saigonese

(US$30/Pax, daily departure from February 3 to 6, 2011)

This tour will offer a chance to indulge in the festive atmosphere of Saigon during Tet holidays.

Foreign tourists will be impressed by colors and sounds at the flower fairs in Tao Dan Cultural Park.

They will also join local people to pray for luck and happiness at Xa Loi Pagoda (or Giac Lam Pagoda, Lang Ong Temple) and Thien Hau Temple, then take a cyclo (three-wheeled vehicle) ride around Chinatown with different merry activities such as lion dance, traditional games, among others.

Besides, they will share the holiday mood with Saigonese in their houses and be greeted with a popular wish Chuc mung nam moi (Happy New Year), offered some traditional dishes and invited to join several games with family members.

Tet in the Mekong Delta

(US$45/Pax, daily departure from January 26 to February 2, 2011)

Enjoy a full day excursion to My Tho, a peaceful town on the bank of the Mekong River 75km south of Saigon.

My Tho is a popular tourist destination in the Mekong Delta where you can explore Thoi Son Islet, Vinh Trang Pagoda and locals’ daily life.

Especially on the New Year occasion, this tour will take you to a fresh corner of My Tho which opens during the Tet season.

The tour comprises a stroll at the season’s flower fair, a cruise on the Mekong River, a visit to the watermelon market, a stop at a local home living on floriculture, a traditional lunch with family members and a cooking practice session of banh tet, a Vietnamese country cake made of sticky rice and green peas.

Contact Saigontourist Travel Service Company for further information:

45 Le Thanh Ton Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Tel: (84-8) 38 279 279 - Email: info@saigontourist.net