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Cây Nêu is one of the trees that might come up when we talk about Tet in Vietnam. In the countryside, preparations come to an end with the raising of this tree - New Year tree.

The New Year tree is a piece of a bamboo five or six yards long is stripped bare excerpt for bunch of leaves. Near the top is suspended a round bamboo frame holding a few little fish and bells made of baked clay that tinkle softly in the wind. Beneath this frame is votive gifts and some thorny branches. At the top of the New Year tree, a small kerosene lamp is lit at night.

The New Year tree marks the way for the ancestor’s spirits who came back from the other world to enjoy New Year with the living. Evil spirits are scared away by the thorns and the tinkling of the bells. Other precautions are also taken: villagers use lime powder to sketch a drawn bow on their courtyards. The arrows of the bow are supposed to frighten away evil spirits.

In the city, after going out to celebrate the turning point of the year, people often buy the new year tree back home and keep it until the holiday is over for the purpose of scaring away the ghost. It is a tradition that is still currently practiced widely on Tet in Vietnam.

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If Kumquat tree and peach blossom are Tet’s tree in Northern Vietnam, apricot blossom is a signature plant in the South during Tet holiday. Since the warm weather of Southern Vietnam in late January and February is very suitable for the tree to flourish, it has been planted widely here, and became a symbol of spring with the vivid yellow color.

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It is not wrong at all to say that Tet is a cleaning and decorating occasion. All of the streets before Tet are beautifully decorated with many banners, colors, flowers, images, etc. At home, people are busy with the cleaning and decorating things to prepare for Tet. Actually, this is not an ordinary act, but rather a tradition that has existed ever since the beginning of Tet in Vietnam. 

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Talking about Tet’s cuisine, it would be a mistake if we do not mention Chung cake. Chung cake is a very well-known dish that could never miss on the altar, and family’s meal of Vietnamese during Tet holiday.

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On Tet holiday, it is common that every family in Northern Vietnam has a branch of peach blossom on the house to welcome New Year. Peach blossom has long played an important part in the cultural life of Vietnamese as a glory symbol of love, joy and happiness for the upcoming year.

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Northwest of Vietnam is the home to many ethnic minorities like Hmong, Thai, Muong, etc.  It is not hard to believe that this remote highland can hold inside a widely diversified cultural background since each ethnic group here has its own customs. When referring to Tet, these practices have made great contributions to create unique Tet that you can only experience on this land.

 

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On Tet in Vietnam, it is not hard to stroll around the streets and see vivid folk paintings hung in the stores. Those brightly colored arts are called Dong Ho painting – a glory symbol of folk culture in Vietnam. A long time ago, Dong Ho painting used to be a precious decoration to celebrateTet holidayVietnamese people bought Dong Ho pictures to hang them on their wall for a year, and then replaced them by new ones when a new year was coming. Though this practice has been less popular recently, Dong Ho paintings still hold an integral part in Vietnamese culture.

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