Vietnamese TET Superstitions
Tet has great cultural significance to the Vietnamese community, and with it comes a myriad of traditions and superstitions. One wrong step and you're asking for bad fortune! With our handy hints and video found HERE, find out the do's and do not's of bringing good fortune into your home at the Lunar New Year time and for the rest of the year!
Breaking dishes may be perceived as an accident or simply due to one’s slippery hands however, during Tết it is more than that. Breaking plates, bowls or other goods symbolises potential cuts towards one's family or social ties. It is during this season that a person’s caution level increases to prevent unnecessary breakage.
We all know that red is considered a lucky colour since demons and evil spirits are afraid of this colour so during Tết, red outfits are commonly worn. What colour shouldn’t be worn though? The answer to that is black and white. These two colours are often associated with death and mourning in relation to funerals in Vietnam. Therefore, bright and colourful clothing (such as reds and yellow) is highly recommended.
Red pockets are given from a grandparent and adult to a child to wish them a happy new year and for good fortune to come in the upcoming year. As adults already have an income, the money earned is used to give to a child through a red pocket. In the past, married individuals were considered more successful than those who were single, therefore married adults do not receive red pockets.
First visitor / Xông nhà
The first visitor to a house will ultimately determine the household’s fortune for the year. Someone of good personality and respect would be invited to the house first. Avoid unexpected visitation to a person’s house unless the host themself has invited you.
Before Tết, families clean their houses to prepare for the new year. Then as Tết commences, for the first 3 days there is no cleaning or trash emptying to be done. This is to prevent sweeping away one’s luck and fortune. This is why such a thorough clean around the house is performed prior to Tết.
Water out of the house
As the Tết phrase goes, tiền vô như nước (money flows in like water), the flow of water is a symbolism of somebody’s ability to earn money. This superstition suggests that water leaving someone’s house will eventually lead to their wealth being taken away. Thus, to avoid your family or friend’s financial downfall, avoid taking water out of their house.