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Tet 2017

Custom of the five‑fruit tray

One theory says that the five fruits are symbolic of the five basic elements of oriental philosophy - metal, wood, water, fire and soil. Other theories regard the tray as symbolic of the fruits of a family's hard work throughout the past year, which are consecrated to heaven and earth and their ancestors as sign of respect and gratitude.

Custom of the five‑fruit tray 1

A five-fruit tray, though varying from one region to another due to differences in climate and fruit crops, light up altars with their ample colours. In northern areas, five-fruit trays ornamented with pomelos, peaches, kumquats, bananas and persimmons are relatively smaller than those in southern areas with pairs of watermelons, coconuts, papayas, custard apples, mangos, and figs. 

Custom of the five‑fruit tray 2

Improvements in people's living conditions in recent years have led to a greater sophistication in choosing fruits for the altar for the Tet holiday. A tray may contain more expensive, rarer fruits like grapes and pears, but all in all it is still a five-fruit tray, a nice offering of the Vietnamese people to their ancestors. It not only displays a life-long tradition but also sends a message of hope for happiness, good luck and prosperity for the new year.

Custom of the five‑fruit tray 3

The custom of displaying the five‑fruit tray as votive offerings at the holy place of the house has been reflected in many popular legends and tales. It has originated from ancient popular beliefs observed from one generation to another in their worship towards their forefathers. To this day, the Vietnamese still observe a long‑standing custom of placing the first ripe fruits harvested from the home garden on the altar and burning incense sticks in memory of their ancestors.
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Item Reviewed: Custom of the five‑fruit tray Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Nga Đỗ
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