Foreigners and Vietnam’s traditional Tet holiday

Nga Do
For foreigners living and working in the country, the traditional Lunar New Year is special because through the holiday they can see different aspects of Vietnam ranging from cuisine to behavior and characteristic national festivals. Each of them has a different way to welcome the Vietnamese Tet. More and more foreigners have come to Vietnam to live and do business in recent years in part because of its international integration and the opening of its markets.

Many of them have decided to settle down in Vietnam because they’ve found local partners. It’s true that these foreigners have become familiar with Tet customs but they admit that each Tet leaves new impressions on them, making them better understand Vietnam According to many foreigners, family get-togethers are the most outstanding characteristics of Vietnamese Tet. It’s the time for everyone to visit each other, exchange greetings, and enjoy meals.

Jean-Noel Poirier, the French Ambassador to Vietnam, shared his feeling of Tet, “during the 10 days of Tet, 91 million Vietnamese people seem to share the same thoughts and emotions. They all want to return to their families. I realize that on the first day of the Lunar New Year, nobody goes out. Everyone stays at home with their relatives to strengthen the relationship between family members. I find this tradition interesting and representing the solidarity of the Vietnamese nation.”

Jean-Noel Poirier noted that he likes Hanoi’s deserted streets on Tet’s first day because the daily busy atmosphere temporarily disappears and is replaced by a fresh and relaxing feeling. “I still remember my first Tet, which coincided with my first year when I took the office as ambassador. As my family had remained in France, I decided to visit a farmer household in a small village. I stayed with them for two or three days and experienced daily activities with them. It was very interesting. The practical experiences inspired a lot of new feelings in me,” the ambassador said of a recent Tet.

Charge d’affaires of the Romanian Embassy in Vietnam, Valeriu Arteni, who has been in Vietnam for a long time, finds an interest in visiting spring flower fairs, playing folk games, and trying Tet dishes.  When Tet comes around, Valeriu always tells his wife to prepare a pair of Chung cakes, some ginger jam along with other kinds of food to invite their friends. As a food-lover, Valeriu said the traditional Tet dishes of Vietnam have really won his heart!

Although modern society with its busy life has partly simplified Vietnam’s traditional Tet, Lunar New Year will still be able to be appreciated with its typical characteristics, according to foreigners.

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