Hoa Mai, the flower of Vietnamese new years

Children probably do not like Vietnamese new years. It is during this time that no fighting or crying should take place. This is because the Vietnamese people believe that your entire next year's luck depends on what you do the day of new years. I guess that means that if you cry, you will have a sad year. Vietnamese are very cautious as to what happens in their families on new years.
Vietnamese new years are celebrated for a week. Similar to the Chinese zodiac, the Vietnamese believe that an animal is symbolic for the year. The Celebration, called “Tet” begins on the Lunar New Year and is the most widely celebrated of all the Vietnamese holidays. Vietnamese new years involve much work for their people. Painting and cleaning of homes and new clothes and shoes are made during this time so that everything is clean and new and ready to usher in the Vietnamese new years. This is also a time when the Vietnamese people make sure that any outstanding issue with their neighbors or friends, like money and family issues are paid back and resolved lest they follow you into a new year.

Paying respects to a kitchen god, family members exchange gifts and visit local temples to pray for good fortune and health in the coming Vietnamese new years. The Hoa Mai, a yellow blossom representing spring is used as decoration on all the homes and new years trees c names Cay Neu are placed in front of each home. This is for wrapping in red to scare off any evil spirits that might attach themselves to your home or family. After the seven day long celebration, the Cay Neu is removed from the front of the home and the Vietnamese new years celebrations are over.

The Vietnamese new year 2006 was the year of the Dog and celebrated with much festivities in Asian cultures. Since the Vietnamese believe that new years sets the tone for the remainder of the year, all sweeping is prohibited during the festival. This is because the sweeping away of good luck is a bad omen. Sticky cakes (rice) are prepared before the last three days of the celebration. During these days, no cooking is to be done, so all the food that they eat must be made ready early. Candied fruits and other foods are also prepared during this time.

Most schools and businesses are closed during these last three days. Buying fruits with names that remind the Vietnamese of good fortunes are purchased in town during the Tet festivals and by late evening, everyone is expected to be at home waiting the magical hour of midnight. No one dare fall asleep during this time as the fear of loosing a year of life is very real in this culture. Firecracekers are put off in the front of homes to ward off the evil spirits and joss sticks are lit as offerings of food, water and flowers are made. After the explosion of firecrackers, all go to bed and rise the next morning. Children vowing to do good receive a red envelope of money. Then off to the visiting.

The first guest at your door during the day after a Vietnamese new year is the most important. Again, keeping in mind this sets the tone for the year, it is usually arranged that the first visitor be rich, healthy and prosperous. These visits are very serious and businessmen usually use this opportunity to be generous, hoping for great business in the coming year. Each subsequent visitor is less and less important, but it is crucial in this culture for all the visitors to be “good” visitors. This sets the stage for a healthy, rich and prosperous Vietnamese new year.
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