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.