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Holidays and Celebrations

24 May

January/February

“TET” LUNAR NEW YEAR – “Tet” Nguyen Dan
(Official 4 day Holiday)

For many Vietnamese, Tet is one of the most joyous events of the year. People look towards the future, but they also remember the past. Red envelopes stuffed with cash are doled out to bowing children. The Lunar New Year calendar is based on a combination of lunar and solar movements. The lunar cycle is about 29.5 days. In
order to “catch up” with the solar calendar the Chinese insert an extra month once every few years (seven years out of a 19-year cycle). This is the same as adding an extra day on leap year. This is why, according to the solar calendar, the Lunar New Year falls on a different date each year. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are
celebrated as a family affair, a time of reunion and thanksgiving. No matter where they are or whatever the circumstances, family members find their ways to come back to meet their loved ones, gather for a dinner of traditional foods like bánh chưng (a square cake made of sticky rice stuffed with beans and pork), măng (a soup of boiled bamboo shoots and flied pork) and xôi gấc (orange sticky rice). The celebration is traditionally highlighted with a religious ceremony given in honor of Heaven and Earth, the gods of the household and the family ancestors.

The official holiday is mainly in three days: The First day is for visiting the family on the husband’s side, the second day is for the family of the wife and close friends. Last but not least, the third day is extended to the broader community outside the family by visits to teachers, bosses or a helpful physician. The Vietnamese continue to visit their teachers and physicians although long out of school and long cured of their illness. For three days, one takes extra care not to show anger and not to be rude to people. It is believed the first day and the first week of the New Year will determine the fortunes or misfortunes for the rest of the year. The first visitor to the house on the first morning of Tet is very important. Particular care is taken to arrange in advance to have the visitor be rich, happy, and prestigious.

Trees:While in the north people prefer the Vietnamese Peach blossom, symbols of life and good fortune which people bring into their homes to celebrate the coming of spring during Tet, Yellow Blossom (Hoa Mai) is more commonly used for this ceremony in the South because of the warm weather. Hoa Mai is a small, yellow
flowering plant that is used for decoration during Tet with the meanings of prosperity and well-being for the family. The value of these flowers is determined by the number of petals – the more petals, the more expensive the flower.

Activities: You can visit the Flower Market or the Flower exhibition in the center of HCMC. Please note that during the Tet holiday, the street can be very crowded or even blocked (no car/motorbike allowed). You can only walk there. Some shops are closed for 1-2 days.

Main restaurants will be opened as usual.
Giving a bonus as ½ month or 1 month salary to your personnel is customary. It is also recommended to leave a few days leeway to allow the employee to decide which day to come back to work. This day is very significant and can affect the luck and prosperity of the whole year. Often times fortune tellers areconsulted. If an employee does not have the option of when to return to work, you may end up with
“unlucky’ and ‘unhappy’ personnel.

14 February

VALENTINE’S DAY: LE TINH NHAN (offices open)
Very important celebration day for young couples. They usually give gifts, cards, flower or chocolate as a way to show their love for each other.

8th Day of the 4thMoon

LE PHAT DAN- Buddha’s Birthday (offices opened)
The birthday of the Gautama Buddha traditionally celebrated in East Asia on the eighth day of the fourth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. The date varies from year to year in the Western (Gregorian) calendar.
The birth of the Buddha (Buddha Purnima in India) is often celebrated by Buddhists for an entire month.

8 March

INT’L WOMEN’S DAY – QUOC TE PHU NU (offices opened)
Most families go out celebrate with their mothers and loving ones to lunch and dinner together. They usually give flowers and cards to the women.

22 March 5th Day of the 3rd Lunar month:

HOLIDAY OF THE DEAD – TET THANH MINH
(offices opened)
Thanh Minh is celebrated on the first day of the third lunar month; it is a day of ancestor worship. On Thanh Minh day, the whole family visits the cemetery to groom the graves of diseased loved ones, burn incense and talk with the dead.
This ceremony usually takes place in the morning. The afternoon is reserved for worships at home where food is send to late family members celebrating TET.

Lunar 10th of March

EMPEROR – FOUNDER HUNG VUONG’S DAY: GIO TO VUA HUNG

(offices opened)
It becomes a national day since 2000. The Vietnamese nation was founded by Emperor Hung Vuong nearly 50 centuries ago. The dynasty, with 18 kings, lasted for some 3000 years and led Vietnam to development and progress in peace.

SaigonStay – According to Saigonvan

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