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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Vietnam series at VietnamesePod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Vietnamese holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 3- Tet Holiday or in Vietnamese, Tết m lịch
The Lunar New Year is the most important holiday of the year for Vietnamese people. On the, lunar calendar, or m lịch, it takes place from December 28 to January 3. This usually falls somewhere around late January or early February on the solar calendar. If it happens to fall before or after a weekend, the total number of days off for this holiday may be from seven to ten, giving a long, relaxing break to everyone in Vietnam.
In this lesson, we will discuss how Vietnamese people celebrate the Tet holiday.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
What special foods do Vietnamese people eat on the Tet Holiday?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
On the days right before Tet, families all over Vietnam are busy with shopping and preparing for the occasion. They often organize and remodel their houses so that they are neat and warm. They also decorate their living rooms with flowers such as apricots, cherries, or cranberry blossoms. In Vietnamese, apricot blossoms are called hoa mai, and cherry blossoms are called hoa đào.
Lunar New Year’s Eve is also a popular time for family reunions. Families often prepare two trays of food to worship their ancestors and the Earth gods at the stroke of midnight. This kind of tradition is referred to as cúng Giao thừa.
Right at the turn of the new year, fireworks or pháo hoa, are set off from city centers, and people all over the city rush to the top of high buildings to watch them. Those who live far from the center often go and reserve spots to watch the event several hours before the fireworks begin, or may simply just watch fireworks live on TV. After the fireworks end, many people pick young leaves at temples, or in Vietnamese chùa, as they believe these leaves bring good luck to their houses. This custom is called "picking buds for luck,” or hái lộc.
On the first day of the Tet Holiday, Vietnamese people have a custom of wishing everyone a Happy New Year. Young people will wish happy new year to their grandparents and parents, and adults often give money to children, wrapped in red envelopes. On the envelopes, you can find text saying "Hay ăn, chóng lớn, vâng lời cha mẹ” which literally means “Eat well, grow fast and obey parents.” On New Year’s day, People greet each other by saying Chúc mừng năm mới!, meaning “Happy New Year” or "Chúc vạn sự như ý!" meaning “Wish you everything to your liking”.
Many Vietnamese people also believe that the first person to step into their house on the first day of the Lunar New Year will be the one who brings either good or bad luck for the year.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question!
On the Tet holiday, what special foods do Vietnamese people often eat?
Among the many New Year dishes, sticky rice cakes and steamed Gac rice are two dishes specially served on Tet Holiday. Also, boiled chicken, lean pork paste and fried rolls are presented on special trays for the occasion.
So listeners, how was this lesson? Did you learn something interesting?
Does your country celebrate New year’s day on the Lunar calendar?
Please leave a comment telling us at VietnamesePod101.com, and we’ll see you next time!