In Vietnam, Tet ushers in the New Year and is by far the biggest day on the national calendar. Tet rites begin a week before New Year’s Day, and the first three days of the New Year are official holidays, but the event visitors will really want to experience is New Year’s Eve. This is the one night that Tet becomes a boisterous celebration; therest of the time it’s a fairly quiet family affair.
One week before the New Year, Tao Quan – the three Spirits of the Hearth, found in the kitchen of every home – are said to ascend to the heavens to report on the past year’s events to the Jade Emperor. Altars, laden with offerings, are assembled in preparation for the gods’ departure, in the hope of receiving a favourable report and ensuring good luck for the family in the coming year. People visit cemeteries and invite the spirits of dead relatives home for the celebrations. Absent family members return home so the whole family can celebrate Tet together.
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