Follow our advice for a fortuitous Lunar New Year
By LeAnn Nguyen
February 12, 2018
Even though the 2018 is already in full swing, there’s another New Year just around the corner: Lunar New Year. Celebrated by many Asian countries including China, Korea, and Vietnam, the Lunar New Year marks the beginning of the Chinese lunisolar calendar, which is based on the phases of the moon. This year, Lunar New Year falls on Friday, February 16, and the Zodiac animal of the upcoming year is the Dog.
Lunar New Year is an ancient tradition with many customs attached. The Vietnamese version, called Tết, is no different and includes a list of things you should not do during its celebration on the first three days of the new year. Here a few things you should not do during Tết to ensure that your Year of the Dog is as fortuitous as possible.
DON’T Make Surprise Visits
The belief is that the first person who enters your house on the first day of Tết will dictate your fortune for the rest of the year. Thus, Vietnamese families usually invite someone of good character or who did well the previous year to be their first guest. Of course, Tết is also a time to visit friends and families; just don’t make it a surprise visit.
DON’T Sweep, Clean, or Reorganize
You are unlikely to find anyone in a Vietnamese household sweeping or cleaning during the three days of Tết because it symbolizes sweeping away good luck for the new year. Instead, cleaning and reorganizing for Tết is done before the actual celebration so that luck can stay in the home. Not cleaning and organizing also lowers the chance of breaking things, which is definitely to be avoided!
DON’T Make Negative Talk
Another way that Vietnamese families start the new year on a good note is by avoiding any talk of negative topics, which include accidents, illnesses, or deaths. Arguments are also considered negative talk so try to avoid conflicts and maintain harmony with your friends and family during Tết. It’s a time to be joyful!
DON’T Leave Debts Unpaid
The start of the Lunar New Year is seen as a time to start anew and forgive past grudges. To make forgiveness easier for anyone to whom you may be indebted, make sure all your debts are paid off by the time Tết rolls around. This doesn’t always have to be about money either! On the other hand, practicing forgiveness is also a great way to start the new year.
DON’T Eat Squid, Duck, or Shrimp
Avoid eating these three animals during Tết because they are seen as bad symbols: black squid ink symbolizes bad luck, ducks symbolize poor intelligence, and shrimps symbolize moving backwards. Thankfully, there are many other delicious foods to eat during the celebration, including bánh chưng (sticky rice with mung bean and/or pork).