The most commonly celebrated festival in Vietnam is Tết (Vietnamese New Year), which was celebrated on January 28, 2017.

Tet-Vietnamese-New-Year-AlterTết, marks the arrival of spring and is generally celebrated on the same day as Chinese New year. The celebration takes place from the first day of the first month of the Vietnamese calendar (around late January or early February) until at least the third day.

Like the Chinese, most Vietnamese begin the holiday by cleaning their homes. The idea is to clear out the old so you can bring in the new. Visiting friends and family is also important during the holiday, as is ancestor worship (cleaning the graves of ancestors and paying respect).

Tet-Vietnamese-New-Year-foodAnother fun and interesting tradition is to give red envelopes containing lucky money to children and elderly people. And Tết would not be complete without the preparation of traditional foods! Some of those foods might include bánh chưng, bánh dày, dried young bamboo soup (canh măng), giò, and sticky rice.

On New Year’s Day people fill the streets trying to make as much noise as possible using firecrackers, drums, bells, gongs, pots and pans, etc. The reason for all the noise is they want to scare away all the evil spirits! I love the thought of this and am dying to spend a Tết in Vietnam to witness the parades of people making noise!

Houses are often decorated with different kinds of flower blossoms – apricot, peach or plum blossoms, marigolds, pansies, chrysanthemums and more. Kumquat or bonsai trees are typically displayed inside the homes alongside beautiful Dong Ho paintings and calligraphy pictures.

Celebrating these important occasions with our adopted children is a fun way to keep them connected to their culture.

As you know, a strong cultural identity helps our children feel secure and builds self-esteem. I am always looking for ways to connect more closely with my adopted child as well as their culture.

If you have an adopted Vietnamese child, you might consider hosting a Tết celebration at your child’s school. You could make traditional decorations with the students, cook traditional foods and most importantly, make some noise to ward off the evil spirits! There is nothing children enjoy more than making loud noise, with permission!

I hope you find ways to incorporate customs and traditions from your child’s culture into your life! If you’d like more ideas or when you are ready to begin planning your child’s Heritage Journey, don’t hesitate to reach out. You can sign up for a 30-minute discovery session with me at

I look forward to connecting with you soon!

Bambi Wineland is the mother of two internationally adopted children, a traveler, the Founder and CEO of Motherland Travel. Motherland Travel designs Heritage Journeys for families with internationally adopted children. The emphasis of these Heritage Journeys is on family bonding, building self-esteem and cultivating pride in a family’s multi-cultural heritage. Read more about her here >>

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