Exploring the Special of "Tet Nguyen Tieu" in Vietnam - Lantern Festival 2024

Exploring the Special of

Step into a world of luminous wonder and cultural splendor as Vietnam celebrates Lantern festival, the enchanting Lantern Festival! Join us for an unforgettable journey through the dazzling lights, rich traditions, and heartwarming customs of this cherished Vietnamese holiday.

Let's Explore the special of Vietnam Lantern Festival 2024

What day is the Lantern Festival?

The lantern seller on Lantern festival
Photo by: angiolomanetti

Lantern festival is a traditional Vietnamese holiday, taking place on the 15th day of the first lunar month each year. The full moon day is often called the full moon day of January or the full moon day of Tieu. Lantern festival is also known as the end of the Lunar New Year holiday series. Is a holiday originating from China, according to Dr. Dinh Duc Tien, Department of History, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Lantern festival is better known through ancient legends from China and has many variations.

Origin and meaning of Lantern festival

Origin of Lantern festival

Lantern festival originated from the Western Han Dynasty, China, with a solemn lantern procession ceremony. The story begins when the palace maids get homesick every spring and are locked in the royal palace under the strict guard of the king. To help the palace maids meet their relatives, Dong Phuong Soc - the favorite god of Emperor Han Vu - came up with a plan to trick the Fire God by hanging lanterns all over the yard to pretend to be on fire.

Lantern Festival in Hoi An on the first full moon of the Lunar New Year

Photo by: drbenreyes


Emperor Han Wu accepted this plan, and since then, every year on the full moon day of January, the whole country hangs lanterns to remember the above event and meet their relatives. Although originating from China, the Lunar New Year in Vietnam has undergone many variations and changes until today.

Meaning of Lantern festival

The act of releasing lantern to pray for good luck and peace

Photo: _shooting_ star150

Tet Nguyen Tieu means the first full moon night of the new year. In particular, "Nguyen" carries the first meaning, "Tieu" means night. In addition, Tet Nguyen Tieu is also called Tet Thuong Nguyen, to distinguish it from two other major full moon occasions: Tet Trung Nguyen (Full moon in July) and Tet Ha Nguyen (Full moon in October).

The full moon day of January is also an important holiday for Buddhism, famous for the saying "Worshiping all year round is not as good as the full moon day of January" or "worshiping Buddha all year round is not equal to the full moon day of January".

On this day, families will go to the temple together, set out offerings to pay respect to Buddha and their ancestors, and at the same time, pray for luck and blessings.

Customs on Lantern festival

Many people in Bai Dinh pagoda on Lantern festival

Photo: The Most Venerable Thich Minh Quang


Releasing Lanterns into the Night Sky

One of the most iconic customs of the Lantern Festival is the releasing of colorful paper lanterns into the darkness of the night. This act symbolizes the letting go of the past year's troubles and worries, while also ushering in new beginnings and hopes for the future. As each lantern takes flight, carrying with it the wishes of those who release it, the night sky is transformed into a breathtaking display of flickering lights and shimmering colors.

Making Offerings at Temples and Pagodas

During the Lantern Festival, temples and pagodas across Vietnam are adorned with offerings of fruit, flowers, and burning incense. Families visit these sacred sites to pay respects to their ancestors, seeking blessings of health, prosperity, and happiness for the coming year. The act of making offerings is a deeply spiritual and symbolic gesture, representing gratitude for the past and reverence for the future.

Dragon Dances and Cultural Performances

The Lantern Festival comes alive with vibrant dragon dances, traditional music performances, and colorful parades that wind through the streets. The rhythmic beats of drums and cymbals accompany the graceful movements of the dragon, believed to bring good luck and fortune. These captivating performances are a testament to Vietnam's rich cultural heritage and serve to entertain and delight festival-goers of all ages.

What should you eat during the Lantern festival?

Floating rice cake is one of the most delicious and unique dishes on Lantern Festival

Photo: Do Thu Ngoc

On the full moon day of the first lunar month, Buddhists or those who worship Buddha often fast to cultivate their minds. At the same time, people also enjoy sweet dishes such as sweet soup, banh u, and sticky rice with gac during the Lunar New Year, hoping that they will be blessed and happy in the new year.

Full moon offering tray in January

Ancestral tray of the family on Lantern festival

Photo by: Luong Thu Trang

During the Lunar New Year, Vietnamese families often clean the altar and prepare two feasts: one vegetarian tray to worship Buddha and one tray to worship ancestors.

The vegetarian offering tray to Buddha is solemnly prepared with colorful vegetarian dishes, symbolizing the five elements. These can be sweet soup, gac sticky rice, bean dishes, fresh flowers, fruits, soups, stir-fried vegetables and many other dishes.

The offerings to ancestors can be vegetarian or salty. Savory dishes often include bamboo shoot stew, ball bowls, boiled chicken or pork, pork sausage, fried pork rolls and many other dishes.

Tet Nguyen Tieu Festival in Ho Chi Minh City

Bustling images of the Lantern Festival on Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street, District 5

Photo by: Anh Tu-Ngoc Anh

In District 5, Ho Chi Minh City, the Chinese community often organizes unique and diverse festivals at Assembly Halls and in homes on Lunar New Year. These activities include ceremonies, parades, traditional opera performances, lion and dragon dances, charades, calligraphy, painting, as well as music performances...

With each step, you feel a sense of connection to the rich traditions and culture of Vietnam. The Lantern Festival is more than just a celebration—it is a time to come together with loved ones, to honor the past, and to welcome the future with open arms.

Above are the shares surrounding the topic of Lunar New Year, also widely known as the full moon day of the first lunar month. Hopefully this article will provide more useful information for you in life. 

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