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As the Lunar New Year approaches, the vibrant and culturally rich celebrations of Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, come to life. Tet holds a special place in the hearts of the Vietnamese people, marking a time of renewal, reflection, and family gatherings. 

This festive occasion is not just about bidding farewell to the old and welcoming the new but is deeply rooted in traditions that have been passed down through generations. 

In this blog post, we will explore the significance of Tet, delve into the unique ways it is celebrated, and provide 10 creative ideas for workplaces to partake in the joyous festivities.

What is Tet?

Tet, short for Tet Nguyen Dan, is the most significant and widely celebrated festival in Vietnam. Translated as "Feast of the First Morning," Tet is based on the lunar calendar and typically falls between late January and mid-February. The exact date varies each year, aligning with the first day of the lunar calendar's first month.

The origins of Tet can be traced back thousands of years, with its roots embedded in both ancient agricultural practices and profound spiritual beliefs. Historically, Tet marked the arrival of spring, symbolizing the end of winter hardships and the onset of a prosperous growing season. Over time, the celebration evolved to incorporate a blend of cultural, religious, and familial traditions.

Tet is more than just a New Year's celebration; it is a time of reverence for ancestors, gratitude for blessings received, and a collective aspiration for good fortune in the coming year. Families meticulously clean their homes to sweep away the old and make way for the new, preparing traditional foods and participating in ceremonies to honor their ancestors.

How is Tet Celebrated?

Tet celebrations are characterized by a myriad of customs and rituals, each contributing to the festival's unique charm. Here are some key aspects of how Tet is celebrated in Vietnam:

  1. Lunar New Year's Eve (Giao Thua): The night before Tet is a time for family reunions and feasting. Families gather for a festive meal, offering traditional dishes like banh chung (a square sticky rice cake), gio lua (Vietnamese pork sausage), and pickled vegetables. The dinner table is adorned with colorful decorations, and families pay homage to their ancestors by lighting incense and making offerings at home altars.
  2. First day of Tet: On the first day of Tet, people traditionally wear new clothes to symbolize a fresh start. Visiting friends and relatives is a common practice, and the first person to enter a home after midnight is believed to bring either good or bad luck for the household.
  3. Tet parades and festivals: Throughout Vietnam, vibrant parades and festivals take place during Tet. These events showcase traditional music, dance, and elaborate dragon and lion dances. Fireworks light up the night sky, adding to the festive atmosphere.
  4. Giving and receiving Li Xi (Lucky Money): One of the most cherished Tet traditions involves the exchange of red envelopes, known as li xi. Elders give these envelopes, containing money, to younger family members and friends as a symbol of good luck and prosperity for the coming year.
  5. Flower markets: Tet flower markets are a visual delight, with streets adorned with colorful blossoms, peach and kumquat trees, and other decorative plants. The vibrant displays symbolize new beginnings and are believed to bring good fortune.
  6. Traditional games and entertainment: Families engage in various traditional games and entertainment during Tet, such as bai choi (a form of folk singing), square dancing, and playing board games. These activities contribute to the festive and communal spirit of the celebration.

Vietnamese New Year: 10 Ideas for the workplace to celebrate Tet

As workplaces increasingly recognize the importance of fostering a diverse and inclusive environment, acknowledging and celebrating cultural festivals like Tet becomes a meaningful endeavor. Here are 10 creative ideas for workplaces to embrace the spirit of Tet:

1. Decorate the office

Transform the workplace into a festive haven by decorating communal spaces with traditional Tet decorations. Red and gold are auspicious colors in Vietnamese culture, symbolizing luck and prosperity. Incorporate banners, lanterns, and floral arrangements to create a vibrant and celebratory atmosphere.

2. Host a traditional Tet meal

Organize a communal lunch or dinner featuring traditional Vietnamese dishes. Consider partnering with local restaurants or catering services that specialize in authentic Vietnamese cuisine to provide an immersive and delicious experience for employees.

3. Cultural workshops

Arrange for cultural workshops that educate employees about the significance of Tet, its customs, and the cultural nuances associated with the celebration. Invite guest speakers or cultural experts to share their insights and experiences.

4. Red envelope exchange

Embrace the tradition of giving and receiving lucky money by organizing a workplace red envelope exchange. Encourage employees to exchange small gifts or tokens of appreciation, fostering a sense of camaraderie and well-wishing.

5. Dress in traditional attire

Encourage employees to wear traditional Vietnamese attire, such as the ao dai for women or the ao dai and turban for men. This not only adds a colorful and festive touch to the workplace but also promotes cultural awareness and appreciation.

6. Tet themed games and activities

Plan Tet-themed games and activities to engage employees and foster team spirit. Traditional Vietnamese games, such as bai choi or square dancing, can be adapted for the workplace setting, providing a fun and interactive way to celebrate.

7. Customized red envelopes

Create custom red envelopes with the company logo or personalized messages to distribute among employees. This thoughtful gesture adds a corporate touch to the traditional practice of giving and receiving lucky money.

8. Tet art and craft corner

Set up an art and craft corner where employees can create traditional Tet decorations or try their hand at calligraphy. This provides a creative outlet for team members while celebrating the artistic aspects of Vietnamese culture.

9. Cultural film screening

Host a screening of films or documentaries that showcase Vietnamese culture and traditions. This not only educates employees but also provides an entertaining and informative way to celebrate Tet together.

10. Team-building tet challenges

Organize team-building activities inspired by Tet traditions. This could include Tet-themed quizzes, scavenger hunts, or collaborative projects that encourage teamwork and camaraderie.


Tet is a time-honored celebration that goes beyond the mere turning of the calendar. It is a reflection of Vietnam's rich cultural tapestry, emphasizing the values of family, community, and the pursuit of prosperity.

By incorporating these Tet celebrations into the workplace, organizations can foster a sense of inclusivity and appreciation for the diverse backgrounds and traditions that make up their workforce. As we usher in the Vietnamese New Year, let the spirit of Tet inspire unity, joy, and a renewed sense of purpose in both personal and professional spheres.

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