1. Meaning of New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve (also known as Lunar New Year’s Eve) is the final night of the old year and serves as a transition between the old year and the new year. It marks the beginning of the Rat hour (0 hours 0 minutes 0 seconds on January 1st). This night carries great significance as it symbolizes the end of an old year and the arrival of a new year, with the elderly growing wiser and the younger generation maturing.
New Year’s Eve holds the meaning of warding off evil spirits, demons, and all negativity from the previous year while welcoming good luck and success for the upcoming year. It is a time for rest, leaving behind worries, and embracing a night of silence and spirituality.
2. Activities on New Year’s Eve
On New Year’s Eve, Vietnamese people often spend the last hours of the old year with their loved ones.
New Year’s Eve offerings
The New Year’s Eve ceremony takes place at 12 o’clock midnight on January 1st. According to Vietnamese tradition, the New Year’s Eve offering table is divided into two trays: the ancestor altar inside the house and the altar for heaven and earth in the front yard.
Homeowners make offerings to wish for a prosperous new year. They light incense outside, make vows, and then light it inside the house to bring good luck.
During this ceremony, people show gratitude to heaven and earth and their ancestors. They apologize to their parents, make amends with others, release negativity, and promise to do good deeds in the new year.
Organize a year-end meal
This meal is attended by all family members. Before eating, the family performs an important ritual of offering a tray of rice to invite grandparents and ancestors to reunite with the family for the three days of the Lunar New Year.
For families who want to “steal” into their house before the new year begins, they choose someone who is spiritually compatible and of appropriate age to leave the house at the time of death. They attend the death ceremony at the temple or in the village and then request incense or buds. When they return in the new year, this person breaks into the house for the family, bringing good fortune throughout the year.
For other families, they invite a good relative or friend to come to the house early on the first day of the new year, before other guests arrive, to bring good luck to the family.
Celebrate New Year’s Eve with friends
Every year presents a rare opportunity for friends to gather and celebrate New Year’s Eve together. Many see this as the perfect time to reunite, have fun, and reflect on the past year.
3. Things to Keep in Mind on New Year’s Eve for a Good Year
- Before 12 o’clock at night, it is advisable to burn incense and pray to the Buddha on the altar or at an appropriate place in the house.
- If you live alone, after New Year’s Eve, it is recommended to turn on the television until morning for prosperity.
- Regardless of gender or location, at the time of New Year’s Eve, it is suggested to use a red pen to write the four words “successful code” on your palm and clasp your hands. Men write two words “code unique” (马到) on their left hand and two words “success” (成功) on their right hand, while women switch hands.
- On the 30th day of Tet, especially New Year’s Eve, it is beneficial to wear red clothes. Avoid scolding children or quarreling, as it may bring negative effects for the entire new year.
- If any furniture in the house is damaged or chipped, it should be repaired or replaced before New Year’s Eve.
- Check the lighting system in the house and replace any bulbs that do not light up. To bring prosperity to the home and recharge it with new positive energy, all electricity in the house should be left on for three days and three nights.
New Year’s Eve is a time of transition to a new year, a time of rest, letting go of worries, and a night of silence and spirituality. Wishing you a very happy and healthy new year!