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2012 – Year of the Dragon

Tet is here! So let’s take this opportunity to go on a little tour and get to know the traditions and customs. Also called the Festival of Spring, it’s the most important event in the Vietnamese calendar, looked forward to by young and old alike. For almost 2 weeks, train stations and airports are packed, streets are decorated and markets are busy – it’s a real festival of colours, smells and sounds.

Eating and drinking all the time

Many street shows are organised while at home families get together to prepare. Tet really is an excuse to eat and drink the whole time. Some typical dishes can be found on every table such as M(dried, sugared fruit), Bánh chưngBánh dy and Bánh tét (traditional cakes) which are given as an offering to Buddha and ancestors.

Slowing down the pace

The New Year holidays mark a slowing down of all activity in Vietnam. Business trips should be avoided and negotiations have to be postponed. For travellers it’s a particularly difficult time for finding train or aeroplane tickets and hotels are generally full.

Advice and predictions for the Year of the Dragon

This year, Tet begins on 23 January, the date on which the Cat (for the Vietnamese) or the Rabbit (for the Chinese) gives way to the Dragon – a symbol of life and power.

During the few days that follow it is traditional for good wishes to be exchanged:

  • Happy New Year: Chúc mừng năm mới
  • Success and Prosperity: Cung hỉ phát tài
  • Peace, Health and Wealth: An khang thịnh vượng
  • May all your wishes come true: Vạn sự  như  ý

If you would like to know what Chinese astrology has in store for you in 2012, here are some predictions.

And finally if you are a collector, you should know that since the beginning of the month, the French post office has published a new stamp with a dragon on it. This special stamp, produced in honour of the Chinese New Year is sold in a decorative pack of 5.

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