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How do you celebrate the Vietnamese New Year?

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Vietnamese people celebrate their New Year, or Tet, by reuniting with their families, receiving visitors, giving money to children, eating special foods, having parades and setting off fireworks. The days leading up to the New Year are full of preparations, such as cleaning and decorating the home, buying new clothes and shoes, and shopping for and preparing food.

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Because sweeping during Tet is unlucky, families clean their homes, including the ancestral altar, before the New Year begins. A plate of five types of fruit is prepared and displayed on the family altar. Decorations such as potted fruit trees and flowers are placed both inside and outside. Another tradition is the New Year tree, which is a tall bamboo pole on which charms and other objects are hung. Traditional foods prepared and served at Tet include sticky rice with meat filling wrapped in leaves, meat and eggs stewed in coconut juice, pickled onion and cabbage, candied fruit, and roasted watermelon seeds. Children wear new clothes and traditionally greet their elders, and in return the elders give them red envelopes with money inside.

Tet celebrations last up to a week. During this time people take to the streets and make noise with drums, bells, gongs and firecrackers to ward off evil spirits. People visit relatives, friends, teachers and temples. Children spend their money gifts on gambling games and toys. There is an abundance of public performances.

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