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Vietnamese New Year 2023: Date Jan. 22, Year of the Cat

Vietnamese New Year 2023: Date Jan. 22, Year of the Cat

By Ruby ZhaoUpdated Feb. 25, 2022

Vietnamese New Year is also called Tet. It falls on January 22nd in 2023. Vietnamese people enjoy a 6-day national public holiday from January 21st (Tet Eve) to January 26th, 2023.

Vietnamese New Year is the most important festival of the year in Vietnam, celebrating love, the start of spring, and the best of hopes for the new year. It is observed on the first day of the first month of the Vietnamese Lunar Calendar and ranges between late January and mid-February on the Gregorian calendar.

Lunar year 2023 is a year of the Cat on the Vietnamese zodiac, from January 22nd, 2023 to February 9th, 2024. Cat is the fourth sign in Vietnamese Zodiac, taking place of the Rabbit in Chinese Zodiac

Vietnamese New Year Happy kid having fun with traditional dress ao dai during Vietnamese New Year.

How Long Does Vietnamese New Year Last in 2023?

Though the public holiday lasts only 6 days, local celebrations usually last around 20 days from ‘Minor New Year’ or ‘Kitchen God Day’ (January 14th in 2023) to Tet Nguyen Tieu — ‘First Full Moon of the Year’ (February 5th, 2023).

Here are the main celebrations and dates, outlined for you to have a general idea of how the Vietnamese people celebrate this most popular festival.

January 14th in 2023: House Cleaning and a Feast 

House cleaning and feasting take place on the 23rd day of the last lunar month, which is called ‘Kitchen God Day’.

In Vietnamese culture, there are three deities (God of the Kitchen, God of the Land and House, and God of the Market) in charge of people’s homes and property. The 23rd of the twelfth lunar month is the date for the three deities to go to Heaven for their annual report and prayers for the coming year. They then come back to Earth on New Year's Eve and resume their protective duties for the new year.

On this day, Vietnamese households clean their houses and prepare a tray of traditional offerings as a farewell.

Vietnamese New Year Food Boiled or steamed chicken is a must of traditional offerings during Vietnamese New Year.

January 17th to 19th in 2023: Making Chung Cake

Chung cake is made from the 26th to the 28th day of the last lunar month.

Chung Cake is a traditional and irreplaceable Vietnamese New Year food. They are square cakes made of glutinous rice, pork meat, and green beans and wrapped in bamboo or banana leaves.

Square is traditionally thought of as the shape of Earth in some Asian cultures (Heaven being round).

Vietnamese people make Chung cake to express their gratitude to their ancestors and their homeland.

Read more about typical Vietnamese food...

Vietnamese New Year Food Chung cake is a traditional Vietnamese New Year food.

January 21st in 2023: Vietnamese New Year’s Eve

It is on the last day of Vietnam’s last lunar month.

New Year’s Eve on Vietnam’s lunar calendar is a day for finishing off the events of the past year, preparing for the new year, as well as family gatherings.

  • House cleaning: This is a must to sweep away any bad luck of the old year. Cleaning in the first three days of the new year is not allowed, as it is thought to drive away Thần Tài (the God of Luck, in charge of a family's wealth for each coming year).
  • Home decoration: The most popular items are flowers, trees, and small red ornaments.
  • Cleaning altars and setting offerings: An altar represents the family ancestors' home or entrance door to Earth, hence cleaning of ancestral altars and offerings placed there are to please ancestral spirits.
  • New Year’s Eve Feast: Family members share stories of the past year and their hopes for new year, while eating special New Year food together.
  • Giving red envelopes to children and seniors: Red is the auspicious color for New Year and red envelopes are a way of wishing the young and old good luck.
  • Watching the New Year TV show and fireworks
Vietnamese New Year Decoration Vietnamese young lady holding Tet greeting cards

February 22nd in 2023: Vietnamese New Year’s Day, Visiting Fathers’ Relatives

It is the first day of Vietnam’s first lunar month.

Vietnamese New Year’s Day is the time Vietnamese visit relatives on their father’s side. For wives and young children, this means the husband’s/father’s father and his relatives.

February 23rd in 2023: Visiting Relatives on Mother Side

On the third day of Vietnam’s first lunar month, Vietnamese people visit their (husband’s/father’s) maternal relatives.

February 24th to 26th in 2023: Visiting Teachers, Friends, Other Relatives, and Neighborhoods

Other relatives and old friends in childhood localities are visited from the third to the fifth day of Vietnam’s first lunar month.

February 5th in 2023: Tet Nguyen Tieu — First Full Moon

The 15th day of Vietnam’s first lunar month is the day of the First Full Moon of the New Year, which is very important for Vietnamese cultural and religious life. On Tết Nguyen Tieu, Vietnamese eat vegetarian food and plain water for purification.

Other activities include:

  • Going to a pagoda to pray for good luck in the new year
  • Flower vehicle parades, dragon and lion dancing, and lantern shows on the streets

Vietnamese New Year is a Public Holiday — Tet Holiday

Vietnamese New Year is a national public holiday called the Tết Holiday, usually lasting 5–7 days. It is the biggest and longest holiday in Vietnam. In 2023, the holiday lasts 6 days from January 21th to 26th.

Many shops, government offices, and banks, close during Tết Holiday. Employees working during the Tết holiday are entitled to 300% of their normal daily salary.

Is the Vietnamese New Year date the same as Chinese New Year’s?

Vietnamese New Year is celebrated on the same date as Chinese New Year. Both are based on the same lunisolar calendar. In 2023, it falls on Sunday January 22nd.

But Vietnamese people celebrate New Year with different customs, celebrations, and traditions from China.

Read more on Vietnamese Lunar New Year and Chinese New Year vs Lunar New Year.

Vietnamese New Year Dates 2023–2031

Vietnamese New Year (Tết) is based on their lunisolar calendar that gives a varying date in January/February, and each Lunar New Year marks the start of a new zodiac sign year, shown below:

Festival Date Zodiac Year
Vietnamese New Year 2021 January 12th Year of the Buffalo
Vietnamese New Year 2022 February 1st Year of the Tiger
Vietnamese New Year 2023 January 22nd Year of the Cat
Vietnamese New Year 2024 February 10th Year of the Dragon
Vietnamese New Year 2025 January 29th Year of the Snake
Vietnamese New Year 2026 February 17th Year of the Horse
Vietnamese New Year 2027 February 6th Year of the Goat
Vietnamese New Year 2028 January 26th Year of the Monkey
Vietnamese New Year 2029 February 13th Year of the Chicken
Vietnamese New Year 2030 February 3rd Year of the Dog

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