How Do You Say “Happy New Year” in Vietnamese?

By Lily Evans | Southeast Asia

Feb 01
Happy New Year in Vietnamese

New Year’s Day is often celebrated on the first of January, but this is not always the case. In countries which follow the lunar calendar, the first day of the year could fall on any day in January or February. This is true for certain countries in Asia such as China and Vietnam.

If you want to experience the magic of Southeast Asian festivities, then you should definitely try celebrating the Lunar New Year in Vietnam. And to help you get into the holiday spirit here's how to say happy New Year in Vietnamese.​


Vietnamese New Year

Vietnamese New Year

Tet Nguyen Dan (Tet for short) is the Vietnamese equivalent of the New Year’s celebration. But unlike the Western New Year’s Day celebration which is celebrated on the first day of January, Tet is celebrated on the first day of the first month in the Lunar Calendar.

Unlike the Gregorian Calendar, the Vietnamese Lunar Calendar has a fixed number of 12 months with 30 days each. For this reason, the date on which Tet falls due varies every year. It generally falls sometime in late January or early February, depending on whether the past year is a leap year or not.

Another unique feature of Tet is its length and significance. Tet is, in fact, the biggest and longest holiday in Vietnam. Its celebration begins on the day before Tet and could last up to seven days. It is a time of family get-togethers and is essentially a combination of Christmas and New Year.

Tet occupies an important role in Vietnamese culture. For one, it is an occasion for the Vietnamese to remember and pay respects to their ancestors. It is likewise significant in their religious beliefs, it being the day to get rid of bad luck from the previous year.​

Things To Remember When Celebrating Tet

Celebrating Tet

The celebration of Tet is grounded on tradition. True enough, there are a number of practices that must be observed during this celebration. Some of these practices are the following:

  • Giving Li Xi or red envelopes with money inside. This is a sign of generosity and a way of wishing the recipient luck throughout the year.
  • Offering sweets such as candies or “mut Tet”. Sweet foods are believed to bring sweetness and joy all throughout the year.
  • Offering a warm cup of tea, especially to the elderly. A warm cup of tea is believed to bring warmth and happiness to a person’s life. It is also often associated with love for family.
  • Wearing new and colorful clothes. This is a symbol of prosperity and is believed to attract good luck. That said, wearing dark colors is highly discouraged.
  • Not showing up at another person’s house on the first day unless there is an invitation from the homeowner. People believe that the first visitor will bring to the family the characteristics of the said person, so it is best to wait for an invitation first.
  • Not asking someone to repay you a debt or a loan until after the first two to three weeks of the lunar calendar. The Vietnamese believe that if they have to borrow or repay the money at the beginning of the year, then they would be borrowing or repaying money the entire year.
  • Not taking things related to water from somebody else’s house. This includes glasses, water bottles, pitchers, and the like. In Vietnam, taking water out of somebody’s house is equivalent to taking away their wealth.

Greeting in Vietnamese

Greeting in Vietnamese

Vietnam is a diverse country with a growing tourism industry, so it’s not difficult to find English speakers there. Having said that, it’s perfectly fine to say your greetings in English. In fact, as long as you say your greeting with a smile, you can get your good wishes across regardless of the language used.

Nevertheless, it’s particularly satisfying to be able to say your greetings in Vietnamese. “Happy New Year” in Vietnamese translates to “Chúc mừng năm mới!” This is pronounced as “Chook' moong- num moy'”. “Chook” and “moy” are said with a higher tone. Meanwhile, “moong” is said with a lower tone.

This phrase might seem a little complicated at first, but with enough practice, you’d be able to get the pronunciation and the tone right.​


Happy New Year

The New Year’s Day celebration in Vietnam is as intriguing as it is lively and fun. The celebration has no fixed date of observance, which adds to its uniqueness. It is also shrouded in a century’s worth of practice, beliefs, and traditions.

How about you? Do you have a favorite festivity in a foreign country? If you do, let us know your favorite in the comments down below. Want to see more of this? Give me a shout-out in the comments below and let me know what topics you want me to discuss next. Chúc mừng năm mới!



About the Author

I'm Lily Evans and I’m here to share with you pieces of travel advice, as well as handy tips and tricks, which I have accumulated over years of travelling and exploring the globe.