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How to give lucky money in Tet holidays in a right way?

Tet holidays only begin when cylindrical glutinous rice cakes, square glutinous rice cakes, watermelons, and red packets of lucky money start appearing everywhere on the streets. Lucky money has become one of the most common customs in this traditional festival. No records about the time when lucky money was introduced into Vietnam have been found.

However, the Vietnamese generations have still been preserving and considering it a beautiful cultural trait. It is a unique characteristic of Tet holiday. 

What are lucky money and its meaning?

Lucky money a tradition

Lucky money a tradition

It is a popular custom in Asian as well as Vietnam culture to congratulate a New Year. Money, or also called lucky money, is often placed in a patterned small red envelope and given to children by adults. Starting from New Year’s Eve, family members gather around, express their wishes and praises, and give each other lucky money.

The ones who expect and receive the largest amount of lucky money are children. It stands for the wish of their parents, grandparents, and close relatives for a successful new year. And lucky money given to grandparents is the hope of kids for their longevity. Therefore, in general, lucky money is a symbol of love and a wish for luck as well as joy in a whole year.

The story of lucky money

Happy to receive lucky money

Happy to receive lucky money

The story says the New Year festival is original from China. According to legend, there is a monster usually appearing on New Year’s Eve, rubbing children’s heads while they are sleeping, and making them burst into loud wails. After that, the children often have headaches and fevers so their parents are always worried.

An over-50-year-old couple finally has a son after many years. In the Tet festival when he gets several months, 8 fairies walk by his house. By their power, they know that he will soon be harmed by the monster. So they decide to stay by his side to protect him. They transform into 8 coins and tell his parents to wrap them with red paper. Then, place them right next to their son.

At midnight, the monster manifests and tries reaching out to rub the son’s head. Immediately, a vibrant golden light flickers from the coins, shining on its eyes. The monster is so frightened that it runs away without ever coming back.

The couple is really happy so they tell everybody about it. Since then, people consider putting money into red envelopes and giving them to children is one of the necessary things to do in Vietnam Tet holidays. It is a way to drive unfortunate away and bring happiness to kids.

How to give lucky money in modern times?

Patterned envelope

Patterned envelope

If you follow Vietnam Tet holidays packages or live with some locals, you will be able to see how this custom is performed. Of course, it has many differences from the old times so you should pay attention to perform it well.

In days of old, money placed inside red envelopes only had symbolic meaning and its face value was not important. Nowadays, since the Vietnamese life has been extremely improved, adults start giving children lucky money with higher value. As a result, children sometimes care about that more than the deep meaning of the tradition.

Therefore, lucky money in today times is for not only fortunate but also education. It is a way for parents to teach their children how to spend money and manage their own budget. Above all, receiving lucky money is a lesson for kids to learn the real value of money and cherish the goodwill of others.

Hence, when you give a child lucky money, remember to give him a blessing as well. It will remind him the good old values of this custom and show him your kindness.

Another difference that may help you is that the envelopes today do not have to be red. It can be brown, yellow, or pink. As long as they are decorated with messages or patterns relating to Tet festival, any color can be accepted. The envelopes are sold in any stores and markets so you will not have difficulties while buying it.

 The only thing you have to do is to choose a nice one and enjoy the best Tet holidays in Vietnam with explorevietnam.

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Experiencing Vietnam culture tour to have wonderful moments in your life

You are wondering where to visit in the first days of 2019. You want to have memorable moments in the beginning of spring. Saigon is one of the ideal places for your vacation. Book a Vietnam culture tour to discover holidays and events happening in February and March in Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City.

http://explorevietnam.net explorevietnam is sure that this special tour will bring you meaningful and unforgettable experiences.

The first holiday you cannot miss when you travel to Saigon in February is Tet, the most significant traditional festival of Vietnam. This year, Tet holiday, also popularly known as the name Lunar New Year, falls on February, 16st of the Western Calendar. However, it is advisable to come to Saigon earlier some days in order to have a great chance to enjoy the busy and jubilant festive atmosphere.

During days before New Year’s Eve, people in Saigon usually decorate their houses beautifully with many types of colorful flowers, fruits, candies and flashing lights. Especially, they always tidy up their house with the hope of getting rid of all unluckiness of the old year. In addition, to prepare for Tet, they also make many traditional foods. If you visit Ho Chi Minh City these days, you will admire the way they create traditional specialties such as banh tet, gio or xoi. You can even make them by yourselves with the instructions of the friendly people living here.

When New Year’s Eve (Giao Thua) – the most important and sacred moment of the whole year comes, all members of the families will gather and enjoy traditional food together. They always exchange best wishes with hope for a better new year.

Firework display on New Year’s Eve, Saigon

Firework display on New Year’s Eve, Saigon

Maybe you will be quite surprised by the features of Tet holiday in Saigon that make the beautiful city unique. Different from many other cities in Vietnam, everything seems to become sacred and peaceful strangely during Tet. The traffic on streets is light, the shops and markets are not crowded as normal days although trading activities still take place. You will feel the nice change in each of roads and people you meet by a chance. Especially, if you want to immerse yourself in the Tet views of Saigon, walk on the streets at night. It is definitely a memorable experience for you.

One of the interesting activities you can participate in when visiting Ho Chi Minh City in Tet holiday is watching flowers displays. The flower festivals often happen in two famous streets, namely Nguyen Hue and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street. In Lunar New Year, these streets are loaded with a variety of colorful and beautiful flowers. Coming here, you will have an opportunity to admire many kinds of flowers from almost all regions of the country such as orchids, cacti, apricots, peach blossoms, etc. This impressive beauty is bound to bring you wonderful emotions as if you were lost in a wonderland of fairy stories.

Nguyen Hue Flower Street

Nguyen Hue Flower Street

Another holiday that is quite famous in Ho Chi Minh City is Valentine’ Day, falling on the 14th of February. On that day, people will give gifts such as roses, chocolates or Valentine cards for their lovers. Many streets like Nguyen Van Cu Street, known as “pathway of love” are decorated with a variety of beautiful heart-shaped gifts and flowers. Stands around is overloaded with roses, chocolates, teddy bears and so on. It is really wonderful for you and your lover to visit Saigon in Valentine’s Day.

Nguyen Van Cu Street on Valentine’s Day

Nguyen Van Cu Street on Valentine’s Day

Lastly, you can take part in Tet Nguyen Tieu (Vietnam Lantern Festival), on January 15th of lunar calendar. It happens on the 2nd of the third western month this year. To enjoy wholly the atmosphere of Tet Nguyen Tieu, you should spend time exploring Cho Lon in Saigon, known as the most attractive destination. Coming here on this occasion, you will try a lot of street foods symbolizing for “reunion” like Che troi nuoc. Besides, many interesting activities held by the Chinese living here also attract most tourists. The streets are full of art shows and colorful lanterns. For example, you can witness the festive atmosphere of dragon or lion dancing displays. It is considered as the unique feature during the festival representing the culture of the Chinese community. They believe that the image of dragons will bring the luck, wealth, health and success for a new year. Especially, the colorful and exciting parades along the streets also appeal many visitors.

Lion dancing display in Cho Lon

Lion dancing display in Cho Lon

Vietnam culture tour to Saigon in February and March promises to bring you a lot of interesting experiences that never fade into your mind! Additionally, you can also choose other cultural tours to discover more about holidays in Vietnam. Wish you have a wonderful tour!

 

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The difference among Temple, Pagoda and Communal house in Vietnam

Your Vietnam culture tour will not be completed without a visit to some famous religious sites such as temple, pagoda, communal house, etc. For Vietnamese it is quite easy to tell the differences among temples (Đền), pagodas (Chùa) and communal houses (Đình).

However, it is hard for foreign tourists to tell at first glance because these buildings may look exactly the same from the outside. To deeply know more about the culture of Vietnam, let’s take a look at the differences among them with us!

1. Temple

Temple, which is called “Đền” in Vietnamese, is a place for worshipping real people who have lived exceptional lives and influenced Vietnamese history, such as kings, queens, national heroes or saints according to folk legends. Inside the temple, you will see statues of the person being worshiped. There will be documents like books, handwriting, stone steles displayed about that person. In the past, it was a men-only place and women were not allowed to enter the temple. Visitors go to temples to worship people inside and show their respect to them.

Some famous temples in Vietnam you should take a visit are Hung Kings Temple, Kiep Bac Temple, Soc Temple, Tran Temple, Bach Ma Temple, Kim Lien Temple, Quan Thanh Temple, etc.

  • Hung Kings Temple

Hung Kings Temple is situated on Nghia Linh Mountain, Phu Tho province, where is built to worship the Hung Kings who are the first founder of Vietnam. The temple of Hung Kings includes Thien Quang Pagoda, Ha Temple, Gieng Temple, Trung Temple, Thuong Temple, and King Hung Tomb. Especially, Hung Kings Temple festival – one of the biggest cultural events of Vietnamese people, will be from 8th to 11th of the third month in lunar calendar annually. So do not miss it on your Vietnam cultural tour!

Hung Kings Temple festival

Hung Kings Temple festival

2. Pagoda

In Vietnamese, a pagoda is called a “chùa”, which is the place Buddhists go to worship Buddha. Therefore, the architecture of most pagodas in Vietnam has the influence from Chinese and Indian architecture. In there, you will see many Buddha statues, Đức Ông statue, Nam Tào and Bắc Đẩu statue as well as statues of 2 giants (Buddhism protectors). Moreover, monks also live there and give Buddhism lessons to their followers. Traveling to Vietnam, tourists should not miss the chance to visit some famous pagodas in Vietnam such as Huong Pagoda, Yen Tu Pagoda, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Keo Pagoda, etc.

  • Bai Dinh Pagoda

Bai Dinh Pagoda is located at the western gate of Hoa Lu Citadel in Ninh Binh Province. It is a complex of several beautiful pagodas, possessing the greatest number of Arahant Statues and Sacred figs, the largest pagoda and the biggest bronze Buddha Statue in Vietnam. Every year, thanks to its wonderful pagodas with unique architecture, breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, and variety of cultural events and activities, Bai Dinh attracts a large number of visitors to come.

Bai Dinh Pagoda in Ninh Binh

Bai Dinh Pagoda in Ninh Binh

3. Communal house

Communal house (Đình) is one of the most important traditional architecture of the village in Vietnam. For a long time, it has become a familiar image to each Vietnamese people. It is considered as a place to worship tutelary, a meeting place of villagers as well as a center of cultural activities of the communities. Because it is an important construction of the village, the place to build the communal house is chosen carefully. According to folk perception, if it is built in a good place, the villagers will have a good life. Therefore, the communal house is usually located in the center of the village and overlooks a river. In Vietnamese culture, the communal house associated with the image of banyan trees, water wells, etc.

Many communal houses now become beautiful places for domestic and foreign tourists to take a visit and research during their Vietnam tour such as Dinh Bang communal house, Mong Phu communal house, Tho Ha communal house, etc.

  • Tho Ha Communal House

Tho Ha communal house is located in Van Ha Commune, Viet Yen District, Bac Giang Province. Built nearly five centuries ago under the reign of King Le Hy Tong, it is known as one of the oldest communal houses as well as one of the most beautiful cultural sites in Northern Vietnam. The communal house has 7 rooms built on 48 ironwood pillars, dedicating to the cult of the village tutelary God and to Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism.

Tho Ha Communal House

Tho Ha Communal House

 

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How to find culture shock in Vietnam interesting?

Made up of 8 different regions and 63 provinces and home to a significant number of ethnic minorities, Vietnam does not have one distinct culture.

However, there are still a lot of unwritten rules and norms that once learned will make it easier for you to explore the amazing natural beauty and get to know more about the lovely Vietnamese who live here, from Hanoi capital city in Northern Vietnam to the tiniest town in Northwest Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City in Southern Vietnam.

Here are our first some cultural tips in a Vietnam culture tour to keep in mind:

The first thing that will surprise you is how friendly Vietnamese are

Do not be surprised to know how friendly Vietnamese are

Do not be surprised to know how friendly Vietnamese are

Vietnam is not just its big cities but is made up of smaller towns too where the locals’ lives move at its own pace. If you end up living in a rural area, which is usually the case, you will find yourself being looked at all the time. It might be the single, greatest discomfort that foreigners report in the Vietnamese countryside. It is only the way the Vietnamese respect and expresses the friendliness to all foreign friends. While you may not agree with the practice, you will have a better understanding of how to respond when faced with it. The best way to react is to smile with them, truly endear you to the Vietnamese, and make your Vietnam culture tour much more enjoyable. Once moving away from highlights to highlights, expats can get a better sense of Vietnam, the lovely people, and their unique culture.

So yellow skin, long black hair, and welcoming smiles? What can be the best to describe Vietnamese people? The only thing that will make this perfect Vietnamese image even more perfect is Buddha in the background with a Vietnamese flag!

It is legal to eat dog and cat meat

In Vietnam, it is legal to eat dog meat

In Vietnam, it is legal to eat dog meat

If you travel around the world for food, Vietnam’s unique cuisine makes it a must-visit country in Southeast Asia. Food-wise, you will notice us all getting these slim bodies from the healthy and balanced food we eat. However, due to Vietnamese cuisine’s variety, international tourists can easily be shocked by the “moving things” eaten here. Then, once you travel to Vietnam, you can see xôi (sticky rice) or bánh mì (Vietnamese baguette) eaten almost every day for breakfast, bánh tráng (Vietnamese pizza) for snacks, and especially thịt chó (dog meat) – as the main course for lunch or dinner.

Unlike many other countries like the USA, the UK, Australia, etc. in Vietnam, it is legal for slaughterhouses to handle dogs and for stores to sell the meat derived from a cat or dog. Even if you support the loud calls for an end to dog meat cruelty and you find it distressing to see dog meat for sale in a local market, resist the urge to judge eating “strange” things as being “bad” or “unintelligent”. No one forces you to delve into this unusual food. Just try to find your familiar food and even veggie options – which are plentiful in Vietnam.

If you were allowed to enjoy the exquisite cuisine of only one country the rest of your life, it would be smart to make it this S-shape land. The cuisine of the Southeast Asian country has a little bit of everything – you will never get bored.

How to find culture shock in Vietnam interesting?

How to find culture shock in Vietnam interesting

How to find culture shock in Vietnam interesting

Besides many great things, Vietnam also has many aspects of the culture that can strike a first-time traveler coming from an entirely different culture. Instead of underrating these behaviors or practices that are different from your own, why don’t you try to learn the reason behind the behavior and make the most of your experience abroad?

One of the most common challenges but also interesting experiences that international travelers face is dealing with “culture shock” during their travel to Vietnam. When traveling to Vietnam, becoming immersed in a new culture is an essential part of your Vietnam culture tour.

Welcome to Vietnam! This fertile land is much more than long golden sandy beaches and rolling green hills, big cities, and chaotic traffic; this is the land of endless opportunities and great chances to know more about the well-known culture of Vietnam, created by a significant number of ethnic minorities – 85% of Vietnam's ethnic-minority population belongs to indigenous groups.