Build up vocabulary for daily use (Topic 4): Tết

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Food vocabulary

Things related to Tết

Vietnamese Horoscopes

Customs and taboos


  • One should give people lucky presents to enhance the relationship between themselves and others:
  • One should give lucky Dong Ho Paintings  such as: "Gà đàn" (wishing for having many children), or "Vinh hoa", but should not give unlucky Dong Ho paintings like "Đánh ghen" related to legal proceedings.
  • One should return all things borrowed, and pay debts before Tết.
  • One should try to do good things during Tet holiday


  • One shouldn't say or do bad things during New Year.
  • One shouldn't hurt or kill animals or plants but should set them free 
  • One shouldn't sweep the house or empty out the rubbish to avoid luck and benefits going with it, especially on the first day of the new year.
  • One shouldn't give these presents to others: clock or watch (the recipient's time is going to pass), cats, medicine (the receiver will get ill), cuttle fish (its ink is black, an unlucky colour), writing ink (for the same reason), scissors or knives (they bring incompatibility).
  • One shouldn't have duck meat because it brings unluckiness.
  • One shouldn't have shrimp in case one would move backwards like shrimp, in other words, one would not succeed.
  • One shouldn't buy or wear white clothes because white is the colour of funerals in Vietnam.
  • One shouldn't let the rice-hulling mill go empty because it symbolizes failed crops.
  • One shouldn't refuse anything others give or wish you during Tết.

Common Adjectives

Prosper = be at the high point in one's career or reach a high point in historical significance or importance

Lucky = having or bringing good fortune

Fertile = intellectually productive   

Fruitful = productive or conducive to producing in abundance

Abundant  = present in great quantity

Wealthy = rich, having an abundant supply of money or possessions of value

Common Verbs

Offer = worship
Present Display
Decorate Get fortune told


(thingsasian, wikipedia)