Have you ever observed and wondered why Vietnamese people avoid sweeping their house during the first 3 days of Lunar New Year or in the central part, the locals refuse to eat shrimps? If these questions keep wandering in your mind, let’s explore all the myths about this.
- Don’t borrow and loan money or things
Vietnamese people believe that borrowing or loaning things in the new year would be a sign of a coming year buried in debts.
- Don’t sweep the floor
Before Tet, people should clean up their house, then during the first 3 days, they are not allowed to touch the broom anymore. It is believed that if we sweep our house in this time, we will sweep away all the fortune and luckiness. With the belief, we do not expect our guests to do the same when they pay a visit to our house.
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The custom originates from an old story. It was said that there was a merchant given a housemaid when he was passing Thanh Thao Lake. Since then, she helped his business thrive positively. That year, on the first day of the lunar new year, she was scolded by her boss due to a small mistake. Too scared, she decided to hide into garbage. The wife of the merchant did not know about this, so she accidentally cleaned the garbage which was carrying the housemaid inside to a dump. From there, he became poor.
- Don’t eat egg, duck, shrimp
In the central, the locals refuse to eat shrimp. The myth behind is that when moving, shrimp normally goes backward. Therefore, they do not want their business go down or become worse.
Other people think that egg, duck is a symbol of bad luck in the new year. Hence, they do not eat any products made from egg, duck.
- Don’t quarrel
In the beginning of new year, if people usually give others good wishes, it is forbidden to say bad things relating death or to argue with others. Having conflicts during Tet can bring us an inharmonic year. Therefore, try to keep calm and avoid conflicts no matter how uncomfortable you may feel.
- Don’t break utensils
Breaking dishes, cups, mirrors in the New Year may make people think of the separation or breaking up.
- Don’t depart or start your business on the 5th of January
There has been a folk saying “On the fifth, the fourteenth, and the twenty-third, it’s easy to lose money even when you just go out for a short trip or for a business” Several reasons are given to explain the custom.
Firstly, this is the time when strong tides rise and come, which may cause deadly threats to fisherman or sailors. In the past, ancient people normally travel by boats, therefore, departing on these days is considered as a bad luck.
Secondly, in terms of science, during these days, humans are affected dramatically by the forces from the moon, which is proved to have a significant influence on our nerve system and health in general. Hence, people become easy to lose their control or make mistakes regarding calculation. There have been researches that investigate the increasing number of traffic injuries during the full-moon week.
- Don’t wear black and white clothes
Vietnamese people are not supposed to wear black and white clothes on the first day of Tet due to the fact that these colors symbolize for mourning. Instead, we are recommended to wear colorful outfits, especially the red color. Red is often associated with luckiness and love. A red outfit also brightens up space, brings warmth for people around.
- Don’t arbitrarily become the first person to enter other people’s house in new year
It is a common belief that the first person entering the house will dictate a family’s fortune in the coming year. Therefore, many households actually choose who will be their first-foot based on some criteria such as their age, gender, health, wealth. Those who have one of the family members recently passed away should not set foot to any other houses during the first week. The first-foot is expected to bring along some small gifts and lucky money for the households. They will not stay long in others’ houses but a couple of minutes.
Each culture has its own beliefs, customs, and tradition. It’s not easy to blend yourself into a new culture without understanding it. If you are the first time traveler in Vietnam, hope my sharing would help you avoid unexpected situations, satisfy your curiosity, and make you eager more discover your beautiful and lovely country.
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