Traditional New Year in Indochina’s Countries

Traditional New Year in Indochina’s Countries

From past to present, the cultural land of Indochina is always well-known for the unique customs and habits. Therein, Traditional New Year is one of the most important and meaningful traditions for the people here because it reflects the wish of luck, happiness and peace. However, each country has the distinct way to welcome New Year.

Traditional New Year in Vietnam is called Tet or Lunar New Year. This is New Year of families, of the reunion. Traditionally, in the late afternoon of December 30th according to Lunar Calendar, all families acclaim their ancestors and household gods, expressing the spirit of “drinking water, remember its source”. As a sacred and sustainable habit, every year, when Tet is coming, no matter where people are or what they do, most people want and try to return to reunite with their family.

Traditional New Year in Indochina’s Countries
Calligraphy is an important part of Tet holidays for Vietnamese people

Tet is also a reunion with the dead. During Tet days, before meals, families incense to invite the ancestors who died to return to have meal with the descendants.
Moreover, Tet is also the birthday of everyone, whoever is added a year old, so the very first saying when people meet is “happy new age”. According to custom, adults often give lucky money which is contained in red envelopes for children and the elderly to to wish kids to eat well, grow fast, study well, wish the elderly to live longer and healthier.

New Year in Laos is called Bunpimay. During holiday, Laotians often eat Laap, especially entrepreneurs. According to Lao language, Laap means fortune. Laap is regarded as the soul of Laotians in New Year. Laap is often made of fresh chicken or beef and then mixed with spices. In every family, especially those who do business, Laap is cooked very meticulously as they believe that if this food is not good, New Year will have many jinx.

Traditional New Year in Indochina’s Countries
Lamvong dance is performed to welcome Lao New Year

Besides, In New Year, Laotians usually have the custom of offering clothe, scarves for the elderly. During the day everyone come to temples to pray, in the evening, they gather in the temple to have fun, perform traditional music (morlam) and enjoy Lam Vong Dance.
In particular, Laotians use flowers in New Year to pray for the luck. There are two types of flowers: sienna flowers which are decorated on the vehicles or in the houses, and Champa Flower is braided to put on hair to pray for blessings.

Cambodia’s traditional New Year, also called Chol Thmay Chnam happens yearly in 3 days from April 13 to 15.
In these days, Cambodians do several religious rituals for luck such as making a food tray in order to dedicate Buddhas and monks, Buddha Bathing Ceremony, creating sand mountains on the temple’s yard.

Traditional New Year in Indochina’s Countries
ambodian clean Buddha statues with perfurmed water berfore Chol Chnam Thmey

After those rituals, they go for wishes for parents, relatives and friends. Instead of the greeting, people here welcome New Year with the ritual of pouring water over each other, with the notion: The more people being poured water, the more luck they get.
In addition, in New Year of Cambodia there are many exciting activities such as boat racing, singing and traditional dancing…