Tet, or the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, holds immense cultural importance and stands as Vietnam’s most crucial public holiday. This yearly celebration sparks increased travel, resulting in temporary business closures and the organisation of various events and festivities during the holiday season. Here is a detailed overview of the New Year Holiday, covering key considerations and expectations for businesses.
What is Tet
Tet Nguyen Dan, also known as Tet, is the most important traditional festival for the Vietnamese people. It is also the longest holiday of the year, lasting up to ten consecutive days without work. Tet is not only a time for family gatherings but also holds the significance of honouring ancestors and the cultural traditions of the country.
Tet marks a major cultural festival aligning with the Lunar New Year in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Places with substantial Chinese communities, such as Singapore, also actively celebrate Lunar New Year. Other Asian countries, such as South Korea and Vietnam, likewise observe their own lunar new year festivities.
In Vietnam, people primarily center Tet around preserving old traditions and spending quality time with family. It holds great significance for the majority of Vietnamese who prioritise visiting their parents during this festive period. As the holiday approaches, there is a noticeable spike in the cost of flight and train tickets, as people residing in major cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang make their way back to their respective hometowns.
The festival’s date is determined by the Lunisolar calendar and can therefore occur anytime between January 21 and February 20. This year, the transition from the Year of the Cat to the Year of the Dragon will commence on February 10, although preparations typically begin after the Western New Year. In 2024, Tet will take place from Thursday, February 8, 2024 to Wednesday, February 14, 2024.
In Vietnam, the preparation and consumption of traditional foods during Tet hold significant cultural importance. Dishes like banh chung symbolise the harmonious connection between humans and nature. Braised pork dishes, such as thit kho, represent prosperity, while pickled vegetables and candied fruits provide refreshing contrasts and symbolise balance and happiness. These foods not only offer gustatory enjoyment but also convey well-wishes, preserving cultural values during the festive Tet celebrations.
Red envelopes, known as li xi in Vietnamese, are frequently presented to children, junior colleagues, and support staff during the Lunar New Year period. The essence of these red packets lies in the symbolism of energy, happiness, and good luck associated with the colour red. Hence, the act of giving a red envelope is regarded as a gesture conveying positive wishes, happiness, and good fortune to the recipient.
What Customs Do Business Follow During Tet?
Business owners and international employers should recognise the tradition of granting a Tet bonus to every employee, which may equal or even surpass a monthly salary. While the Tet bonus is not a requirement by law, it plays a vital role in increasing employee satisfaction and maintaining a stable workforce. At Away Digital Teams, we proudly extend this tradition to our staff as a gesture of appreciation for their hard work and dedication.
Our commitment to honouring cultural practices extends to distributing Tet gifts and hosting annual New Year celebrations
Do businesses shut down during the Tet holiday?
The short answer is yes. In 2024, Tet will occur on February 10, resulting in a seven-day closure for businesses and factories in Vietnam. This period encompasses five days designated by the Viet Nam Labour Code for the Tet holiday, as well as an additional two days falling on the weekend for the 2024 Lunar New Year.
Vietnam’s Public Holidays 2024
During this time, it is important to note that banks and schools will be closed. Following the holiday, most businesses will gradually reopen within the first week and begin planning their production. However, some may require additional time to fully prepare for regular operations.
It is also noted that millions of migrant workers in major cities will return to their hometowns to celebrate Lunar New Year with their families. This may result in crowded airports, bus and train stations prior to the holiday, and quieter streets in the cities. Domestic travel, particularly between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, usually experiences a significant increase during this time.
What are the possible delays following the Vietnamese Lunar New Year?
Following the Tet holiday, it is expected that there will be an adjustment period as employees transition back into the workplace. During this time, operations may experience a temporary slowdown as employees reestablish their work routines. Staff members will need some time to catch up on emails, messages, and work tasks, which may result in a backlog of communications immediately after the holiday.
There might be delays in transportation and logistics as businesses and services gradually return to normal operations. These delays may affect the movement of goods, documents, and other materials, potentially impacting project timelines.
Additionally, some employees may take extra time off or stagger their return to work after the holiday season. This could affect the availability of staff for meetings, collaborations, and other work activities.
Here’s to a successful and prosperous year ahead in 2024
In a professional environment, celebrating and honouring Tet together is a way to build corporate culture and promote team spirit. Through this, people can return to work after the holiday with renewed energy and enthusiasm, working together to achieve goals and success in the new year. For businesses, the Lunar New Year period in Vietnam underscores the importance of proactive planning and communication. Businesses should be cognisant of potential delays and challenges and consider strategic adjustments to ensure resilience during this period and maintain a smooth operation.
In accordance with this sentiment, Away Digital Teams wishes you a profitable, accomplished, and robust New Year of the Dragon! Chuc Mung Nam Moi!
Please note that the Away Digital Teams Vietnam office will be closed from COB Thursday, Feb 8th 2024 to Wednesday, Feb 14th 2024 and will re-open on Thursday, Feb 15th 2024. For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Explore further insights into our approach to managing remote teams in Vietnam: