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Cay Neu—Special Feature of Tet! in Vietnam

One of the traditional decorations for Tet is the bamboo tree planted in front of the house

Cay Neu—Special Feature of Tet!

Cay Neu is something similar to the western Christmas tree, but instead of using a pine tree, it is customary to plant a leaveless bamboo tree in front of one's home and decorate its top in red that is believed to keep the bad spirits away.

Practical info

What is the significance of the Cay Neu tradition in Vietnam during Tet?

In Vietnam's Lunar New Year celebration, Tet, the Cay Neu tradition is believed to bring good fortune and deter wicked spirits, including icons consisting of leafless bamboo trees decorated with red colored paper banners that signify hope, happiness, and vitality. Some people add firecrackers to secure extra protection during the event. Show more

When is the ideal time to plant and decorate the Cay Neu for Tet in Vietnam?

The ideal time to plant and adorn the Cay Neu a few days before the Tet holiday period begins is on the 23rd day of the twelfth lunar month. Depending on an individual's schedule, they may opt to plant the tree earlier or later than usual. Fresh bamboo trees are advised to use to ensure its longevity throughout the holidays. Show more

How do the decorations on the Cay Neu tree differ from the Western Christmas tree?

While the Western Christmas tree typically is brightly adorned with lights, decorations, and presents, the Cay Neu tree is decorated with modest red-colored banners. Small ornaments or souvenirs like ceramic figurines are sometimes included, unlike the Western one. Whereas the Western Christmas tree is brought down after the New Year, the Cay Neu is kept up during the Tet holiday week. Show more

Where can travelers in Hanoi experience the Cay Neu tradition during Tet?

The Cay Neu tradition, a custom in Vietnam, can be witnessed by travelers around Hanoi in various locations. Cultural events and the planting of Cay Neu trees are typically granted in designated areas when Tet approaches, including Hoan Kiem Lake, Dong Xuan market, and the Old Quarter. Tet fairs offer traditional food, music, and games during which visitors can participate. Show more

Are there any specific rituals or customs associated with the planting of the Cay Neu tree in Vietnam?

Planting the Cay Neu tree in Vietnam is related to specific customs and traditions. A small event is always held by the family, seeking permission from the Earth God before planting the tree. By following Vietnamese zodiac and feng shui, they opt for a good direction and time to plant the tree. After Tet, burning or returning the tree to the ground is a way of honoring nature. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin