Lunar New Year, locally called Tet Nguyen Dan or Tet, is one of the most important holidays in Vietnamese culture. In most of the country, Tet celebration lasts for at least three days and more. The holiday is so important that plenty of traditional festivities follow the particular day, turning it into a season of relaxation, thankfulness, and happiness. Some of the Tet traditions include special decorations.
Similar to the Western culture's pine tree for Christmas, Vietnam regards ochna integerrima, marumi kumquat and peach tree as traditional decorations of the winter holiday season. Although these three plants are most popular among all the Vietnamese, the specific region of the country dictates mostly which plant exactly is to be put in front of homes. Both depending on the climate and a unique legend, the South and North of Vietnam prefer different plants.
For the South region, it is more common to decorate the homes with ochna integerrima, which is a tree that can have simultaneously ripe and unripe fruit, flowers, and green leaves, symbolizing the wealth and flourishing for the country. In the North, however, mainly peach tree branches and marumi kumquat are used, which symbolize courage, strength, health, and vitality, as these plants are among the first ones to bloom.
Visitors can enjoy the colorful abundance of Tet decorations at the colonial Dong Khoi Street in Ho Chi Minh City where everything is covered in orange and yellow flowers. Tet Flower Markets and Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street in old Saigon are the best spots to shop for decorations.
The port city of Hoi An in Central Vietnam is another well-decorated place to celebrate Tet. The city is famous for its abundance of silk lanterns decorating the streets and cao lau noodles, a signature dish for Quảng Nam Province.