8 Presents to Celebrate a Vietnamese Tết (Lunar New Year)

Dive into the heart of Vietnamese Tết (Lunar New Year) traditions with our guide to meaningful gift-giving. Learn about the cultural significance and thought behind each carefully selected present that promises prosperity, health, and joy for the coming year.

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An array of eight distinct presents commonly given during the Vietnamese Tết (Lunar New Year) celebration. This includes traditional items such as Vietnamese Rice Cakes (Bánh chưng), candied fruits (Mứt), peach blossoms, and apricot blossoms. Other gifts are coins, Vietnamese traditional hat (Nón Lá), traditional silk dress (Áo dài), and Vietnamese pho soup ingredients. Despite the presence of these objects, no people are visible within the frames. The layout is festive and vibrant, reflecting the joyous occasion without any text features within the image.

Introduction to Vietnamese Tết

Tết Nguyên Đán, commonly known as Tết, is the most significant holiday in Vietnamese culture, marking the arrival of spring and a chance to start fresh. It’s a time for family reunions, feasting, honoring ancestors, and sharing well-wishes for prosperity and good health. Understanding the importance of gift-giving during this festive period is essential, as it showcases respect, gratitude, and strengthens bonds.

Cultural Significance of Gift-Giving in Tết

In the spirit of Tết, presenting carefully selected gifts carries deep cultural significance, embedding wishes for a prosperous year ahead. Gifts often reflect the Vietnamese values of health, longevity, wealth, and luck. When choosing a present, consideration is key, as it’s the thought behind the gift that resonates with the receiver.

1. Lì Xì – Red Envelopes

Red envelopes, or ‘Lì Xì’, are traditional gifts containing money and are given to children and elders for good fortune. The envelopes are typically red, symbolizing luck and prosperity. The amount doesn’t need to be large, as the envelope’s symbolism is more valuable than the money itself.

2. Mut Tết – Tết Candies

Mut Tết, an assortment of candied fruits and nuts, signifies the sweetness and richness of life. These confections are not only gifts but also staples in every Vietnamese household during the holiday, inviting guests to share in the sweetness of the new year.

3. Vietnamese Tea

Tea holds a special place in Vietnamese culture, symbolizing tranquility and harmony. Gifting high-quality tea represents a wish for a peaceful and fulfilling year. An exquisite selection of green tea, lotus tea, or jasmine tea is ideal for conveying your greetings.

4. Hand-Embroidered Art

Artistic presents like hand-embroidered art portray effort and thoughtfulness. Traditional Vietnamese embroidery is painstakingly crafted, making it a gift of time and dedication that recipients can treasure as a keepsake or decor in their home.

5. Wine or Liquor

Premium wines or local Vietnamese liquors such as rice wine are gifts that reflect sophistication. These are not only to be enjoyed during the holiday but can also be sipped throughout the year, reminiscent of the warmth shared during Tết.

6. Traditional Clothing – Áo Dài

The Áo Dài is the national costume of Vietnam, often adorned during Tết for its elegance and cultural significance. Gifting an Áo Dài shows immense respect for the recipient’s heritage and offers them a symbol of pride to wear on special occasions.

7. Fruit Baskets

Symbolic fruits such as custard apples, papayas, and watermelons are often included in gift baskets. Each fruit carries a specific meaning, like prosperity, happiness, or auspiciousness, turning a simple fruit basket into a basket brimming with good wishes.

8. Home Decor Items

Household items that usher in luck and prosperity, such as paintings or sculptures of the zodiac animal of the year, are traditionally exchanged during Tết. These gifts serve as beautiful reminders of the new year’s hopes and dreams.


Choosing a Tết gift is an art that balances tradition, cultural understanding, and the unique relationship between the giver and the recipient. Whether you opt for the red of Lì Xì or the sweetness of Mut Tết, the essence of your gift is a shared moment of joy and the promise of a new beginning.

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Avery Ingram

Avery Ingram


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