December 1, 2022 Posted by Vietnam Briefing Written by Julia Goeb và Cece NguyenReading Time: 5 minutes
Vietnamese Lunar New Year, or Tet, is the most important public holiday in the country.

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The longest holiday of the year marks a time of increased travel resulting in the closure of businesses, with planned events, và festivities during the holiday period.Vietnam Briefing provides a general overview of the New Year Holiday including what businesses should expect & be aware of.

Vietnamese Lunar New Year (Tet or Tet Nguyen Dan in Vietnamese) is the most important traditional holiday in Vietnam & also marks the longest public holiday in the country with up to lớn ten consecutive work-free days. 

The most important aspect of the Lunar New Year in Vietnam is the emphasis on the old traditions & family relations. For most Vietnamese, visiting their parents over the holidays is crucial; weeks before the holiday, flight and train ticket prices sharply increase, as people leave the major hubs of Hanoi, Ho chi Minh City, và Da Nang towards their hometowns. 

Tet is the Vietnamese version of the Lunar New Year in mainland China, Hong Kong, & Taiwan but is also influential in areas with major Chinese diasporas, such as Singapore. Several other Asian countries, including South Korea and Vietnam, celebrate their own lunar new year holidays as well.

The date of the festival is dictated by the Lunisolar calendar & can therefore fall anywhere between January 21 và February 20. This year, the transition from the year of the tiger lớn the year of the cát will begin on January 22, though preparations usually begin after the western new year. In 2023, the holiday will likely be from Saturday, January 21, 2023, lớn Sunday, January 29, 2023.

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Though Tet shares the same origins with the Chinese New Year, it is celebrated with chất lượng Vietnamese characteristics that distinguish it from forms of the festival anywhere else. One example is the preparation và consumption of distinctive traditional foods with their own symbolic value (glutinous rice cake, braised pork dishes, pickled vegetables, và candied fruits among many others).

In celebration of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, families will be cleaning and decorating their houses lớn prepare for the Ong Cong Ong Tao (Kitchen Guardians’ Day) ceremony on the 23rd day of the last month of the lunar year. This is usually the time of the year for family gatherings as families will prepare a feast to worship the three kitchen guardians và ask for a full kitchen for the rest of the year.

Red envelopes, or ‘Li Xi’ in Vietnamese, are commonly given lớn children, younger colleagues, & supporting staff during the Lunar New Year Period. The significance of these red packets is the red envelopes themselves, which are seen to symbolize energy, happiness, and good luck. Therefore, when a red envelope is given, this is seen as sending good wishes, happiness, and luck lớn the receiver.

Tet traditions and bonuses for businesses in Vietnam

One aspect especially business owners & also foreign employers should be aware of is the custom of paying a Tet bonus to each staff, which can be as much as a monthly salary or more.

During the 2021 Lunar New Year, over 30,000 businesses nationwide reported Tet bonuses with an average amount of VND 6.36 million (US$280), down 5 percent compared to lớn the previous year due to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

According to lớn a study by the HCMC Department of Labor Invalids and Social Affairs, the average Tet bonus was reported to be VND 8.8 million (US$386.76) this year, the same as that of 2021.

Despite the bonus not being a legal obligation, it can facilitate employee satisfaction và retention. More than a few foreign employers have seen their valued staff leave after the holidays due khổng lồ the lack of a Tet bonus. Considering that the Lunar New Year is the high season for recruiting và job change, the bonus should be used lớn both motivate và retain employees. 

Without an obligated rate, it should be determined based on business results & the employees’ work performance. Though employees are entitled to a holiday break, some businesses might require or offer them khổng lồ work during this time depending on the nature of the work or special requirements. This is more frequent for foreign businesses than local counterparts.

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However, to do this, employers must pay them penalty rates. In addition lớn cash, enterprises can reward employees in other forms. In fact, many businesses give Lunar New Year incentives khổng lồ employees in the khung of train tickets to return to their hometowns as well as valuable and expensive objects such as household appliances & motorbikes (which are ubiquitous lớn Vietnam).

Besides that, especially in business, it is customary khổng lồ send gifts (normally imported delicacies or wine) to đứng đầu partners or clients. Usually, people prefer buying gift hampers that include different kinds of food such as cookies, chocolates, fruit baskets, wine, soft drinks, and other treats.

This variety is intended khổng lồ symbolize the wishes for a fruitful, prosperous, và successful new year. In 2020, according khổng lồ a report from Statista, the three most popular gifts for business partners were spirits, wine, & local delicacies.

This tradition might appear problematic to foreign businesspeople from western countries, as giving gifts is often seen as a khung of bribery và is highly regulated in various compliance regulations. However, the difference in custom and culture is worth considering & should be communicated to headquarters overseas in order to lớn create an understanding of the local business culture that may require exceptions.

Any company doing business in Vietnam should be prepared to adopt local practices over this festive period. 

Business closures over the Tet holiday

Even though in 2023, Tet falls on January 22, businesses & factories in Vietnam will likely be closed for nine days, Saturday, January 21, 2023, lớn Sunday, January 29, 2023. This includes five days promulgated by the Labor Code for the Tet holiday & the other four on the weekend for the 2023 Lunar New Year.

See also: Vietnam’s Public Holidays 2023

Banks and schools will also be closed during this time. To avoid delayed production & backlogs that can culminate up to one khổng lồ two weeks before the holiday, factories should process orders according khổng lồ their priorities và partner relationships.

It is advised that both manufacturers and buyers pay utmost attention lớn the ordering process. If the buyers place their orders early, problems with rushed production before & after the new year can be minimized.

Within the first week after the holiday, most businesses will slowly start reopening và planning their production, however, others might take longer to get ready for full operations.

Note: Usually, millions of migrant workers in major cities will return lớn their hometowns to celebrate Lunar New Year with their families. This results in crowded airports, and bus & train stations prior to lớn the holiday & quieter & emptier streets in the cities. Domestic travel volume is likely lớn boom, especially between Hanoi & Ho bỏ ra Minh City.

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Potential delays after Vietnamese Lunar New Year

During the Lunar New Year period, the Vietnamese ports và port warehouses will be closed while the terminals continue to work full-time and are mở cửa for incoming vessels. The days before the festival, the ports work overtime và try khổng lồ load all export cargo lớn unload all import shipments in time before the business closure.