Tet, also known as the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, is the most important holiday in Vietnam. It is a time of joy, celebration, and family reunions. One of the cherished customs during Tet is the exchange of gifts. In this article, we will explore the traditional procedures of gift-giving during Tet and compare them with modern practices.
Traditional Gift Giving during Tet
In the past, the process of gift-giving during Tet followed a set of traditional procedures that held great significance. These procedures were deeply rooted in Vietnamese culture and reflected the values of respect, gratitude, and wishes for a prosperous new year.
1. Choosing the Appropriate Gifts
Traditionally, the selection of gifts for Tet involved careful thought and consideration. People would choose gifts that symbolized good luck, happiness, and prosperity. Common gifts included fresh fruits, traditional sweets, flowers, and lucky money envelopes known as “li xi”.
2. Wrapping the Gifts
After choosing the gifts, they would be beautifully wrapped in colorful paper or cloth. The wrapping process was seen as an art form, and people would take great care to ensure that the gifts were presented in an aesthetically pleasing manner. The wrapping symbolized the care and effort put into the gift.
3. Presenting the Gifts
The presentation of gifts during Tet was a special moment. People would visit their relatives, friends, and neighbors, bringing gifts as a token of respect and good wishes. The gifts were handed over with both hands, accompanied by warm greetings and well wishes for the new year.
4. Receiving the Gifts
Upon receiving a gift, it was customary to express gratitude and appreciation. The recipient would accept the gift with both hands, showing respect for the giver. A polite thank you and exchange of good wishes would follow, strengthening the bond between the giver and the receiver.
Modern Practices of Gift Giving during Tet
While the traditional procedures of gift-giving during Tet still hold importance, modern practices have evolved with changing times. Today, there is a blend of traditional and contemporary approaches to gift-giving during Tet.
1. Diverse Gift Options
In modern times, the range of gifts exchanged during Tet has expanded. Alongside traditional gifts, people now also give practical items, clothing, electronics, and even gift vouchers. This allows individuals to choose gifts that suit the preferences and needs of the recipient.
2. Creative Wrapping
While the art of gift-wrapping remains, modern techniques and materials have added a touch of creativity. People now use decorative ribbons, personalized gift tags, and themed wrapping papers to make their gifts stand out. This adds a personal touch and enhances the overall presentation.
3. Convenient Delivery
In the past, gift-giving during Tet involved physically visiting each person to present the gifts. However, with the advancement of technology, it has become common to send gifts through delivery services or even online platforms. This allows people to send gifts to distant relatives and friends, ensuring that the spirit of giving is not limited by distance.
4. Digital Gift Cards and E-Gifts
Another modern practice that has gained popularity is the use of digital gift cards and e-gifts. These virtual gifts can be sent instantly via email or messaging apps, providing convenience and flexibility. Digital gift cards allow recipients to choose their preferred items, while e-gifts such as online subscriptions or virtual experiences offer unique gifting options.
While the traditional procedures of gift-giving during the Vietnamese holiday of Tet hold deep cultural significance, modern practices have evolved to adapt to changing times and preferences. The essence of respect, gratitude, and good wishes remains intact, but the methods of gift selection, wrapping, and delivery have expanded. Whether through traditional or modern means, the act of giving gifts during Tet continues to strengthen relationships, foster goodwill, and bring joy to both the giver and the receiver.