Flora for Tet – The Vietnamese New Year

Hanoi is a hive of activity in the build up to Tet – the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, which begins on Monday the 23rd of January.  It is the most important holiday of the year and also seen as the beginning of Spring. Tet is a time to visit relatives, give presents, buy new clothes, pay off debts, and give one’s house a very thorough clean!

It is also particularly important to decorate one’s house or shop especially with golden Kumquat trees in fruit, pink peach trees in early blossom, and bright yellow bonsai style apricot trees (more a southern tradition).  There are also numerous temporary shops which have sprung up selling huge displays of Cymbidium and Phalaenopsis Orchids.

The kumquat tree, is supposed to make the house feel brighter and warmer in the cold winter, with the fruit symbolizing prosperity for the New Year; the more fruit – the luckier your family. It ends up looking a bit like a Christmas tree, as it is then decorated with cards and lucky ornaments. People often pre-book their trees in advance, so in the week before Tet the usual traffic is flooded with a sea of trees being delivered to both businesses and private homes. Below are some picture from the streets of Hanoi in the lead up to Tet.