The first day of Tết is reserved for the immediate family. Children are given red envelopes containing money from their elders referred to as Lì Xì. Usually, children wear new clothes and give their elders the traditional Tết greetings before receiving the money. Since Vietnamese believe that the first visitor a family receives in the year determines their fortune as such people never enter other’s home on the first day without being invited first. During subsequent days, people visit relatives and friends.
Food & Flowers of Tết in Vietnamese language, to celebrate Tết is to ăn Tết, literally meaning "eat Tết", showing the importance of food in the celebration. Some of the dishes can be enjoyed all year-round, while other dishes are only served during Tết. It is also believed to be good luck to enjoy vegetarian dishes on Tết. Some of the traditional dishes reflect this.
Popular traditional foods served during Tết are:
Bánh chưng and bánh tét: tightly packed sticky rice with meat or bean fillings wrapped in Dong (Bánh Chưng in the north) or banana leaves (Bánh Tét in the south).Considered an indispensable dish of Tet, Bánh Chưng or Bánh Tét is placed on the family altars to honor the ancestors and pray for their support in the new year.
Hạt Dưa: roasted watermelon seeds.
Dưa Hành: pickled onion and cabbage.
Củ Kiệu: pickled small leeks.
Mứt: These dried candied fruits are rarely eaten at any time besides Tết.
Thịt Kho Tàu: "Meat Stewed in Coconut Juice", a traditional dish of pork belly and medium boiled eggs stewed overnight in a broth-like sauce, often eaten with pickled bean sprouts and chives and white rice.
Vietnamese families traditionally lay out a tray of 5 fruits at the altar called “Mâm Ngũ Quả”. The fruits are colorful and meaningful. Asian mythology, the world is made of five basic elements: metal, wood, water, fire and earth. The plate of fruits on the family alter at New Year is one of the several ways to represent this concept. It also represents the desire for good crops and prosperity.
Similar to the pine tree for Christmas holiday in the West, Vietnamese also use many kinds of flowers and plants to decorate their homes for the holiday. Traditional plants include the Hoa Đào (Peach Blossom), Hoa Mai (Ochna Integerrima) and Cây Quất (Kumquat Tree). These plants represent coziness and prosperity. Other flowers may be displayed too.