Many ethnic minority groups, such as Mong, Dao, Tay Nung and San Diu, do not sweep the house or empty out rubbish during the lunar New Year (Tet) festival. Cao Lan people do the same as they are afraid of disturbing the Fortune God’s slumber and that their luck may also be swept away.
Mong ethnic minority people do not eat vegetables on the New Year Day, since, if they do, they think that means they will have to eat nothing but vegetables for the whole year to come. Cu Duy Man in Dong Van in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang, said that Mong people are told not to do many things during Tet. They should not blow out a flame for fear that storms will hit their region in the year. On New Year’s Day, people should not wake each other up to prevent insects from damaging crops.
Many ethnic groups through the countries, from the plains to mountainous regions, often bring water to their houses on the New Year Day as they believe that fortune will flow into their house as much as water. People of Chinese origin take water and fresh flowers on New Year’s Eve and put them on their ancestoral altar to pray for bumper crops. On New Year Day they water their body to pray for luck. Pu Peo people bring water to their house on New Year’s Eve and consider it “silver and gold water”.
Cung Chan Trang, a resident in Pho La, Dong Van, Ha Giang province, said people often use the water they take on this occasion to wash their children’s faces in the hope that they will be brighter and more intelligent. After washing, the water is poured around the inside of the house, as it symbolizes fortune, silver and gold, he added.
On the New’s Year Day, Thai ethnic people in Moc Chau in the north-western mountainous province of Son La, get up early and go to a stream to wash their faces and pick up a stone to pray for luck. Then they visit their relatives and extend Tet greetings. Meanwhile, Thai people in Quynh Nhai, Son La, organise a hair washing ceremony at 1pm on the day before New Year’s Eve in the hope that bad luck and hardship suffered in the old year will soon be washed away, and the new year will bring luck, happiness and bumper crops.
Meanwhile, Lo Lo people take things from other people’s houses which they think will bring luck, such as onions, garlic, pieces of firewood or vegetable plants. They believe that if they can take something into their house before New Year’s Eve, their family will be wealthy and happy. Vang Thi Thanh from Lo Lo ethnic group from Lung Cu, Dong Van, Ha Giang, said each year has 12 months, so she often takes 12 logs of firewood or 12 vegetable leaves. People often take the root of a garlic tree, however, it will be bad luck if someone fails to completely up root the tree, she explained.
On New Year’s Day, the Phu La people get up early to bring water home and boil it to drink or boil it with leaves to bath for good health. Other ethnic groups also follow suit. Perhaps, water is an indispensable part of life in an agricultural country like Vietnam.