The 5th February represents New Year in many Asian countries including Vietnam – where we travel in April. It’s an ancient ritual following the Lunar calendar which has twenty nine and a half days per month – the Luna year around 354 days, thus losing 11 days each year compared to the Gregorian calendar. Many religious festivals still follow the ancient Lunar or solar calendar system – this s why Easter for example, falls on different times each year.
Nepal, another country we will be visiting this October, also uses the Lunar Cycle, but unusually they have several different new years including Buddhist, Solar and Western – the Nepalese like their festivals!
New Year in Vietnam is called Tet, it will take place this Tuesday; it’s the biggest event in the Vietnam. (By the way the Vietnamese language only has one syllable per word – hence the more accurate description Viet (veet) Nam).
Lunar New Year is also celebrated in China (simply known as Chinese New Year) and the many China towns in Western cities will be celebrating. But for now back to Viet Nam; where celebrations will shortly begin. Businesses will close, families will get together, and quite a lot of beer will be drunk, under a full moon. Happy New Year!