Up to now, Tet market is not only a market to buy and sell goods, but also is a representation of the diverse culture of the Vietnamese. Tet market creates nostalgic feelings in grandparents and parents and educates children about traditional values. Therefore, Tet market has always been an important part of the culture of Vietnamese Tet Holiday (Lunar New Year).
It is no coincidence that Vu Bang or Doan Van Cu had poetic feelings and descriptions of the Tet market of the Vietnamese people in “Missing December” and “Tet market”. Tet market has long been a unique cultural feature of the Vietnamese people. Every year, I go to the market to buy offerings for Tao Quan (Kitchen Gods in Vietnamese culture), which reminds me of the following Doan Van Cu verses: “The white cloud gradually reddens on the mountain top/ Pink and blue mist, hugging the roof of the cottage/ On the road with white borders on the edge of a green hill / People from the hamlets jubilantly go to the Tet market”. It makes me long for home. It reminds me of the times when I followed my grandma and mother to the Tet markets, etc.
In Vietnamese countryside, there are many that are typically held at specified times, may be in the morning, afternoon or on even and odd days. However, beginning on the lunar calendar’s 23rd of December each year, these markets do not hold in session but take place all day. The sellers sell a few things that are in the garden, in the barn or obtained in the forest. The sellers do not overcharge, and the buyers do not bargain. They give each other joy, warmth, and sincerity. In some places, the market takes place right on an alley at the beginning of the village or on an empty lawn. The market is a location for individuals who have just returned from a trip to meet their neighbors, exchange old and new stories, etc., creating a lively mood. Tet market is also an opportunity for children in the village to follow their mom to buy clothes and toys. All of them make Tet markets more colorful and diverse.
Nowadays, the speed of urbanization and the pace of digital life have made it possible for housewives to purchase online. However, that utility is only popular in everyday life. Tet markets with traditional activities still have a unique attraction. Most mothers and sisters look forward to Tet Holidays so that they can go to the market to buy stuff. The need to visit the Tet market is so ingrained in the mind that by month, by day, and by that color of space, it occurs naturally.
For women, the Tet market is also a place where their divine duties are expressed. It may have to be a little crowded, a little noisy, but both buyers and sellers feel sacred and respectful feeling when buying and selling a flower branch, a few areca berries, a few betel nut, a few incense sticks, raw meat, rice, glutinous rice, fish sauce, salt, dong leaves, etc. The quantity may not be much, but the purchase and selling make people find a lot of spiritual meaning in preparing stuff, etc.
Tet market brings together many traditional cultural aspects of Vietnam. Each place has its own distinctive features. That cultural attribute can be seen in the way people go to the market, in the items, and in the minds of those who go to the market. Above all, going to the market allows you to observe the intimacy, gentleness, sincerity, and simplicity of both the seller and the buyer”.
In urban areas, Tet Market will often be more modern but still have the common features of a warm spring market with a traditional flavour. There are still Tet-related items available, such as food, drinks, agricultural products, and decorations, etc., as well as some cultural activities for children such as: A corner for Chung cake (square glutinous cake with pork and green bean inside) wrapping, To He (dough kneading to shape kinds of stuff), or traditional games such as fishing, painting. All of these elements combine to create a vibrant and intimate spring scene.
Ms. Lan Anh (living in Ciputra Hanoi International City) said: “Now, in the age of technology, people bring goods to your place, we just need to sit at home and shopping online. However, Tet market is different. Our family has made it a staple to go to the Tet market. No matter where we go, whatever we do, we also return to go to the Tet markets. Maybe without shopping or window shopping to listen to a bit of the atmosphere of the old days, etc.”.
Modern life has brought different Tet, different ways of enjoying Tet. However, Vietnamese people still go to Tet markets in order to immerse themselves in the traditional cultural space of the nation. At Tet markets, people expressed their desire for a prosperous life. At Tet markets, people find great spiritual values in the simplicity and sincerity of the traditional market. Tet is therefore also more interesting, etc.