Foreigners coming to Vietnam, especially those from Western-based culture may feel strange with the lunar calendar that is frequently used along with the international solar calendar. Unlike the Japanese (they use the lunar calendar for lunar-based holidays, like Tet holiday), Vietnamese use both kinds of calendars in their daily life.
Solar calendar is used for some events related to works or birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Meanwhile, Lunar Calendar has more impacts on religion-based activities. For example, Tet Holidays, Full Moon Day, Hung King Death anniversary and many festivals of Vietnam is counted according to the lunar calendar.
Death anniversaries of ancestors are the most important occasions that any Vietnamese must remember when they are mature in order to worship and pay tribute to their ancestors who passed away, and also chances for the whole family to have meaningful get-togethers. If a family member passes away, the family will have to inform others in both solar day and lunar day.
Moreover, the first day and 15th day (full moon) are considered special days of month, when people usually go to temple or pagoda for worshipping or chanting, and some people eat vegetarian foods these days with an aim to purify their soul.
Special events of a person life is also counted according to the lunar calendar, like establishing new house, getting married, setting up new offices and so on.
Many people believe that each lunar year is ruled by a separated star, and if the star has conflict with the star of their fate, that year is a bad year and they are supposed not to carry on important activities like marriage and house construction.
The lunar months also have influence on how Vietnamese carry out their everyday activity. It is widely believed that shaving or having a hair cut before the 15th day of lunar month will deprive you of all lucks. Therefore, many Vietnamese avoid shaving or cutting their hair in the first half of lunar months. Some foods, like dog meat, squid or duck are considered bad luck and will drive away happiness if they are consumed in the first few days of lunar months too.
On the other hand, these foods are believed to take away bad lucks of lunar months if people eat them at the end of months. In general, the lunar calendar is a traditional norm of Vietnam, used for thousands years, and Vietnamese just simply are find it hard to live without it. Below is a sample of the bloc of calendar that are used widely in all Vietnamese homes. The larger number shows the solar calendar day and the smaller yellow one shows the corresponding lunar day.
Do you know which date Vietnam Lunar New Year will fall on this year? Visit our Vietnam New Year 2012 - Tet for full details.