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Vietnamese New Year 2022 Preparations for Expats and Foreign Businesses

Tet, or Vietnamese New Year, is the country’s most important public holiday. The year’s longest holiday is marked by an increase in international arrivals, which results in the closure of establishments, as well as scheduled activities and celebrations over the holiday season.

The Vietnamese New Year (Tet or Tet Nguyen Dan in Vietnamese) is the country’s most important traditional festival, as well as the country’s longest public holiday, lasting up to 10 days.

“Chuc Mung Nam Moi” is the customary greeting for wishing your clients a good new year. If the partnership does not demand a gift, it is usual to send at least a physical card or an e-card to the partner offices.

Vietnamese family offers prayers in a temple as part of Vietnamese New Year celebration.
Vietnamese family offers prayers in a temple as part of Vietnamese New Year celebration.

The emphasis on historical customs and family relationships is the most essential component of the Lunar New Year in Vietnam. For most Vietnamese, seeing their parents over the holidays is essential; weeks before the holiday, airplane and train ticket costs skyrocket as people flock to their hometowns from the major hubs of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang.

Tet is the Vietnamese counterpart of the Lunar New Year, which is celebrated in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, as well as countries with large Chinese diasporas like Singapore. Other Asian nations, such as South Korea and Vietnam, also have their own lunar new year celebrations.

The Lunisolar calendar determines the festival’s date, which can fall somewhere between January 21 and February 20. The shift from the year of the Cow to the year of the Tiger will take place on February 1 this year, while preparations begin after the western new year and even before that. In 2022, the holiday will begin on January 29 (Saturday) and end on February 6 (Monday) (Sunday).

Though Tet has the same origins as the Chinese New Year, it is celebrated with distinctive Vietnamese aspects that set it apart from other versions of the event. Preparing and eating different traditional foods with their own symbolic importance is one example. The table for the celebration usually includes braised pork dishes, glutinous rice cake, candied fruits, and pickled vegetables among many others.

Families will clean and decorate their homes to celebrate the Vietnamese New Year in preparation for the Ong Cong Ong Tao or Kitchen Guardians’ Day ritual on the 23rd day of the lunar year’s last month. Families during this time of year normally prepare a feast to venerate the three kitchen guardians and beg for a full kitchen for the remainder of the year. The full kitchen symbolizes prosperity.

During the Vietnamese New Year, red envelopes, or ‘Li Xi’ in Vietnamese, are typically handed to children, younger coworkers, and support employees. The significance of these red items lies in the red envelopes themselves, which are thought to represent vitality, happiness, and good fortune. As a result, giving a red envelope is interpreted as conveying the recipient good wishes, pleasure, and luck.

Red envelopes are customarily handed out as gifts during the Vietnamese New Year.
Red envelopes are customarily handed out as gifts during the Vietnamese New Year.

Vietnamese New Year customs and incentives for businesses

The habit of offering a Tet bonus to each employee, which may be as much as a month’s salary or more, is something that company owners and international employers should be aware of.

Over 30,000 enterprises throughout the country reported Tet bonuses at an average of VND 6.36 million (US$280) during the 2021 Vietnamese New Year, down 5% from the previous year owing to the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic.

The average Tet bonus was estimated to be VND 8.8 million (US$386.76) this year, the same as in 2021, according to a survey by the HCMC Department of Labor Invalids and Social Affairs.

Despite the fact that the incentive is not required by law, it can help with employee satisfaction and retention. Due to the lack of a Tet bonus, many foreign firms have seen their valuable employees leave following the holidays. Because the Vietnamese New Year is a busy time for hiring and changing jobs, the incentive should be utilized to both reward and retain personnel.

It should be established based on business success and employee performance if there is no mandated rate. Despite the fact that workers are entitled to a holiday break, certain employers may need or offer them to work during this time due to the nature of the job or particular requirements. Foreign enterprises are more likely to experience this than their domestic rivals.

Employers must, however, give them at least three times their typical salary in order to do so. Employees can be rewarded in a variety of ways other than cash. Employees are often given Vietnamese New Year incentives such as return train tickets to travel to their hometowns, as well as precious and expensive items such as household appliances and motorcycles (which is ubiquitous to Vietnam).

Aside from that, it is common to present gifts such as exotic delicacies or bottles of wine to top partners or clients as a hope for healthy ties in the next year, especially in business. People usually like to get a gift basket that includes a variety of foods, such as cookies, chocolates, fruits, wine, soft beverages, and other delicacies.

This variety is meant to represent the desires for a prosperous, successful, and bountiful new year.Spirits, wine, and local delicacies were the three most popular presents for business partners in 2020, according to a report.

Small businesses sold Vietnamese New Year items last year despite the threat of infection.
Small businesses sold Vietnamese New Year items last year despite the threat of infection.

Giving presents is generally considered as a form of bribery and is heavily restricted under numerous compliance requirements, making this custom troublesome for foreign businesses from western countries. However, the differences in custom and culture should be taken into account and transmitted to foreign headquarters in order to develop an awareness of the local corporate culture, which may necessitate exceptions.

During this festive season, every firm conducting business in Vietnam should be prepared to follow local customs.

Closures of businesses during Vietnamese New Year

Despite the fact that Tet will come on February 1 in 2022, businesses and industries in Vietnam are usually closed for nine days from January 29 to February 6. This includes five days set aside by the Labor Code for the Tet holiday, as well as four additional days on the weekend for the Vietnamese New Year in 2022.

During this period, banks and schools will also be closed. To minimize delays in manufacturing and backlogs that can last up to two weeks before the holiday, manufacturers should prioritize orders and work with partners accordingly.

Both manufacturers and customers should pay close attention to the ordering procedure. Problems with hurried manufacturing before and after the lunar new year can be avoided if consumers put their orders early.

Most firms will gradually return and plan their output within the first week after the holiday, but some may take longer to prepare for full operations.

Large-scale migration days before Vietnamese New Year

Typically, millions of migrant workers in large cities travel home to their family to celebrate Vietnamese New Year. This results in overcrowding at airports, bus terminals, and railway stations, as well as quieter and empty streets in town a few days leading to the holiday. Domestic travel volumes are expected to spike, particularly on the South-North and North-South routes before and after the break. This is due to the fact that many individuals from the north are seeking jobs in southern cities.

This year, though, things could be a little different. Many employees have been compelled to return to their hometowns as a result of the pandemic, which has resulted in company closures and a decline in the labor force. These personnel are unlikely to return to the city until after Tet. The Immigration Department has recently eased entry protocols for foreigners and overseas Vietnamese in anticipation of the Vietnamese New Year.

Temples are disinfected for Vietnamese New Year celebration.
Temples are disinfected for Vietnamese New Year celebration.

Furthermore, the news of the Omicron variant’s community transmission may prevent people from going.

The government has not yet set any rigorous travel restrictions; but, individual provinces or towns may impose quarantine and testing requirements for anyone traveling over the Holiday season. Some others have traveled early to finish their quarantine requirement before the holiday, according to local media.

As a result, it’s a good idea to check COVID-19 testing and quarantine rules with the local government, hotels, and airline companies in your destination city before traveling or arranging cross-region activities.

Expect delays in services after the Vietnamese New Year

The Vietnamese ports and port warehouses are expected to be closed over the Vietnamese New Year holiday, but the terminals will remain open for incoming vessels. The ports operate overtime in the days leading up to the festival, trying to load all export goods and unload all import commodities before the company closes.

When the ports reopen after the holiday, they will be at full capacity. They may, however, have to contend with excessive traffic at the ports. Businesses could expect delays as a result of the closure, which will last for a week. Timelines normally take longer to return to normal in the North than in the South. This might result in even more supply chain delays.

Foreign companies with supply chains in Vietnam should keep in touch with their suppliers, who may be experiencing labor shortages, to ensure that items can be delivered on time. While the event has come to an end, it might take some time for things to normalize again.

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