The Lunar New Year in Vietnam (also known as Vietnamese New Year, Tet Holiday or Tet) takes place for 3 days, From 1st to 3th of January of the lunar calendar. However, before and after Tet, there are many important ceremonies in which there is the Ceremony Welcoming Ancestor. The Ceremony happens on December 30th (a full month) or 29th (a missing month) of the lunar calendar.
East Asian people, including Vietnamese people, believe that after death, the soul would be reborn as a human being, either going to heaven or going to hell. Whether in heaven or in hell, souls also come back to the human being’s world to enjoy Tet. Therefore, every year Vietnamese people organize the Ceremony Welcoming Ancestors (Vietnamese: Lễ Rước Ông Bà) coming back home to enjoy Tet. The ceremony expresses the offspring’s deep gratitude and respect to the ancestors, which is one of the spirit beauties of Vietnamese people.
The offerings of the Ceremony Welcoming Ancestor include lights, incense, wine, tea, flowers, fruits, and the foods are made from pork, chicken and duck meat. The offerings are divided into several trays. Besides the tray is for the ancestor, there are trays for the relatives’ souls, the Kitchen God (Vietnamese: Ông Táo), the Earth God (Ông Địa), the God of Wealth (Thần Tài), lonely souls (Cô Hồn). Separately, the tray for lonely souls is placed in front of the house.
After completing the table setting, the homeowner burns incense and goes to each tray to invite the gods, ancestors, relatives’ souls, and lonely souls to come back home to enjoy the meal and invites them (except lonely souls) to stay the house to enjoy Tet Holiday. At the end of the ceremony, people usually burn votive.
On this occasion, every family member, though lives far from home, also returns to offer to ancestor and reunite the family. The ceremony finishes, they eat, drink together and talk with each other happily. Therefore, family solidarity is consolidated.