The Lo Lo people are one of the many ethnic minorities in Vietnam, living for many generations in the Dong Van Rocky Plateau.
Before the spring arrives, the Lo Lo try to finish their last tasks of the old year to prepare for the New Year ahead. The traditional customs of the group practiced at Tet are simple but attractive.
On Lunar December 28th – 29th, every family will clean their house and take all their unwanted rubbish to a three-way or four-way crossroads. This unusual practice represents the ‘outward passage’ of all the old, dirty and unwanted things from the last year, letting them then prepare for the good fortune of the year ahead.
In the afternoon of the last day of the year a feast is organized for all the family members to welcome the new year and for the head of the family wish them all good health.
In the same afternoon, all the working tools of families such as hoe, showel, knife, bush-hook, plough, harrow, trees around the houses and animal pens are adorned with yellow or silver papers so that everyone knows they are not to be touched or moved during the festival.
The last night of the year is the busiest with everyone in the hamlet staying awake. Grand mothers and children usually sit around a cooking fire to boil “Chung” cake and tell the stories of legend. Grand fathers sip wine. Young people “steal” something from another house, typically a low-value item such as some onions, firewood or garlic, in order to bring luck to their home.
According to the custom, the Lo Lo ethnic minority welcome New Year’s Eve from the first cockcrow in the hamlet. The head of the family calls on people to welcome the New Year. He burns incense at the altar to invite the ancestor to enjoy Tet. A member of the family is asked to get water, feed pigs and awaken all the animals so that the cries of the pig, bark of the dog, whining of the horse make the hamlet very noisy.