How to Celebrate and Say “Happy New Year” in Vietnamese

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Huan Phu

Last Updated: January 31, 2024

“Chuc mung nam moi” means “Happy New Year” in Vietnamese. But how do Vietnamese generally celebrate the holiday?

Believe it or not, Vietnam has two New Years! The Lunar New Year (or “Tet,” as it’s called in Vietnam) is celebrated in late January or early February and is an integral part of traditional Vietnamese culture. In recent decades, the Roman calendar new year has become more popular in big cities and amongst the Vietnamese youth. Both days have tons of festivities like fireworks shows, midnight countdown parties, and lots and lots of drinking. The typical New Years Eve celebrations are especially huge in big cities like Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Da Nang, but they are still present throughout the country. However, the lunar New Year TET is undoubtedly the most important holiday for Vietnamese people.

Looking to revel in the joyous festivities taking place and wish your Vietnamese friends a happy new year but haven’t fully grasped the Vietnamese language? Read on for some cultural insight and ways to say “Happy New Year” in Vietnamese that are promised to impress your Vietnamese friends and make you feel more intertwined with the culture of Vietnam this New Year, whether we’re talking about the Lunar one or the Roman calendar one.

How Do Vietnamese People Celebrate The New Year?

Let’s talk about the two separate New Years.

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Traditional Tet activities in Ha Noi. Photo from Lao Dong Newspaper

How Do Vietnamese Celebrate Tet?

Tet is Vietnam’s biggest holiday and is a celebration of the arrival of the New Year based on the Lunar Calendar, with the first day of the year falling in January or February in the Roman calendar. It is an important occasion and Vietnamese people usually gather with their families to express their respects for ancestors and usher in a happy new year!

To learn more about the holiday, check out our in-depth guide on how Tet is celebrated in Vietnam.

How Do Vietnamese Celebrate the Roman Calendar New Year?

The Roman calendar New Year is known in Vietnamese as “Tết Tây,” which literally translates to “Western Tet.”

Under the French Colonial rule, the Western calendar was adopted and Western New Year has since become a joyous occasion enjoyed by many throughout Vietnam. Though not widely regarded as a traditional holiday in Vietnam nor does it have any customs or traditions associated with it, Western New Year often sees many family reunions exchanging festive wishes (often ‘good luck’ and ‘good health) during the new year celebration.

Young Vietnamese, on the other hand, often gather together for meals, leisure activities, movies and photography to share New Year wishes. In the weeks leading up to the New Year, popular streets, shops, convention centers and large buildings are flanked with festive decorations. End-of-year shopping sales keep Vietnamese people entertained till the moment the clock strikes midnight and fireworks are set off!

When this happens, Vietnamese people join the countdown from 10 to 0, ushering in the happy new year with joyous greetings like “Happy New Year!” or, in Vietnamese, “Chúc mừng năm mới.” In major cities such as Hanoi, Saigon, and Da Nang, fireworks are set off.

Vietnamese Language Tips: Phrases to know during New Year!

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Colorful potted plants display along the sidewalk when Tet comes. Photo by Eric Barbeau

If you find yourself in the company of Vietnamese families, friends, or colleagues this New Year season, whether it’s the Lunar New Year or the Roman Calendar New Year, here are some common ways to wish them Happy New Year in Vietnamese… or something similar to express New Year wishes:

  • Happy New Year!: Chúc mừng năm mới
  • Good health: Dồi dào sức khỏe
  • I wish you prosperity: An khang thịnh vượng
  • May you thrive: Phát tài phát lộc
  • May all your wishes come true: Vạn sự như ý
  • I wish you longevity: Sống lâu trăm tuổi (used by children for elders)
  • Here’s wishing you plenty of good health: Sức khỏe dồi dào
  • Be successful at work: Làm ăn tấn tới
  • Congratulations and be prosperous: Cung hỉ phát tài
  • New year, new triumphs: Năm mới thắng lợi mới (often heard in political speech)
  • Eat more, grow rapidly: Chúc hay ăn chóng lớn (for children)
  • I hope that you will get promoted in the new year: Năm mới thăng quan tiến chức
  • I hope that the new year will bring health and peace to your family: Năm mới toàn gia bình an

Remember that the Vietnamese language is heavily based on tones, so make sure to practice the phrase with a Vietnamese speaker before whipping it out for real, as is the case whenever you learn Vietnamese.

There are a few other phrases for “Happy New Year” from Sino-Vietnamese that aren’t used in daily life. Instead, you might see them in books or movies set in ancient Vietnam. They include:

  • Cung chúc tân niên
  • Cung chúc tân xuân
  • Cung hỷ phát tài

You should also familiarize yourself with general Vietnamese etiquette and make sure to conduct yourself properly if you’re spending New Years with Vietnamese friends.

Where to Celebrate the New Year in Ho Chi Minh City

Whether you’re looking to end your year off with a quiet and intimate affair or with a bang surrounded by famous singers and a live DJ, Ho Chi Minh City has a myriad of options for you to choose from. Check them out below:


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Fireworks display over city at Bitexco building during Lunar New Year’s Eve. Photo by Streetwindy

Saigon’s fireworks shoot off near the Bitexco tower, which is located in the heart of District 1, and see hundreds of people crowding the streets around the tower as well as across the Saigon River, just to catch the fireworks. Expect massive crowds, insane traffic, motorbikes and cars as well as streetside stools and tables parked along the highway.

Nonetheless, the spirits are high and everyone is still jolly. However, if this is not your cup of tea, fret not as there are plenty of restaurants, bars and hotels where you can catch a view of fireworks from the safety and comforts of your own space as you welcome a happy new year.

Nguyen Hue Walking Street

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Nguyen Hue Cafe Apartment Building. Photo by Jet Dela Cruz

During the new year, motorbikes and cars are not allowed on Nguyen Hue Walking Street. This makes the iconic street, which stretches from the beautiful People’s Committee Building all the way to the Saigon River, a popular destination for many Vietnamese young couples and teens to hang out and catch the fireworks. This is usually followed by some card games accompanied by some delicious street food, of course. Here, you can catch a pretty decent view of the fireworks albeit not the best but you won’t be disappointed with the eclectic mix of street performers and live music!

Rooftop Bars

Banana Mama Rooftop Bar
This bar stands as a true oasis with a coastal vibe among many rooftop bars. Photo on Banana Mama Rooftop Bar

A great view of the fireworks, playful cocktails and a buzzing atmosphere in the company of your friends and loved ones, what more can you want? Thankfully, Saigon is home to a host of rooftop bars with different budgets drinks and locations. For this reason, a rooftop bar party is one of the best ways to usher in the new year in Saigon. Keep in mind that you will probably need to make a reservation for most of these places, so call early and book ahead! Some offer alcohol promotion and food packages as well!

Read our guide to the best rooftop bars in Ho Chi Minh City for some specific suggestions.

River Boat Cruises

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Photo by Saigon Princess Cruise

Saigon’s river boat cruises are a truly fabulous way to see the city’s top spots. The Saigon River is a destination in itself and one that allows you to take in the sights of famous landmarks such as Vinhomes Central Park, Saigon New Port and Dong Tay Boulevard along the way. On Roman calendar New Year’s Eve, a riverboat cruise is a front-row seat to the spectacular fireworks show and needless to say, you’ll be spoiled for choice with footage for your Instagram as you experience the start of a happy new year.

Whether you’re a hopeless romantic or simply looking to indulge in a unique and memorable experience this New Year’s eve, a cruise along the scenic and iconic Saigon River is the way to go. Once again, be sure to book in advance as this popular option tends to fill up!

A few of the best choices for Saigon River dinner cruises are:


Hotel des Arts Saigon - MGallery
Photo by Hotel des Arts Saigon – MGallery

Lucky for us, Saigon has many fantastic hotels of different types and budgets for you to choose from. From chic boutique hotels to luxurious heritage hotels, cosy up under the sheets with your other half or have an urban getaway and party the night away with your friends. Even just for a night, we highly recommend booking a room to avoid being caught in Saigon’s infamous New Year trafficwhich has been known to leave people stranded for hours! Some of the best hotels to view the New Year fireworks include:

  • Hotel des Arts Saigon – MGallery Collection
  • Park Hyatt Saigon
  • InterContinental Saigon Hotel
  • The Reverie

For more recommendations, check out our list of staycation hotels in Ho Chi Minh City.

New Year’s Eve Dinner and New Year Day Brunches

If you’re like us and planning to ring in the new year with our spirits high and bellies full, you’ll be pleased to know Vietnam’s biggest and most exciting city has got you covered. After the tough year we all had, we’re all looking to indulge in some guilty pleasure (and stuffing) and what better way than to end the year with a nourishing and indulgent meal with close ones.

After many months of no dining at restaurants, it’s time to let the good times roll. Whether you are looking for a sit-down dinner with loved ones or something more jubilant, we have got just the event for you.

Chuc Mung Nam Moi!

Whether it’s the Lunar New Year or the Roman Calendar New Year, it’s a good excuse to hug your loved ones, tell the people who matter why they’re important to you, and celebrate the night away while sharing your New Year wishes. Whether it’s from the comfort of your own home, along Nguyen Hue Walking Street, or next to the DJ deck on the rooftop of Le Meridien Hotel, make sure to shout ‘Chúc mừng năm mới’ when the clock strikes midnight to welcome a happy new year!

No matter if this is your first time in Vietnam or you are a local, our Ho Chi Minh City guide is the first step when conquering this crazy city. Check it out now to see what you’ve been missing!

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Huan Phu
Editor at Vietnam Is Awesome
Unearthing untold stories in the heart of Vietnam. Your eyes to the unseen, your voice to the unheard. Exploring the rich tapestry of this nation, one headline at a time. Join me on this journalistic journey!