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Evolving Tết Traditions at Four Seasons Nam Hai

From food to games to gift-giving, Tết is filled with unique traditions. Many of the activities and rituals associated with the Lunar New Year developed over centuries, including during eras of austerity. But as Vietnam continues its economic growth and families become more affluent, locals are able to enjoy more luxurious Tết holidays.

Saigoneer spoke with the Four Seasons Nam Hai in Hoi An to learn about some of the ways in which long-held traditions are being honored in lavish contexts. The world-renowned Hoi An resort has been adapting to cater to domestic tourists in response to COVID-19 travel restrictions, and the Lunar New Year provides a sterling example of how international standards can incorporate Vietnamese preferences. 

While different regions have their own Tết favorites and families often have certain dishes they are more proud of, food rests at the center of the holiday. Holiday meals were originally developed in response to what fruits, vegetables and seafood were in season at this time of year, and the Four Season Nam Hai’s special Tết dinner similarly relies on fresh local ingredients and Hoi An specialties. The feast includes crispy pork belly, steamed sea bass, and goat curry. And whether working shoulder-to-shoulder to wash, chop, wrap, fry or steam items, or gathering around the table to slowly savor each bite, food is an important communal activity, so everything served at the Grand Tết BBQ on February 4th and preceding hot pot dinner on January 29 is to be shared. Similarly, on February 2nd, the Bounty of the Sea buffet features the freshest crabs, lobster giant prawns and seafood from the area. 

In the past, taking a family photo may have been a rare occurrence reserved for special occasions. The ubiquity of camera phones have made selfies and group shots a part of everyday life, yet there is still something special about dressing up in new clothes and posing beside meticulously manicured scenes filled with vibrant nature and unique cultural designs. The Four Seasons Nam Hai team has thus created special scenes to take photos among so families and loved ones can forever cherish the beginning of the Year of the Tiger.

Before the internet and the modern day’s plethora of entertainment options, Tết was a time to take a break from school and work by playing simple games with friends and family and make humble arts and crafts. The Four Seasons Nam Hai is honoring those nostalgic moments by hosting a variety of games and activities for children. For example, the Bamboo Dance, a fast-paced game originating in Mường ethnic minority communities, is being offered at the resort’s Chuon Chuon Kids Club alongside lantern, paper flower and card-making workshops. These simple activities are great ways for kids to connect with the slow-paced entertainment of the past.

Adults too look forward to Tết as a time to rest and relax. The weeks leading up to Lunar New Year can be hectic with business obligations and household chores, so everyone can use some pampering. While this traditionally meant spending more time resting at home and lounging in living rooms while entertaining guests, some Vietnamese today are looking for even more indulgent means of relaxation. A special New Year Renew Ritual treatment at Four Seasons’ Heart of the Earth Spa relies on the teachings of Zen Buddhist Thích Nhất Hạnh and signature singing bowls to rebalance one’s energy. Moreover, yoga and meditation sessions help people begin the new year rejuvenated. 

Lunar New Year has always been a time to travel, often to one’s hometown. As the holiday evolves and families are more able to venture to exotic locales, leisure travel is becoming a favorite aspect of the holiday. Four Seasons has noticed that people increasingly want to soak up new scenes and experiences with their families. The spacious 35-hectare property directly on the ocean not only provides stunningly peaceful views, but the attentive staff ensures all guest needs are met. It can be a nice change from years past that were full of busy cleaning, hosting and visiting duties.

Tết will always be Vietnam’s most important holiday, but it will also continue to change over time in response to people’s desires and opportunities. Luxury resorts are taking notice and Four Seasons Nam Hai offers a perfect opportunity to savor the best of both traditional and modern Tết celebrations.


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Phone Number: +84 235 395 9879

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Block Ha My, Dong B, Điện Bàn, Quảng Nam, Vietnam