Why do Vietnamese people buy salt on Lunar New Year’s Day?

Update: 14:09 | 14/02/2021
TGVN. It is an age-old custom for Vietnamese people to purchase salt on the opening day of the Lunar New Year, known locally as Tet, in the belief that salt is capable of warding off evil spirits and bringing good luck for the family over the course of the coming year.
Why do Vietnamese people buy salt on Lunar New Year’s Day?
It is the belief among many citizens that salt is anti-defiling and is able to successfully ward off evil spirits. (Source: VOV)

Buying salt is a traditional custom that Vietnamese people have observed for centuries. Indeed, the practice originates from the local proverb, “Buying salt at the beginning of the year, buying lime at the end of the year.”

It is the belief among many citizens that salt is anti-defiling and is able to successfully ward off evil spirits whilst bringing good luck for family members. Therefore, it is common to see local people sprinkle salt on the street and around the house in the hope that peace will prevail.

Furthermore, the custom also comes from the Vietnamese proverb, “Salt is salty, ginger is spicy”, with salt being considered a symbol of affection, bonding, and fullness. People therefore buy salt at the beginning of the year in the hope that their family will enjoy harmony with all members remaining close-knit.

In northern regions, local people believe that purchasing salt at the beginning of the year will bring them good luck for the whole year. Therefore, many people have a habit of buying salt in order to bring home on the first day of the Lunar New Year.

In contrast, during the final days of the previous lunar year, people tend to buy lime to refurbish their house in the hope of avoiding any bad luck.

When the clock strikes midnight to mark the transition between the old and new year, some people can be seen walking along the streets and selling salt. The seller will measure a full bowl of salt with a top because it is thought that buying a full bowl with a top will bring fullness and good fortune in the year ahead.

Another meaning of buying salt is that someone hopes to save money at the beginning of the year in order to purchase lime that can be used to “build a house” at the end of the year.

After bringing it home, the buyer then divides the salt into small plastic bags or cloth bags for storage. Traders can then put the salt bags at the stall in order to pray for good fortune. Indeed, traveling far from home with a small bag of salt can also bring about good journey, according to traditional beliefs.

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(Source: VOV)