New Year in Vietnam: IELTS Listening Practice

This is an IELTS listening exercise which I have made for my Vietnamese students about their wonderful New Year’s celebration called Tết. It is a sentence completion practice so you will need to fill in the gaps as you listen. Remember to read the questions before listening to the audio. Answers do come in order.Tet IELTS listening

Tết Holiday (Vietnamese New Year)

Listening Practice

Complete the sentences using no more than three words.

  1. Another name for Tết is ……………….
  2. One typical dish at this time is a soup which is made from ………………..
  3. Lucky money is given to ………….. and …………………
  4. Before Tết, people buy ……….. trees and ………. blossom to adorn their house.
  5. …………  the house is forbidden during Tết.


Tết is celebrated on the same day as Chinese New Year, though exceptions arise due to the one-hour time difference between Hanoi and Beijing. It takes place from the first day of the first month of the Vietnamese calendar (around late January or early February) until at least the third day. Vietnamese people consider Tết to be the first day of spring and the festival is often called spring festival.

Many Vietnamese prepare for Tết by cooking special holiday foods and cleaning the house. These foods include square rice cake, Vietnamese sausage, dried young bamboo soup, sticky rice and boiled chicken. There are a lot of customs practiced during Tết, such as visiting a person’s house on the first day of the new year, ancestral worship, wishing New Year’s greetings and giving lucky money to children and elderly people.

There are certain things to observe during Tết and certain things to avoid. Houses are thoroughly cleaned in preparation for Tết. People buy kumquat trees and peach blossom to decorate their houses. There are dragon or lion dances in the streets. New clothes should be bought for every member of the family. And on New Year’s Eve, the kitchen god, Ong Tao, is welcomed back to the kitchen. On the other hand, somethings must be avoided. Sweeping during Tết is taboo and considered to be unlucky, since it symbolizes sweeping away the luck; that is why they clean before the new year. It is also taboo for anyone who experienced a recent loss of a family member to visit anyone else during Tết.

Note: I made a mistake in the audio in the second sentence. I said Chinese instead of Vietnamese. Sorry to all my Vietnamese students for that. Liz

  1. spring festival
  2. bamboo / young bamboo / dried young bamboo
  3. children elderly people (you need all three words correct for one point)
  4. kumquat peach (both answers needed for one point)
  5. sweeping (no capital letter is needed, see IELTS Exam FAQ page)
  • arises = happens
  • it is often called = it is frequently named
  • ancestral worship = praying to ancestors (past family members)
  • to observe = to follow (this is when relating to celebrations or festivals)
  • sweeping = using a brush to clean the floor
  • luck (noun) / lucky (adjective)
  • taboo = forbidden

Other Vocabulary

square cake

square cake (bánh chưng) = A cake which is made from sticky rice, mung bean and pork wrapped in leaves.


kumquat = A small citrus fruit similar to an orange. Both peel and flesh is eaten.


peach blossom = flowers on a peach tree


Happy New Year to all students in China and Vietnam as well as any others who are currently celebrating Lunar New Year. Wishing you all the best in the year to come. Liz

If you would like me to make a lesson about a festival or part of your culture, please let me know the details by posting a comment in the box below. Regards, Liz.

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  1. Hello Liz
    Shouldn’t “kumquat” start with a capital letter since it’s a name of a plant ?

  2. Rachid El Ghazi says:

    I am really very thankful, I am about to take an IELTS Test and this website is very helpful

    Best regards

  3. I got 1, 3 and 5.
    number 4 is a difficult word I just got ____ peach.. =’/

    ..still thank you Liz.

  4. sujit kumar biswas says:

    Hello liz
    I heard olderly instead of elderly. so if i write olderly would be correct anyway?

    s korea

    • Unfortunately, it would be marked wrong.

      • Hello Liz,
        Many thanks for your nice listening practice on Vietnamese culture.
        However, we do not play lion or dragon dance in streets in traditional Tet holidays. Maybe this is Chinese customs. Additionally, we play lion and dragon dance presentation in Mid-Autumn festival which is a special festival for children. Do you believe that the presentations usually take place in evenings for 15 days from 1st of Lunar August to 15th of Lunar August? Of course, children love the festival very much.

        • That’s right!! Yes, I remember now. I went to Hoi An and saw the lion dance at Mid-Autumn. Such a wonderful sight 🙂

        • Thu Nguyen says:

          Dear Chinh, Lion Dance is very popular in Hochiminh, especially from 1th to 15th Lunar January, when most of companies invite Lion to come for their opening ceremony in the beginning of the year.

          Dear Liz,
          Thank you for this special topic, although I still do not have chance to hear it as the firewall of the company’s laptop. Wishing you and your Family a Prosperous, Healthy and very Happy Rooster Year!

  5. Hi !
    Can I just write dried bamboo in question 2 ?

  6. syamnadh says:

    Hi Liz madam,
    It was excellent information about the Vietnamese celebration and their traditional practices. The people, like me, who are interested in observing different cultures and practices, love this session a lot. I want to add something, there is a similar festival in the South of India (named Vishu) celebrated by the Hindus. This celebration also includes sharing lucky money, visiting relatives, preparing special dishes and home preparations in exactly the similar as Vietnamese practice. This also earmarks the beginning of new year in local (Kerala) calendar ( Malayalam Language Calendar).
    Thank you for the beautiful session
    I got 3 on 5…I’ve made two mistakes both in fruit name and Sweeping (missed caps at the start)

    • syamnadh says:

      pls note the change : This celebration also includes sharing lucky money,visiting relatives, preparing special dishes and arranging the home in exactly the same way as the Vietnamese practice.

    • Thanks for sharing 🙂 Vishu looks an interesting festival.

  7. nagireddy dumpa says:


    your website is very useful…i have a doubt about capital letters…can we write full answer in capitals…like “SPRING FESTIVAL”…

  8. Duc Nguyen says:

    Hi Liz, I started learning English from your blog days ago. I’m really appreciated your effort to help the others to improve their English, the key to be successful in the future.
    Especially, reading this topic and comments, my blood is going faster and faster as I’m Vietnamese, I got your beautiful thought about our culture, about Tet. I’d like to thank you, thank you very much Liz.
    Wishing you all the best.
    Duc Nguyen

  9. hi Liz,

    would only ‘dried bamboo’ be considered right?

  10. Oh, come on!!
    kumkuat?! that’s not even for band score 9 students, that’s only for locals and anyone who might have heard about it >.<

  11. Oh… 4th one was tough..I did not know about that fruit..

  12. Dr. Syed Iqtidar Ali Raza says:

    HI Liz
    In ques 4, we needed to write kumquat and peach to get a mark
    What if we only write peach/kumquat?
    I mean what if we score half of the mark?????

  13. Sanone (Saigon) says:

    Hello Liz,
    I have a logically sound question. “Chinese New Year”, all words start with a capital letter. Vietnamese people call Tet as spring festival. That’s what they call it. So why is it wrong to capitalize the letters of spring festival as “Spring Festival”?

  14. Hi Liz
    This audio was not very clear and pronunciation of some words such as “kumquat” was not common and must be spelled but you didn’t instead you spelled very fast.

    • English people don’t spell the names of fruit during a conversation or a talk. IELTS only spell names of people which are uncommon, no other words are spelled. This is a language test. It is testing your ability to know uncommon and common words. Band score 9 students will know “kumquat” other levels might not. This is part of the test.

  15. nico rodriguez says:

    If I write “children,’elders” on question 3 is it still correct?

  16. i would like to share new year eve in my country india first fall me and my friends making plans of new year which is coming near what to do on new eve special on that day then we are decorating our home and street with dazling lights we are making the arrangement of special cusines and varities of foods when the new year occurs first day will start with full of joy and entertainment with our fam,ily member and we ask forgiveness from ALLAH that is GOD we had a planned to visit our relatives with best wishes of new years eve and for small children that is a extremly special day, kids will be going to collect some bucks from our relatives member like eidi they feel proud on that day cracking the fireworks took place in some street but not all places some street people are going to outting full night of eve shouting on roads happy new year they are sharing their love on street finally at the end of the day will pray to ALLAH that is GOD guide us to straight path which you have bestowed your favour on them ameen

  17. Cesar Natera says:

    Hi Liz,
    It is such a very useful website. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us. I just have a question. If I write “Spring Festival” with capital letter, will it be a wrong answer?
    Thanks in advance,

  18. Thnaks alot but I think number 4 should be spelled .

    • In normal speech, we only spell out names of people or places. We never spell out fruit. No conversation or talk would do that. So, it will never happen in your IELTS speaking test. Although it is an unusual fruit, it is still a fruit that band score 9 students will know and be able to spell.
      All the best

  19. madam for 2nd answer can we write “elder people ” for second blank ?

  20. Hey Liz!
    I am gonna take the on 29th of this month. Your blog is helpful but the very audio was so fast to catch the answers up. Also I made spell mistakes of the tree type. I fear, I will lose marks.

    kind regards

    • You do not need to get all questions right unless you are aiming for band score 9. So, it is natural there will be questions you can’t answer and words that you don’t hear clearly.

  21. Hey!

    Is it a “loss in a family” as the audio says? Or is it “loss of a family” as it’s stated in the text? Or is it the same?

    • You can write “loss of a family member” or “loss in the family”. The word “member” is essential to note.

  22. The way that the Vietnam people celebrate spring festival is really traditional and classic. In China, around 20 years back, we had the same things to do. The parents would prepare many different delicious foods for the whole month of festival. They started preparation early before the most important day for new year, which is eve, similar to the eve for Christmas. In common families, they cooked various foods such as fried dough, fried dough twist and even complicated one, also made from dough in shape of stem of umbrella tasting very well and crispy. That is for food. In addition there would be many different kinds of social activities which would be performed usually on the third day of new year. A group of people would dress up and wore in uniform. They prepared performance and show on the busiest area like downtown area and some big communities where you would observe all audiences were in new clothes with cheerful smile on their faces. Even in some places, they had the tradition of lion dance, which is still reserved at present in some Chinese-dominant places for example Taiwan and Hongkong, Singapore or even China town all over the world.

    • Fantastic! Thanks so much for telling us about New Year in China. I have celebrated New Year in China a couple of times and it was wonderful. I have never seen fireworks as good as those at Chinese New Year. And the dumplings that I made with a family were delicious!

      Hopefully more students will share information about New Year in their country 🙂
      All the best

  23. Thaopham says:

    Hi, Liz! Well, I’m from Vietnam and I have to say that what u wrote about VN is definitely correct and beautiful. I feel regret because I didn’t know you before when u were in Vn :(. I can use some these words in my speech. And now i know what bamboo soup is thanks to your talk.
    Thank you and God bless you, Liz!

  24. Mark Adams says:

    I love you Liz. Please don’t mind 🙂

  25. Alonica says:

    Hello Ma’am Liz!

    It’s been a month of learning using your excellent website. I used to approached each of your sample charts (bar, line, table, pie and diagram). Now, I’m on my way to learn the rest of the charts (flow chart and map).

    Once again thank you Ma’am
    God bless

  26. hi liz
    is it ok if my answer are capitalized like for example” Spring Festival”and what if one of my answer were wrong spelling

  27. alonica says:

    Hi Ma’am Liz!

    I’m from Philippines and I just found your website an hour ago, and your website very much helpful.

    God bless!

    • Go through each section on the red navigation bar to learn more about IELTS and develop your skills.
      All the best

  28. Aishwarya says:

    Hello Liz! Your lessons are very useful and I’m glad I found your website at the right time! Thank you very much!
    I had a little difficulty in spelling ‘kumquat’. I haven’t come across this word before and I suppose it’s not used very often. If that’s the case, will the spelling of the word be mentioned?

    • No, spelling is mainly used for form completion in section 1 for names or places and also mainly in conversations. This is just a fruit and the listening is typical of section 2. Band score 9 students would know it. Don’t forget that if you are aiming for only band 7, there will be questions you can’t answer correctly.
      All the best

  29. anali tangog says:

    Hello liz, thanks for the lesson, i am a bit confused question number 1, I have answer capital letter of each word ” Spring Festival ” as to my understanding it is a proper noun. Kindly explain. Ty. An

  30. Hello liz, I would like you to make a new lesson about Mongolian cultures and festivals. For example, tsagaan sar and naadam is the biggest traditional festival in my country.
    Warm regards Urikhan

  31. Anandita Rizki says:

    My correct answers are 4. I’m glad to know Vietnamese culture. Thanks, Liz!

    • There have a lot of beautiful sightseeing in vietnam, hope can meet you in vietname someday. i will take you around of course no fee ( dont worry about it)

      • Thanks. I’ve already seen a lot of Vietnam having lived there for 8 years. But I look forward to one day visiting again 🙂

  32. Hi Liz, In this listerning section ,question 3 answer “children elderly people”will it not be assumed to be gramatically wrong as i cant make meaning out of it without put a comma sfter children .

    • Hi,

      Your answer is not a sentence itself. Your answer is only independent words. Only the actual sentence in the question needs to be grammatically correct. So, when it asks for three words, those are the three words which fit in the gaps and which are grammatically correct for the sentence. That’s all you are asked to do.
      All the best

  33. Hi liz
    thank you for the listening practice. I wanted to know that the first word of question 5 the answer should be in capital letter in the answer sheet or not
    5)Sweeping the house is forbidden during Tet
    Answer 5) Sweeping/sweeping

  34. Thameen Ahmad says:

    Thank you for your effort to teach others.
    For question 2 my answer was sticky rice. Is right or wrong.
    Because in your model answer you mentioned only bamboo.
    Also I sent you my writing for task 1 and I waiting for your comments
    many thanks for you

    • Hi,

      Unfortunately, stick rice is an ingredient of soup. The soup is made from dried young bamboo so you need those words for the answer. The soup is given in a list of other dishes which are not soups, so you needed to listen specifically for what type of soup it was.
      All the best

  35. Hi Liz,

    Thanks for posting an interesting topic on Tet. I could able to make 3 right answers out of five. Nevertheless, once again thanks a lot and looking forward to see more such posts.


    • Three is quite good. The key is to predict the types of answers you need to listen for and make notes while you listen. I’m glad you liked the topic.
      All the best

  36. Dear Liz,
    Thank you so much for introducing my country’s culture to other students around the world. Certainly, Tết is the most special occasion of the year in Vietnam because it is the time for family reunion and friend gathering. At the moment, all Vietnamese are trying to come home and preparing everything needed for Tết. We are going to celebrate the Vietnamese New Year on this February 19th, which is the first day of Tết with many interesting activities exactly like what you mentioned in the listening. Thank you again and “Chúc Mừng Năm Mới – Happy New Year”.
    All the best
    Hanh Tran.

    • Hi Hanh Tran,

      Chuc Mung Nam Moi – Happy New Year!! We all wish you a lovely New Year with your family 🙂
      All the best

  37. Dear Liz,

    Could you please enable copy function in your website? Many times I would like to copy your posts into Word Document, print them out and then analyse your speaking or writing models.

    Kind regards,

    • Hi Thom,

      I have disabled the copy and paste option to protect my work from being copied by other people planning to set up a website. I know this can be annoying for students but I don’t know another way. Maybe I could get some pdf copies of popular materials available for free downloading if you think that would help?

      • Yes. I think it is absolutely a good solution, Liz. By that way, you can protect your work with your name in pdf files and students like me would be able to make full use of your material. Thank you very much! And Chúc Mừng Năm Mới! 🙂

        • Happy New Year to you too. I will try and organise the pdf files soon. I don’t know how to do them so it will take a little time but I will do it.
          Enjoy the New Year!

      • Sanone (Saigon) says:

        Hello Liz,
        Yes, I understand your concerns. I appreciate your effort to help others. Anyway disabling the context menu isn’t the answer for protecting the content. The content of this page can be stripped in a minute or two hehehe!

        • Hope it will put people off from attempting to copy what is protected by law. I know Vietnamese people are not accustomed to respecting copy right but other nationalities are. Particularly, when it is from someone who works 7 days a week for free offering help and advice for free. I hope you also will respect that.
          All the best

  38. Aurora Hoxha says:

    Hi dear Liz , I’m not from Vietnam but I did enjoyed this part of listening thank you and god bless you ,I fined just 3 words I need to practise more and more if you can advice for any tips of listening it would be great

    • Hi,

      One useful tip is to make notes. For example, you know that in question 1 you are waiting for a name and in question 2 you are waiting for food ingredients. Make notes while you listen. It doesn’t mean writing long words but just writing down letters or codes to remind you of what you have heard. This means if you miss the answer, you can sometimes find it later in your notes. In your IELTS listening test, you can write all over your question paper.

      I’m glad you enjoyed hearing about Vietnamese New Year – it’s a lovely time in that country 🙂
      All the best

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