Much like how Europe is empty the month of August due to everyone taking advantage of the 6-8 weeks average vacation time, Saigon is pretty empty, but mostly it's empty of people. The shops and restaurants are still open, which isn't really the case in the other cities or more rural areas in Vietnam, where people will wait for a lucky or auspicious day to begin conducting business again in the new year. The Vietnamese believe the first of anything in the new year will be significant in how the rest of the year will be. What the first sale is like and what the first person to set foot in your home is like. So everyone's homes we visited had large blooming flowers set right at the front of their houses. New Blooms = New Energy.Since we were in Saigon just before actual new year's eve/day every park area was filled with blooming flowers.We heard families save all year for the flower markets. Flowers do breath in new life and every year Ba would play the game of cutting down bare branches in the dead of winter and force them to bloom in hopes they open up right on New Year's Day.
Unlike the crazy bedazzled spectacle of over-the-top Christmas displays and decorations Saigon seems to love, Tet decorations were much tamer, almost artful.