Vietnam's Exotic Fruit Traditions: A Guide to Lunar New Year's Five-Fruit Trays"

24/01/2024 10:47

According to Vietnamese Lunar New Year traditions, a five-fruit tray at the family altar serves as a vibrant expression of wishes for wealth, luxury, long life, health, and peace.

According to Vietnamese Lunar New Year traditions, a five-fruit tray at the family altar serves as a vibrant expression of wishes for wealth, luxury, long life, health, and peace.

This practice varies across the regions of Vietnam, offering a unique insight into the diverse fruit offerings that make the New Year celebration truly special. For those seeking an exotic touch to their festive markets, understanding the regional distinctions of these fruit trays can provide a delightful journey through Vietnam's rich culinary landscape.

 I - The Significance of Five-Fruit Trays in Vietnamese Culture

The Lunar New Year, known as Tet Nguyen Dan, invites Vietnamese families to place a carefully curated five-fruit tray on their ancestral altars, wishing for a fortunate and peaceful year. Evolving, this tradition embraces costly imported fruits and locally cherished varieties. while the variety of fruits has expanded, and some families now include nine or ten fruits, the term "five-fruit tray" persists regardless of the actual number of fruits displayed.

 II -  The differences between Three-regions of Vietnam’s five-fruit tray

The five-fruit tray varies across North, Central, and South regions, with different fruits and arrangements, each carrying its meaning. There's no strict rule – it's about conveying the owner's wishes through personalized choices, reflecting diverse cultural and familial perspectives.

 a. Northern Five-Fruit Tray: Embracing the Elements

[Traditional Northern Five fruit tray]

In Northern Vietnam, the five-fruit tray follows the Eastern cultural theory of the five elements, incorporating fruits of corresponding colors: white, blue, black, red, and yellow. five-fruit tray typically includes banana, grapefruit, peach, and other fruits. While their importance has diminished, homeowners now often choose various fruits based on their meanings and arrange them alternately for aesthetic appeal.

In the North, traditional fruit trays have green bananas at the base, symbolizing support, care, and joyful reunions. The bunch's curved shape represents fertility and the hope for a flourishing family. A grapefruit in the center, surrounded by fruits like tangerines and persimmons, completes a meaningful and visually pleasing arrangement.

 b. Central Five-Fruit Tray: Adapting to Nature's Challenges

The Central region, facing a challenging climate, creatively adapts its five-fruit tray. Respecting their circumstances, they modestly present a five-fruit tray at the altar. Common fruits featured in this tray include dragon fruit, banana, pineapple, coconut, orange, and watermelon. 

[Central Five Fruit Tray]

Additionally, individuals from the Central region often contribute elements from their gardens to enhance the symbolic offering. In years marked by severe crop failures and extensive damage from storms and floods, the Central people may even substitute flowers from their gardens for the traditional five-fruit tray, adapting their traditions to the challenges they face.

 c. Southern Five-Fruit Tray: Abundance and Aspiration

[Southern Five fruit tray]

Unlike the central region, the five fruit sprouts in the South are quite abundant. Here, the selection of fruits like custard (cầu), coconut (dừa), papaya (đu đủ), and mango (xoài) carries a deeper significance when their names are combined into the phrase "Cầu vừa đủ xài," expressing the wish for sufficient money in the new year to lead a fulfilled and abundant life. Additional fruits like watermelon, pineapple, tangerine, and dragon fruit may be added for more colors and blessings, enhancing the radiant symbolism of the tray.

The layout of the tray emphasizes harmony and balance, with large, heavy, and green fruits positioned at the bottom, while small, ripe fruits adorn the top.

Elevate Your Celebrations with Vietnam's Finest Exports

For those looking to bring the exotic flavors of Vietnam to their Lunar New Year celebrations, consider sourcing fruits directly from Vietnam. As a prominent Vietnam fruit exporter, Fosacha offers a diverse range of premium, locally sourced fruits, ensuring a genuine taste of Vietnamese traditions for your customers.

FOSACHA is a tech-based agricultural products exporter in Vietnam. Founded in 2021, FOSACHA exports high-quality, VietGAP, GlobalGAP-certified fruits, vegetables, spices, and other agricultural products from Vietnam to around the world. Recently the company also invested in the processed fruit business.
FOSACHA has a diverse portfolio of over 25 produce items but focuses on tropical fruits. The company works closely with growers in the Mekong delta region in Vietnam and customers across the globe.

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