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.


  1. Thanks for this listening practice. God bless you

  2. Hello Dear Liz, you are amazing with your teaching skills.In this exercise, number 4 questions are difficult to spell. How i can spell it correctly when the context or background is totally unfamiliar just by listening? please share your expert opinion.

    With Regards

    • This was a challenging listening practice. Most listening answers in IELTS are relatively familiar words, although spelling does still play a huge role. If you take a look at the IELTS Cambridge Test books (which are real test published by IELTS), you can see the Answer Key which shows all answers being relatively known vocabulary. Furthermore, most difficult place names are spelled out letter by letter. So, I wouldn’t worry about that.

  3. Thank you ma liz

  4. Hi Liz,
    Thanks very much for this important website and Youtube videos, a friend recommended it as he used it to pass his IELTS with a band of 9 in listening and above 7 in others.

    I would like to know if listening test always comes in order from question 1 to say 8. That is, the answer to question 8 is not provided at the start of the listening but begins from question 1.
    Many thanks

    • Yes, the answers follow the order of the numbers. However, when you are given three options for multiple choice, those three options won’t necessarily be in order.

  5. It is almost the same celebrating in IRAN and farsi language speaking countries called NOWROUZ which is the new year starting at the first day of the Spring .

  6. Hi Liz,

    When it asks for 2 answers in 1 question like in question 3 and 4, do we need to add comma while writing our answer on the answer sheet? Because I write ‘CHILDREN, ELDERLY PEOPLE’ but you have written ‘children elderly people’ (without a comma). Both ways are correct?


  7. Nihla Sala says

    hi Liz,
    you are providing enough questions and answers with good video presentation. I like this website and You Tube videos that you are uploaded. Thanks for your support especially for this resources.

  8. In this test you mentioned that capital letters are not needed, but you have always recommended writing ALL answers in capital letters in both reading and listening. Am really confused now.

    • It means you don’t need to start that particular word with a capital – it relates to that one question because the word is at the start of the sentences. Yes, it is best to use ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.

  9. Hi Liz
    You have written ‘ children and elderly people ‘ as an Answer.
    Is it correct way to write or we can write
    Children and elderly people in answer sheet.

    • I did not use the word “and”.

    • You don’t need to use a capital letter.

      ‘children’ goes into the first block and ‘elderly people’ into the second.

      btw, your question can be phrased better as: Is it the correct way to write it or can we write.

  10. Hi Liz,

    I’m from Kerala, which is a southern state in India. We celebrate Onam every year and consider this as one of the most popular festival in our place. If possible, please provide a lesson on “Onam Festival”. We will be happy to see it.


  11. Alexander says

    Hello Liz,
    Thanks for your excellent teaching Skills and subtle way of promoting different cultures.
    I will like you to write about a festival in my homeland Arochukwu in Igboland, southeastern part of Nigeria. the Festival is the most important Festival in the southeastern part of Nigeria. It is fondly called ‘Ikeji’ (New yam festival), ushering in the harvest period for the people of Arochukwu. Am sure you will find it very interesting. you can find all the information you need from this site

  12. How was I to know the spelling of kumquat. That was a tough one

  13. Hi Liz ! Thank you very much your website is very informative and useful.
    I wanna ask I we have to know the spelling of some plants and animals names like Kumquat .. I didn’t know how to spell when I first heard it :/

    • Correct spelling is essential in listening and reading – as well as writing. That was a difficult word. Most tests will be easier.

  14. Omme_hashmi says

    Here u told us that the answers do come in order so will that happen in real ielts exam???? How we will know that the answers of any specific section will come in order????

    • I have written those instructions for this listening exercise. They are not instructions for the whole IELTS listening test. In the listening test, answer will come in the order of the question numbers.

  15. AB Dvilliers says

    Hi Liz,

    How much time we typically have to read a set of questions before listening the audio?

  16. Amandeep Singh says

    Do we get 0.5 mark where the answer is partially correct ? Like in question 4, I got “kumquat” wrong but “blossom” was correct.

  17. Amandeep Singh says

    Hi Liz,

    I wasn’t aware that we could also get words with difficult spellings in Listening (like the one in this exercise “kumquat”.) I thought difficult words in Listening would be spelled out in the audio.
    When I heard, I thought that the hell is that tree.


    • I can’t imagine any native speaker asking for this fruit in a shop and spelling the word. IELTS will only spell words or names if the context calls for it.

  18. Hi Liz,
    The recordings are somehow not playing from the Vietnamese new year onwards. Was wondering if there is a problem with the recording or some local issue at my end.


  19. Syed Fouzan Ali says

    hello liz..!!
    Is writing comma between answers like Kamquet , Peach is right or is it considered wrong?please please reply me…Thank you.!

    • It doesn’t affect your score. Personally, I wouldn’t use it – it isn’t needed if the two words are written clearly.

  20. I request you to make a practice exercise on the following topic:

    Ganesh Chaturthi, a festival celebrated by Hindus in India. You can get the complete details by searching Ganesh Chaturthi in Wikipedia.

  21. Liz,
    I’m studying with Cambridge Practice Tests 6 to 9. The time available to read the questions is very little, do you know whether this is the standard time allowed to read them or in the proper exam they usually let us read it for longer? Because it’s a very valuable time for me, and makes a huge difference on my results…
    Thank you.

    • The IELTS Cambridge books are real tests published by IELTS. They are exactly the same as the test you will take. The time given to read the questions is the same. Your aim is not to read in depth, but to read and quickly underline key words.


    ANSWERS; ice cake sausage and chiken, children and elderly people, spring festival and comfort trees

  23. Smallnguyen says

    Thank for writting about Tet

  24. Hello, I’m from Uzbekistan I really like your lessons especially reading and writing. How do I improve my speaking, can you some advise me

  25. “Kumquat” should have been spelled or atleast repeated in the Test….

    • Not all words are spelled. If I were asking for this in a shop, I would not spell it. This is a fruit and any native speaker would know how to spell it. Names of people can vary which is why they are sometimes spelled.

    • I have never heard this word before….

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

  27. 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

  28. mijzabzafar says

    thank you so much liz .. our website is very helpful

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

    ..still thank you Liz.

  30. 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!

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

  32. 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.

  33. 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”…

  34. 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

  35. hi Liz,

    would only ‘dried bamboo’ be considered right?

  36. 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 >.<

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

  38. 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?????

  39. 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

  40. 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”?

  41. 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.

  42. nico rodriguez says

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

  43. 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

  44. 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,

  45. 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

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

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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

  50. 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!

  51. Mark Adams says

    I love you Liz. Please don’t mind 🙂

  52. 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

  53. 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

  54. 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

  55. 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

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