Trung Nguyen New Year - The meaning and custom of Trung Nguyen New Year

If you are looking for a suitable occasion to give gifts to Japanese partners or people who have helped you, you can wait until the Japanese Lunar New Year. Trung Nguyen New Year (Ochugen - 御中元) is one of the traditional holidays of Japan, but due to the influence of socio-economic development, not many people know about it. Many people know that this is a gift-giving holiday in the summer, but the choice of time and gifts is picky!

  1. What is Tet Trung Nguyen?
  2. The meaning of Tet Trung Nguyen
  3. How to choose gifts during the Lunar New Year

What is Tet Trung Nguyen?

Initially, the Trung Nguyen New Year was a custom imported from China. According to Chinese Taoism, Trung Nguyen is one of the three days of worshiping the Gods to purify oneself:

  • Thuong Nguyen, January 15

  • Trung Nguyen, July 15

  • Ha Nguyen, December 15

The meaning of Tet Trung Nguyen

Trung Nguyen is July 15, which also coincides with Vu Lan Festival. This is the festival of releasing lanterns to pray for peace for ancestors and the deceased. Because of the overlap with Vu Lan Festival, this day is called Trung Nguyen Festival or Trung Nguyen New Year.

However, in Japan, instead of praying for peace, showing filial piety to ancestors, on the Trung Nguyen Festival, the Japanese also express gratitude and respect to those who are always vital mind to help. It could be friends, colleagues, teachers, parents, relatives, business partners who are permanently close by and ready to lend a helping hand when needed.

Depending on the region, the day of the Trung Nguyen New Year will also be different:

  • In Tohoku, Kanto, Hokuriku, and Okinawa areas, the Trung Nguyen New Year takes place only on July 15.

  • In the Hokkaido, Kansai, Chubu, Kyushu, and Shikoku areas, the Mid-Autumn Festival lasts until the end of August 15.

Trung Nguyen New Year also has another interpretation as "Hello Summer" because, on this occasion, people will often go to the homes of those who have always helped them to visit and give thank you gifts. There is no rule that assistance is required to show sincerity, but gift-giving has gradually become a custom during this holiday.

How to choose gifts during the Lunar New Year


Due to busy work or remote geographical distance, many people choose to buy gifts and send them with thank you cards. Sending a card with the word "Thank you" is considered essential for sending a gift.

Because on the Trung Nguyen New Year, the recipient will not need to return the gift, only send a thank-you card or call. When choosing to buy a gift, paying attention not to buy too expensive gifts is essential to avoid making the other person feel uncomfortable. The facility's value is usually 3,000 - 5,000 yen (27.30 -45.51 USD), and in the case of exceptional help, the gift can be up to 10,000 yen (91.02 USD).

Who doesn't want to give a gift that makes the other person feel satisfied, so when buying a gift, it is essential to consider the age and family composition of the other person to choose the right gift.

The gifts that the Japanese often give are salted fish, drinks, candies, food, etc. Besides, many people also choose seasonal gifts to give, such as beer, because the Trung Nguyen New Year is the season. In the summer, beer will be more suitable than wine or fruits. When giving food, especially fruit, it is also necessary to pay attention to the expiry date so that the other party can use it gradually within a specific time.

If you can stay in Japan for a long time, you will experience this holiday as well. Although today, the custom of Trung Nguyen New Year is no longer popular, but there are still many people who still keep this beautiful tradition until today.

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