Among the many traditional festivals of Vietnam, Tet Doan Ngo (held on the 5th of the 5th lunar month), is a widely celebrated one. Although this festival is not as grand as the Lunar New Year, it is also an occasion where Vietnamese people spend to hold warm family reunion.
There are a variety of names for Tet Doan Ngo Festival in Vietnam, it is also known as Double Fifth Festival or Double Five Festival. Doan Ngo Festival takes place when the distance between the sun and the earth is shortest so it is comparable to the summer solstice. “Doan” is the beginning, and “Ngo” is a term to describe the time duration from 11 am to 1 pm. Therefore, it is a tradition that people enjoy the feast at noon.
The Festival originated from China with the original name of Dragon Boat Festival; however, the Vietnamese took the commitment to put their own flairs in this special festival. The Double Fifth Festival in Vietnam is locally called as “Killing Insects Festival”. So as the adults always tell kids on these days to “try to kill all the pests in your body and soul with products from rice and fruits”
Legend has it that one day after the crop when farmers were celebrating for a great season, a large swarm of insects all of a sudden appear and ate everything harvested. The farmers were bewildered by what just happened and had no idea what to do to prevent the hungry insects. Luckily, when this all were happening, an old man came and introduced himself as Doi Truan. He instructed each family to make a feast including a special cake called Banh Gio and different types of fruit. The farmers followed exactly as told and magically after that, all insects disappeared. Then, the man explained with a calm manner that, on this day annually all insects become very aggressive and thus one should do their best to prevent the insects from destroying their crops with the food that are made from the crops themselves. From that time on, to express gratitude to the wise old man, local farmers named the day “Killing Insects Day” or Doan Ngo Festival.
Traditionally, the festival is held to protect the crops and since all the food eaten on this day is made from natural products of the crop, the holiday is also meant to be an occasion where people can balance their health by not eating protein-rich products.
As the purpose of the day is to “kill the insects in your body”, the only logical thing to do is to eat something that would take down all those harmful bugs right? So the Vietnamese got everything down in terms of what one is supposed to eat on this day:
1. Bánh Tro (Ash Rice cake with Mung Bean paste)
Banh tro is a pyramid-shaped cake is wrapped in banana leaves, the cake is made from a mixture of sticky rice and water drained from ashes while the filling is a sweet mung bean paste.
2. Cơm Rượu (wine rice)
Com ruou, a wine rice dessert is another staple of the fest meant to be eaten for physicial and spiritual cleasing. The acoholic dessert is believed to be strong enough to kill all the inner insects.
Many people also buy leaves and herbs to smoke away all the pests in their family.
4. And of course, fruits!! internship in vietnam
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