Doan Ngo festival holiday - A rustic belief of Vietnam

“Doan” refers to the beginning while “Ngo” symbolizes the sun at noon. Vietnamese people celebrate “Tet Doan Ngo” as a traditional occasion starting at noon on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. This year, the occasion falls on 20 June.
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“Doan” refers to the beginning while “Ngo” symbolizes the sun at noon. Vietnamese people celebrate “Tet Doan Ngo” as a traditional occasion starting at noon on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. This year, the occasion falls on 20 June.

Is Tet Doan Ngo derived from other countries?
The festival is not only celebrated among Vietnamese, but also in China as Dragon Boat festival, Taiwan and South Korea. In fact, many Vietnamese still misunderstand the tradition of Tet Doan Ngo.



The answer is no. In Vietnam, Tet Doan Ngo (or Tet Sau Bo) is imbued with cultural identity of agricultural country. The farmers on this day will get rid of all pests to start growing their crops for the new season. Therefore, creatures and people must enhance their physical and mental strength to overcome potential diseases during the transitional period.

Dragon Boat festival is to commemorate the life and death of the famous Chinese scholar Qu Yuan – royal minister of the King of Chu in the third century BCE. He drowned himself in the river of Miluo to preserve his integrity for he was falsely accused of conspiracy by the king. So every year the dragon boat festival is held in China with attempt of rescuing him.

Irreplaceable dishes on the occasion

You may be familiar with Chung cake in Lunar New Year, Moon cake in Mid-Autumn. What about Tro cake (Rice Dumplings)? Eating rice dumplings – especially lye water dumplings is considered as part of the worshipping ceremony. According to the belief, the dumplings will cleanse one’s body and prevent disease, evil which then guarantee a healthy and happy life. It is a pyramidal sticky rice cake now stuffed with beans and wrapped in banana leaves which not only gives it an unique flavor but also fills with rustic allure.

I think the sweet fillings have been added not long ago. I remember the original Tro cake without any bean fillings that was always sold in a dozen as a minimum long ago. The simple cakes were used with honey dip or sugar making a perfect combination.




It is not normally seen in daily market so it is people are always excited about the upcoming day when they have chance to enjoy the summer delight. There are many different versions of Rice Dumplings in neighbour countries such as China, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. but for us, each kind of leaf wrapped imparts its own unique smell and flavor to the rice. Is it truth? Leave it with you!


Fermented sticky rice wine is irreplaceable dish. Traditionally, Vietnamese people will eat this early in the morning to fight the worms in their stomach. Fermented sticky rice is even a bit different in each region regarding the shape and rice used. but as for me, it is the comfortable sweet taste of the rice with light alcoholic flavour that leaves an authentic taste in your mouth. Talking about having this as dessert, one of my favourite healthy and delicious version is “cocktail” of yogurt mixed with rice sticky rice. This one is definitely for you to try, foodies!


Similar to fermented rice wine, fruits with tart and sour flavor will also be used to kill all the parasites that harmfully infect them. I remember when I was young, I used to walk up on the occasion with a plum placed on the top of the mattress. I won’t be allowed to go anywhere until I finished that tart plum. Unlike any other religious beliefs in Vietnam, Tet Doan Ngo is more like about a rustic belief where people try to emphasize on the importance of eating clean and drinking clean.



Coming to Vietnam during this occasion, you will have chance to enjoy a different part of Vietnam’s rich culture, apart from Lunar New Year or other popular festivals. The tradition that has been rooted for long will again makes a delightful experience of Vietnamese agricultural lifestyle.
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