Fruits prices have all risen during the festival
Tet Doan Ngo is believed to have originated in ancient China. There are several theories about its origins. The best and most widely known legend relates to the death of Qu Yuan, a scholar and minister to the King of Chinese Chu Dynasty, in 278 BC. Being unable to advise his King in the war against the Qin, Qu Yuan threw himself into the river on 5 May of the Lunar Calendar. Chinese people hold an annual festival on this day to commemorate him.
However, some Vietnamese scholars claim that the festival was first organized by Vietnamese people during the 10th century Le Dynasty.
Wherever it came from, the Doan Ngo Festival has become an important festival. Local people often call it by another name, the “Pest Exterminating Festival”, for obvious reasons. The festival also occurs on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month which is the beginning of summertime - a ripe time for pests and parasites. So this day is dedicated to getting rid of as many as possible.
This year, Tet Doan Ngo falls on June 23.
Tro cakes are an integral part of the Doan Ngo Festival
Translated literally, Tet means festival, Doan means the start, and Ngo, the sun at noon. Therefore the festival will usually be held at noon.
Although local people have cut some of the activities that used to be held on the day, the meaning and the main practices stay the same.
To prepare for the day, people usually cook a jar of com ruou nep cam (a violet-coloured fermented glutinous rice pudding), and buy fruits and tro cakes (made from glutinous rice, green bean and coconut).
They will have a special breakfast with these foods which are believed to help them get rid of the pests.
A mobile tro cake stall
Since yesterday afternoon, tro cakes have been sold at many markets in HCM City including Ba Chieu (Binh Thạnh District), Tan Dinh (District 1) and many street-side stalls. Although the price is a little bit higher than that of last year, ranging from VND 4,000 – 6,000 each, the demand has remained high.
Doan Ngo Festival is also one of the best times for fruit and flower sellers.
Flowers selling better today
According to Mrs. Thanh, owner of a large fruit stall at Tan Dinh Market in HCM City the demand for fruits on this day is usually three or four times higher compared to normal days.
The high demand for fruits has pushed prices up by 5-30% compared to normal.