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Jun 14, 2021 / 15:02

Hanoians visit market early for Doan Ngo Festival’s food

The festival, believed to scare insects away and get rid of germs from people's digestive system, is a custom at this time of the year.

Tet Doan Ngo, or the Vietnamese Bug Killing Festival, is usually held on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. This year, the festival falls on June 14.

According to Vietnamese belief, this time is the transition from spring to summer with a climate conducive to the proliferation of insects and diseases. After offering the ancestors fresh seasonal fruits, ruou nep (fermented steamed sticky rice), banh tro (cake cooked from glutinous rice with mistletoe ash), people will enjoy all dishes with an expectation of getting rid of all insects that harms the crops and germs from inside their digestive system.

Located in Hoang Mai district, the Dai Kim market is busier than usual on the Doan Ngo Festival as the number of visitors who come to buy items is increasing.
People rush to the market in the early morning to buy Doan Ngo Festival food. The offerings have to be ready early so that the householder would offer the ancestor before noon (12pm). Doan Ngo is the time when the sun is closest to the earth and marks the start of the harvest season.

Housewives usually buy seasonal fruits as Doan Ngo Festival offerings such as plums, lychees and sapodillas, however, ruou nep or fermented steamed sticky rice is an indispensable dish. 

Doan Ngo Festival is associated with the history of wet rice cultivation of Vietnamese people. It’s believed that at the end of the harvest, insects infest the paddy field to feed on the leftover rice, and farmers have to do some rituals to get rid of them. Then, for a long time, the festival is to celebrate both the bountiful harvests and scare insects away. 
The price of fermented steamed sticky rice is ranging from VND10,000 (US$0.4) to VND20,000 ($0.8).