People on Thursday celebrated the Doan Ngo Festival nationwide by eating fruits and fermented glutinous rice in the early morning, but few know all the traditional rituals of the festival.
Artisan Hoang Anh Suong performs the art of tea making at the opening ceremony of the festival on June 25.
The Doan Ngo Festival, which will be held until July 20 by the Thang Long Heritage Conservation Centre, gives locals and foreign visitors a view of the celebration. People have a chance to understand its meaning and experience the rituals.
Doan Ngo or Double-Fifth Festival is held annually on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, which fell on Thursday this year.
With the theme “The fragrance and beauty of medicinal herbs”, the exhibition features reproductions of the folk and royal rituals and customs held during the traditional Double-Fifth Festival.
This time, Vietnamese families are preparing homemade goodies to detox in a traditional way. People often eat fermented glutinous rice which has the taste of wine, with the belief of making worms in their bodies drunk, then they eat fruits such as plums, litchis, or pineapples to kill worms and some kinds of pastries to become healthier.
The elders just tell their descendants it’s the practice of “killing pests and worms”. However, it originally combined more than 10 rituals, according to historian Le Van Lan.
“As it occurs near summer solstice, Doan Ngo marks the inception of the hottest spell of the whole year, often coupled with epidemics and plagues,” he said. “Therefore, in old days, Vietnamese people used a number of ways to stay healthy, such as getting rids of pests, polishing nails, steaming with aromatic leaves, plucking leaves to prepare herbal compounds or wearing five-coloured amulets.
The traditional feast in Doan Ngo Festival includes plums, litchis, pastries and fermented glutinous rice.
“Đoan Ngọ was considered as the ‘all-people medical day’, aiming to champion folk experiences and wisdom while alerting people to the danger of epidemics. The message conveyed through Đoan Ngọ customs is health and safety.”
Visitors to the exhibition will get to know more about the role of herbal medicine in the life of Vietnamese people and the custom of picking medicinal herbs prior to the Double-Fifth Festival.
They can also browse and purchase herbal products such as tea and antiseptic water, which are healthy as well as environmentally friendly.
On weekends, visitors will have the chance to experience traditional tea making with artisans Hoang Anh Suong, Nguyen Thien Hung and Nguyen Cao Son; calligraphy performances as well as ca tru (ceremonial singing) performances by Meritorious Artist Bach Van.
The exhibition is being held in online via the address trungbayonline.hoangthanhthanglong.vn in Vietnamese and English.
The Doan Ngo Festival is celebrated at the Thang Long Imperial Citadel, 19C Hoang Dieu Street, Hanoi, until July 20. VNS
An ancient ritual was recreated over the weekend in Hanoi. During the Later Le Dynasty (1533 - 1789), kings would host a ritual to give fans to all mandarins during the Doan Ngo festival in summer.