Dragon Boat Festival - Cultural Saigon walking tour | Saigonwalks

Dragon Boat Festival - Cultural Saigon walking tour | Saigonwalks

Dragon Boat Festival - Cultural Saigon walking tour | Saigonwalks

Information on the Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as the New Year to Kill Insects, is an annual celebration that marks the beginning of the new year. It is named as such due to a prevalent belief among the people. This Tet holiday has several legends associated with it, each with its own unique narrative. One of the popular stories passed down through generations revolves around a village where farmers were rejoicing in the abundance of their harvest. Unfortunately, their joyous occasion was disrupted when swarms of insects descended upon their crops, devouring the hard-earned produce.

What is "bánh ú tro" in the Dragon Boat Festival?

Ash cake holds a cherished place on every Vietnamese family's offering tray during the Dragon Boat Festival. With its distinct triangular shape, this unassuming cake serves as a poignant reminder of tradition, embodying the beautiful way of life embraced by the Vietnamese people and symbolizing the cyclical nature of the yearly weather cycle.

bánh ú tro
"Bánh ú tro" in the Dragon Boat Festival

"Bánh ú" is a traditional Vietnamese cake that takes on a distinctive pyramid shape. It is crafted using ingredients such as mung bean paste, sticky rice, and bamboo leaves. The triangular form of the "bánh ú" can be explained through the lens of the five-element theory of yin and yang, with the outer triangle representing yang energy and the inner cake embodying the nurturing yin energy. The cake's color symbolizes the earth's natural hue, and in ancient times, it was left unfilled, representing purity upon returning to the earth. Following the law of creation, yin and yang complement each other, leading to independent development. Rice sticky and "bánh ú" intertwine to create a harmonious culinary experience.

banh u tro - saigonwalks
"Bánh ú" is a traditional Vietnamese cake - Saigonwalks

During the Dragon Boat Festival, it is widely believed that indulging in ash cake can have a positive impact on one's well-being. The consumption of this special cake is thought to promote a sense of tranquility, regulate bodily functions, and stabilize overall health. This belief is particularly significant in May, a month known for its hot and humid weather, which increases the risk of illnesses. Ash cake is regarded as a remedy that helps eliminate toxins from the body, offering a refreshing and cooling effect. Its easy digestibility makes it suitable for individuals of all ages, including infants and the elderly.

Tranditional Vietnamese cake
the tradition of enjoying banh tro during Tet - saigonwalks

The legend of the Dragon Boat Festival is intertwined with various narratives, and historical records mention the tradition of enjoying banh tro during Tet. While the exact origins may differ, the festival remains a cherished and meaningful New Year's celebration. Passed down from generation to generation, it carries deep humanistic values and serves as a testament to the enduring cultural heritage of the Vietnamese people.

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