Tết Đoan Ngọ is also know as tết sâu bọ or tết tháng 5 is celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. It is said that this special day is when “New Year” in haven, hell and on earth collides (in Vietnamese tradition there is a “New Year” to celebrate every lunar month). It is also called tết sâu bọ (sâu bọ = worms, pests) because by this date framers would have prepared their land and rid all pests to start growing their crops for the new season. The tradition of eating dumplings, especially lye water dumplings, extends from the belief that these dumplings will cleanse one’s body of any unwanted “parasites”. I have been told, Tết tháng 5 is usually heavily celebrated in farming villages. Reason being, farmers are usually too busy during Tết Nguyên Đán (the new year celebrated in late January/early February) supplying everyone with fresh flowers, fruit, rice, and veggies that they do not have to time to celebrate Tết Nguyên Đán themselves. Therefore, they celebrate their own new years in the 5th lunar month. These days it seems as though Tết Đoan Ngọ has been forgotten and no one really celebrates it anymore…a few dumplings to kick up the mood that’s it….how sad!
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