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Tet Doan Ngo| Explore The Mystery Of the Vietnam Dragon Boat Festival

Vietnam is a country rich in cultural traditions, and one of the most fascinating Vietnam festivals celebrated here is Tet Doan Ngo, also known as the Vietnam Dragon Boat Festival.

This festival, rooted in ancient customs and beliefs, brings communities together to honor traditions, indulge in delicious food, and engage in thrilling activities.

In this essay, we will explore the mystery of Tet Doan Ngo and discover the vibrant traditions and exciting experiences associated with this unique festival.

What is Tet Doan Ngo?

Tet Doan Ngo, also known as the Dragon Boat Festival, is an annual festival celebrated in Vietnam. It is traditionally observed on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, which usually falls in June. This festival has deep historical and cultural significance, originating from ancient beliefs related to the summer solstice and the need to ward off evil spirits and ensure good health and fortune.

The origins of Tet Doan Ngo can be traced back to ancient China. According to legend, the festival commemorates the death of the poet Qu Yuan, a loyal statesman who drowned himself in a river out of despair. The locals raced in boats to retrieve his body and threw rice dumplings into the water to prevent fish from devouring his remains. Over time, different cultures, including Vietnam, adopted and adapted this festival.

Traditions of Tet Doan Ngo

Tet Doan Ngo is steeped in traditional customs that have been passed down through generations. Here are some key traditions associated with Tet Doan Ngo:

Dragon Boat Racing: Dragon boat races are a prominent feature of the festival. Teams row in long, narrow boats to the beat of drums and cheers from spectators. The races symbolize unity, teamwork, and the dispelling of evil spirits.

Sticky rice dumplings

Eating Sticky Rice Dumplings: Consuming sticky rice dumplings, known as bánh tro or bánh chưng, is an essential part of Tet Doan Ngo. These dumplings are made from glutinous rice, filled with mung bean paste, pork, and other ingredients, and wrapped in banana leaves. They are then boiled or steamed. Eating these dumplings is believed to provide protection against evil spirits and promote good health.

Hanging Herb Pouches: People often hang pouches or bunches of medicinal herbs, such as wormwood or moxa, around their homes or on doorways. This practice is believed to ward off evil spirits and prevent illnesses during the summer season.

Cleaning and Purifying: Before Tet Doan Ngo, households engage in thorough cleaning to remove clutter and negative energy. This cleansing ritual is done to welcome positive energy and good luck into the home.

Honoring ancestors

Honoring Ancestors: Vietnamese people pay respects to their ancestors during Tet Doan Ngo. They visit ancestral gravesites, offer incense, and make offerings of food and drinks to show reverence and seek blessings from their ancestors.

Warding off Evil Spirits: In addition to herb pouches, people may also hang up red-colored items, such as red strings or red paper cutouts, as red is believed to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck.

Traditional Herbal Bathing: Some individuals participate in a traditional herbal bathing ritual during Tet Doan Ngo. They bathe in water infused with special herbs, believed to cleanse the body and protect against diseases.

Praying for Good Fortune: Vietnamese people visit pagodas or temples to make prayers and seek blessings for prosperity, good health, and good fortune for themselves and their families.

Best City To Visit During Tet Doan Ngo

Several cities in Vietnam offer unique experiences during Tet Doan Ngo, each with its charm and festivities. Here are a few cities that are known for their vibrant celebrations during the festival:

Hanoi: As the capital city, Hanoi showcases a lively atmosphere during Tet Doan Ngo. The streets are adorned with festive decorations, and numerous pagodas and temples hold special ceremonies. You can do the best things to do in Hanoi like witness dragon boat races on the lakes, enjoy traditional music and dance performances, and explore the Old Quarter's bustling markets.

Ho Chi Minh City: Also known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City embraces Tet Doan Ngo with great enthusiasm. The city comes alive with colorful decorations, flower markets, and street performances. With the tour guide about Ho Chi Minh City, you can visit Tao Dan Park, where locals gather for dragon boat races and cultural events. The bustling streets of Nguyen Hue and Dong Khoi offer a vibrant atmosphere.

Lantern festivals

Hoi An: With wonderful Hoi An attractions, this charming ancient town is renowned for its lantern-filled streets and traditional architecture. During Tet Doan Ngo, Hoi An hosts vibrant celebrations with lantern festivals, traditional games, and cultural performances. The town's riverside promenade and colorful night markets create a magical ambiance.

Hue: Located in Central Vietnam, Hue celebrates Tet Doan Ngo with a touch of imperial grandeur. Hue Tourist Attractions, such as the Imperial Citadel and Thien Mu Pagoda, host traditional ceremonies and performances. You can witness dragon boat races on the Perfume River and immerse yourself in the city's rich cultural heritage.

Can Tho: Located in the Mekong Delta region, it offers a relaxing tour in Can Tho during Tet Doan Ngo. You can witness the bustling Cai Rang Floating Market, where locals trade goods from their boats. Enjoy boat races, traditional music performances, and indulge in the delicious local cuisine.
Recommended Vietnam Tour with Can Tho:
10 Days Vietnam Highlights Tour with Can Tho
Travel Route: Saigon - Can Tho - Hoi An - Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hanoi

Things to Do For Tet Doan Ngo 2023

To fully experience Tet Doan Ngo in 2023, there are several exciting activities to consider:

Taste the traditional Food of Tet Doan Ngo.

Cơm rượu

Tet Doan Ngo’s traditional food is a delightful experience that immerses you in Vietnam's flavors and culinary traditions with a Vietnam Food Tour. The centerpiece of the festival's culinary delights is bánh tro/bánh chưng, sticky rice dumplings wrapped in banana leaves. These dumplings symbolize the Earth and are made with layers of sticky rice, mung beans, and pork. Cơm rượu, a sticky rice dessert, is also a traditional food for this festival.

bánh tro

When you taste bánh tro/bánh chưng, you'll enjoy the aroma of the banana leaves and savor the tender sticky rice, flavorful mung beans, and savory pork. It is often served with pickled onions for a tangy contrast. Other traditional foods to explore during Tet Doan Ngo include nem lui, xôi gấc, bánh giầy, bánh dày, and chè.

Explore local festivals during Tet Doan Festival.

Exploring local festivals during Tet Doan Ngo is a fantastic way to experience the vibrant cultural celebrations in Vietnam. Here are a few examples:

Huong Pagoda Festival (Hanoi): Join pilgrims in Hanoi's Huong Pagoda for religious ceremonies and cultural performances.
Phu Giay Festival (Hai Duong): Witness a procession and traditional rituals at the Phu Giay Festival in Hai Duong province.
Ba Chua Xu Festival (An Giang): Experience a grand celebration dedicated to the Goddess Ba Chua Xu in An Giang province.

Nghinh Ong Festival

Nghinh Ong Festival (Vung Tau): Attend the lively Nghinh Ong Festival in Vung Tau, featuring boat parades and cultural performances.
Lim Festival (Bac Ninh): Enjoy Quan Ho singing performances and traditional games at the famous Lim Festival in Bac Ninh province.

These local festivals offer unique insights into Vietnam's cultural traditions and provide an opportunity to engage with the local community. Embrace the festive atmosphere and create lasting memories during Tet Doan Ngo.

Attend the thrilling Dragon Boat Racing.

Dragon Boat Racing

Dragon Boat Racing is a traditional sport that holds deep historical and cultural significance in Vietnam. It combines athleticism, teamwork, and festive spirit, making it a must-see event during this festive season.

During Tet Doan Ngo, various cities and regions across Vietnam organize Dragon Boat Racing competitions. These events attract teams from local communities who compete in colorful dragon-shaped boats, paddling vigorously to the beat of traditional drums. The races are exciting to watch and showcase the participants' unity, strength, and coordination.

The boats themselves are beautifully decorated with vibrant colors and intricate dragon designs, representing mythical creatures that bring luck and protection. The rhythmic drumming sets the pace and energizes the rowers as they navigate the waters with speed and precision. The atmosphere is electric, filled with cheers, applause, and the sound of traditional music.

Spectators can line up along the riverbanks, bridges, or specially designated viewing areas to witness the spectacle up close. The cheering crowd adds to the excitement, creating a festive ambiance as the dragon boats glide through the water, propelled by the synchronized efforts of the rowers.

Recommended Tet Doan Ngo Cultural Immersion Tour:
12 Days Vietnam Nature and Culture Tour
Travel Route: Hanoi - Halong Bay Cruise - Danang - Hoi An - Hue - Saigon

Visit pagodas and temples with special ceremonies and rituals.

Perfume Pagoda

Explore the spiritual side of Tet Doan Ngo by visiting pagodas and temples that hold special ceremonies and rituals during the festival. Observe traditional practices, make offerings, and seek blessings for good fortune. It is an opportunity to connect with the spiritual traditions of Vietnam and experience the serene ambiance of these sacred places. Here are a few pagodas and temples in Vietnam where you can witness special ceremonies and rituals during Tet Doan Ngo:

Perfume Pagoda (Huong Pagoda) - Located in Hanoi, it hosts grand ceremonies with offerings and prayers.
One Pillar Pagoda - Situated in Hanoi, it holds symbolic ceremonies and rituals during Tet Doan Ngo.
Bai Dinh Pagoda - Found in Ninh Binh province, it features elaborate ceremonies, Buddhist chanting, and processions.
Thien Mu Pagoda - Located in Hue, it offers rituals such as lighting candles, incense, and Buddhist teachings.
Cao Dai Temples - The main Cao Dai Holy See in Tay Ninh province holds colorful processions and religious rituals.

Immerse in the local culture with traditional Vietnamese arts

Cao Dai Temples

Tet Doan Ngo is a time when traditional Vietnamese arts come to life. Attend cultural performances, music concerts, or dance shows that showcase the rich traditions of Vietnam. Experience the beauty of traditional music, dance, and martial arts demonstrations. It is a chance to appreciate the artistic heritage of the country.

Recommended Vietnam Exploration Tour during Tet Doan Ngo:
13 Days Vietnam Highlights Tour
Travel Route: Saigon - Danang - Hoi An - Hue - Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hanoi

Take part in community activities during the Vietnam Dragon Boat Festival

Engage in community activities organized during Tet Doan Ngo, such as lantern-making workshops, traditional game sessions, or crafting activities. Connect with locals, learn about their customs, and foster a sense of togetherness. It is a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and forge new friendships.

Enjoy various seasonal fruit in the Festival of Southern Fruit

The Festival of Fruit

The Festival of Southern Fruit typically takes place in Ho Chi Minh City and other southern provinces during the summer season, which aligns with the timing of Tet Doan Ngo. It showcases a wide array of tropical fruits from the region, including durian, mangosteen, rambutan, longan, and many more.

During the festival, visitors have the opportunity to sample and purchase different types of fruits, enjoy fruit carving demonstrations, participate in fruit-themed contests and competitions, and witness cultural performances. It is a vibrant and lively event that celebrates the agricultural richness of the southern region and offers a chance to indulge in the delicious flavors of local fruits.

Recommended Southern Vietnam Tet Doan Ngo Tour:
14 Days Vietnam Discovery Tour from North to South
Travel Route: Hanoi - Sapa - Hanoi - Halong Bay Cruise - Hoi An - Saigon - Vinh Long - Can Tho - Saigon

<Note: The specific details and events for Tet Doan Ngo in 2023 may vary, so it's advisable to check the latest information and local schedules when planning your visit.>

Beat Souvenir of A Tet Doan Ngo Tour

When it comes to choosing the perfect souvenir for your Tet Doan Ngo tour in Vietnam, consider something that reflects the festival's spirit and the local culture. Here are some ideas for memorable souvenirs:

Handmade Crafts: Look for handcrafted items that showcase Vietnam's traditional skills and craftsmanship. This could include lacquerware, bamboo products, embroidered textiles, or ceramic pottery. These items not only make unique souvenirs but also support local artisans.

Dong Ho Painting

Dong Ho Paintings: Dong Ho folk paintings are a unique art form originating from the village of Dong Ho. These handmade woodblock prints depict scenes from daily life, folklore, and festivals. They are intricate, and colorful, and make for stunning wall decorations or framed artworks.

Traditional Clothing: Consider purchasing traditional Vietnamese clothing, such as an elegant ao dai (traditional dress) or a conical hat. These iconic garments represent Vietnamese culture and can be a beautiful addition to your wardrobe or a decorative item for your home.

Calligraphy Art: Vietnamese calligraphy is an esteemed art form. Purchase a piece of calligraphy art that displays a meaningful phrase or an auspicious word. It can be a beautiful reminder of the festival's significance and a decorative item for your living space.


Festival-related Items: Seek out items specific to Tet Doan Ngo, such as miniature zongzi (sticky rice dumplings) or decorative items related to the festival. These items represent the festival's traditions and can evoke memories of the celebrations.

Local Delicacies: Bring home some traditional Vietnamese treats and delicacies as edible souvenirs. These could include specialty teas, coffee, rice cakes, or preserved fruits. They make for delightful gifts for friends and family or a personal indulgence to savor the flavors of Vietnam.

Dragon Boat Memorabilia: Look for souvenirs that feature dragon boat motifs, such as miniature dragon boats, keychains, or decorative items. These items symbolize the festival’s spirit and remind you of the exciting dragon boat races you witnessed during Tet Doan Ngo.

To Sum Up

To sum up, Tet Doan Ngo, the Vietnam Dragon Boat Festival, offers a captivating journey into the country's cultural heritage. From the ancient traditions of consuming sticky rice dumplings and hanging herb pouches to the exhilarating dragon boat races and vibrant local festivals, Tet Doan Ngo provides a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the rich tapestry of Vietnam's customs and traditions. So, mark your calendars for Tet Doan Ngo 2023 and embark on an unforgettable adventure to explore the mystery and excitement of this remarkable festival.

If you want to visit Vietnam to experience the Tet Doan Ngo, you can contact us to tailor your best Tet Doan Ngo Vietnam Tour.

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