A Captivating Capital Celebration: Hanoi’s Tet Doan Ngo Festival

As we transition from spring to summer, the warmer climate creates an environment conducive to the proliferation of insects and diseases. Tet Doan Ngo is a traditional festival that holds great significance in helping people stay healthy during this time. By observing this festival, we can take proactive steps to protect our well-being and ensure a healthy and prosperous summer season.


Tet Doan Ngo, or the “Bug-Killing Festival,” is an ancient tradition observed in Vietnam and several East Asian countries. Falling on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month, it marks the beginning of the year’s hottest days.

To combat the heat and prevent epidemics, Vietnamese ancestors practiced unique customs. These include early morning feasts of specific foods, noon herb-picking and tea-making, and wearing five-colored threads and scented medicine bags to ward off insects and maintain health.

Tet Doan Ngo is a busy day for all, especially housewives who prepare offerings and ancestral worship. It’s a time to pray for family well-being and happiness and to pass on cultural traditions to the next generation.

The festival is a unique opportunity to showcase Vietnamese cultural customs and introduce foreign tourists to the country’s distinctive way of life.

The Tet Doan Ngo worship tray includes fresh seasonal fruits, ruou nep (fermented steamed glutinous rice), and banh tro (glutinous rice cake cooked with mistletoe ash). Photo: Ha Le

Merchants on Hang Be Street, a famous market in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, are busy from early morning, preparing specialties for Tet Doan Ngo. Photo: Nhan Dan Newspaper

Fresh fruits and offerings for Tet Doan Ngo on Hang Be Street. Photo: Nhan Dan Newspaper

A Hanoi housewife’s offering tray for Tet Doan Ngo. Photo: Chuyen cua Hanoi Group

A typical Hanoian ancestor offering tray for Tet Doan Ngo, featuring banh com (young sticky rice cake with green bean stuffing), xoi com (young sticky rice with lotus seeds), banh tro, and ruou nep, adorned with lotus flowers from West Lake. Photo: Thu Giang

Visitors at Thang Long Imperial Citadel participate in cultural programs celebrating Tet Doan Ngo. Photo: Huy Pham/The Hanoi Times

Tourists and international friends experience unique rituals and customs of Tet Doan Ngo, learning about the value of Vietnamese royal culture. Photo: Huy Pham/The Hanoi Times

Participants enjoy tasting traditional fruits and foods believed to ward off summer diseases. Photo: Huy Pham/The Hanoi Times
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