Entering the warm spring when flowers start blooming and every creature seems to shake off its gloomy appearance in the previous winter, Vietnamese people celebrate the traditional festival of Thanh Minh-Holiday of the Dead. The festival is also known as Cold Food Festival (Tet Han Thuc) as people often eat cold dishes on this day.
Each year, Thanh Minh is conducted on the third day of the third month in Lunar Calendar, and it aims at showing people’s respects towards their ancestors and their deceased relatives as well.
Before the Holiday, family members clean and tidy the graves of their ancestors and also the surrounding areas. On the date of Thanh Minh, individuals make solemn visits to the graves with offerings of incense, food and flowers. At home, they eat Banh Troi (spheres made of glutinous rice flour, each with a piece of red sugar inside) and Banh Chay (spheres that are bigger than Banh Troi but contain sweet green bean paste instead of red sugar pieces) as cold foods.
TIME: 3rd day of 3rd lunar month
PURPOSE: show respect to ancestors and deceased relatives
ACTIVITIES: cleaning graves, praying, offerings, eating cold foods