Culture Culture

19/01/2020 - 18:12

Scents of traditional Tet cakes

Contests on preparing banh chung, banh tet, organizing royal games, calligraphy performances… are activities that are interwoven in the program “Scents of traditional Tet cakes” in Hue Imperial Palace. Activities are held on January 18 (December 24).

The old traditional of making banh chung for Tet holiday

"Good omen reaching the white clouds / Old scents of the old Tet gathering in the capital city / The Tet green bamboo tree waiting / The clouds and wind conversing on the spring days..." are the lines in the opening verse of the chau van tunes “Huong xua banh tet” (Scents of traditional Tet cakes)

According to legend, the sixth Hung Vuong King wanted to find a successor. He summoned the princes and told them that he would pass the throne to anyone who could offer an object of filial piety to worship the previous Kings. Prince Lang Lieu offered two types of cakes - banh chung, banh day made from sticky rice as symbols for the heavens and earth. Since then, banh chung has been a part of our national history, becoming a unique cultural feature. Whenever Tet comes, on the tray of offerings for ancestral worship of Vietnamese people, banh chung and banh tet are indispensable.

The banh chung offering procession to The Mieu. Photo: Bao Minh

During the Nguyen Dynasty, Tet in Hue Imperial Palace was solemnly celebrated. From the Ban soc ritual on the first day of December of the Lunar calendar, to the Ha tieu ritual on the seventh day of January of the Lunar calendar. In the space filled with the spring color of "Scents of traditional Tet cakes", the old tradition of making banh chung for Tet holiday is carried out with the boiling pot of banh chung on the wood stove. The most beautiful cakes are chosen to offer to the past Kings being worshipped in The Mieu. The remaining banh chung and banh tet are donated to the disadvantaged laborers and the children in the childcare centers.

Story and photos: Dong Van