The legend has been told that, in Spring and Autumn period, Chong'er (Tan Van Cong), a prince of Jin, endured many hardships while he fled around the warring states. Once, in order to help the prince who was tormented by hunger, Jiè Zhītuī (Gioi Tu Thoi) cut off the flesh from his thigh and offered it to the prince for sustenance.
Later, when Chong'er became Duke Wen of Jin, he ordered a search for Jie Zhitui who had gone into hiding in the remote mountains with his mother. Jie Zhitui had no political ambitions and felt ashamed to work with his hypocritical fellows, hence refused invitation of the Duke. Then the mountain was ordered to be burned down in order to force Zhitui out of hiding. Unfortunately Zhitui did not give in and the fire ended up killing Zhitui and his mother.
Filled with remorse, the Duke ordered that each year during these three days the setting of fire is forbidden – all food was to be consumed cold. Therefore the Festival is thus named
In Vietnam, because of a thousand years of domination by northern invaders, our people were affected by Chinese customs and we also celebrated Cold Food Festival, which is called Tết hàn thực , in the northen part of the country, but only marginally. However, our Cold Food Festival is very different from Chinese’s. We cook glutinous rice balls called “bánh trôi bánh chay” on that day to worship their forefather but the holiday's origins are largely forgotten, and the fire taboo is also largely ignored.
2. Origin of “Bánh trôi bánh chay”
In Cold Food Festival, “bánh trôi bánh chay” are indispensable. However, through many generations, people still make these cakes but almost of them do not know about their origins. There are many legends about them but the most famous one is the legend of Lac Long Quan and Au Co. According to this legend, Au Co gave birth to a bundle of 100 eggs, which hatching 100 sons. After...