The traditional Double-Fifth Festival, or Đoan Ngọ in Vietnamese, is observed in Vietnam and several other East Asian countries. As it occurs near summer solstice, Đoan Ngọ marks the inception of the hottest spell of the whole year, often coupled with many epidemics and plagues. Therefore, in olden days Vietnamese people used a number of ways to stay healthy, such as getting rid of pests, plucking leaves to prepare herbal compounds, or wearing five-colored amulets. Đoan Ngọ, which is also known as the “all-people medical day”, aims to champion folk experience and wisdom while alerting the public to the danger of epidemics. The message conveyed these Đoan Ngọ customs is one of “health and safety”.
1. Đoan Ngọ: Doan means the start, Ngo refers the noon from 11h-13h, the sunniest moment of the day. Doan Ngo means the opening day of the hottest days of year.
2. Đoan Dương: Doan means the start, Duong means sun, positive element. Doan Duong means that the positive element is strong.
3. Đoan Ngũ: In the past, Vietnamese people called the 1st day of May as Doan nhat day, the 2nd day of May as Doan nhi day, until the 5th day of May as Doan ngu.
4. Half-year festival: According to the ancient calendar of Vietnam, May is the middle of year so May 5th festival is also called a half-year festival.
5. “Killing insects” festival: In the early morning of this festival, when waking up, people have customs to eat kinds of food to kill inner insects.
1. The practice of "killing pests and worms"
2. Plucking medicinal herbs prior to Đoan Ngọ festival
3."Five-colored amulets" sewing street
4. Hanging wormwood/cactus
5. Steaming with aromatic leaves
6. Polishing nails
7. Passing diseases to trees
8. Prospecting plants
9. Wearing marked shirts and stringing ears
10. Wearing marked shirts and stringing ears
11. Festival greeting
12. Fan in its origins and to the present
13. The ceremony of the King-Bestowed fan
Natural calamities, epidemics and wars are the three biggest scourges of all times, calling for appropriate measures, regulations and response policies to calm the people. According to historical record, under the reign of King Lê Thánh Tông (in 1467) a major epidemic occurred in Vietnam. In an unprecedented decision, the king allowed the “provincial mandarins, in case of epidemics, to use the tax money to procure medicines and distribute them to the people”. The foregoing policy was a clear indication of the attention accorded by the royal court to the well-being of the people and was lauded for its profound humanitarian nature. Today, that humanitarian tradition continues to be demonstrated in a worthy manner through the Prime Minister’s directives that aimed to contain Covid-19, saying “Combating pandemics is like combating bandits”. The government consider saving people’s lives their top priority, evidenced in such mottos as “Human life first” and “No one should be left behind”.