It’s origin from China. In Vietnam, we call Tết Hàn Thực, the Cold Food Festival is celebrated by Vietnamese people in the northern part of the country on the third day of the third lunar month, but only marginally. People cook glutinous rice balls called bánh trôi on that day but the holiday’s origins are largely forgotten, and the fire taboo is also largely ignored.
In the Chinese history, This day is dead anniversary of “Gioi Tu Thoi”, a loyalty madarin in the dynasty of King Tan Van Cung. Legend has it that 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, cut off the flesh from his thigh and offered it to the prince for sustenance.
Later, when he became King Tan Van Cung, he ordered a search for Gioi Tu Thoi who had gone into hiding in the remote mountains with his mother. Gioi Tu Thoi had no political ambitions and felt ashamed to work with his hypocritical fellows, hence refused invitation of the Duke. King ordered the mountains to be burned down in order to force Tu Thoi out of hiding. Unfortunately Tu Thoi did not give in and the fire ended up killing him and his mother.
Filled with remorse, King Tan Van Cung 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 Jiexiu City of the Shanxi Province, where Tu Thoi died, locals still remember this tradition clearly. But even for them the tradition of eating cold food is no longer actually practiced.
In reality, the true source of the Cold Food Festival started from the ancient tradition of setting fire by rubbing wood pieces together and the tradition of lighting new fires. Due to the change of seasons and the change in the type of wood available, the ancient practice was to change the type of fire-starter-wood used from season to season. Fire is lighted anew upon the start of each season. Before the new fire is officially started no one is allowed to light a fire. This was an important event during that time. The traditionally practiced activities during the Cold Food Festival includes the visitation of ancestral tombs, cock-fighting, playing on swings, beating out blankets (to freshen them), tug-of-war, etc. The practice of visiting ancestral tombs is especially ancient.