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Worm-Killing Festival brings fruit fairs to southland
Friday, 05.29.2009, 07:22am (GMT)

Fruit fairs are crowding southern streets to begin the annual Worm- Killing Festival, in which the eating of fruit is believed to ward off diseases and intestinal worms during the summer solstice.
Since ancient times, the summer solstice has been thought to be a time of pestilence, warranting ceremonies intended to ward off plague, and parasites, and keep people happy and healthy through the summer. People believe intestinal worms emerge this time of year and so it is the ideal time to eradicate them by eating unripe fruit and com ruou (fermented glutinous rice) as part of the Tet Doan Ngo, or Worm-Killing Festival, held today, the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.
Another popular food for Tet Doan Ngo is banh u tro, a kind of cake made of glutinous rice flour dipped in lye and wrapped in bamboo leaves. The “sticky rice,” as it’s also known, is supposed to clean out a person’s insides after killing the worms with fruit.
In celebration of the Worm-Killing Festival, more than 50 different kinds of fruit are being offered at 20-40 percent discounts at Suoi Tien Theme Park in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 9.
The Southern Fruit Festival is showcasing specialty fruit dishes at the park on Hanoi Highway in Tan Phu Ward.
The annual festival, which started last Sunday, includes a fruit-sculpting competition, music performances, folk games, and parades.
Singing and fighting-bird competitions will be held Saturday while Monday will see a fruit contest to judge which treat is the tastiest and which was grown most organically.
The festival’s activities end Monday but the fruit fair will remain open until the end of September.
Meanwhile, Cho Lach District in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre is opening its own Delicious Fruit Fair today, in honor of Tet Doan Ngo.
The ninth annual festival will include ornamental plant competitions as well as strange fruits and street food displays.

Reported by Van Khoa


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