Full Moon of First Lunar Month: Customs, Dishes and Meaning

If you do not know what to cook for the upcoming full moon festival, check out the list of recipes below!
February 15, 2022 | 07:08

The full moon day of the first lunar month is also known as Tet Nguyen Tieu. This year, the festival falls on Feb. 15. On the day, Vietnamese worship their ancestors, go to pagodas, and pray to the Buddha for good fortune for themselves and their families.

Full Moon of First Lunar Month: Customs, Dishes and Meaning
Photo: Bach hoa Xanh

Meaning of the first full moon

Tet Nguyen Tieu is an important festival in the spiritual life of Vietnamese people. There is a saying: "A year-round offering is not as good as a single one on the first full moon," which identifies the festival's significance.

Many people believe that Buddha arrives on the earth on Nguyen Tieu, so on the first full moon, people often go to the pagodas to pray for peace and luck. In the old times, farmers often start farming on the first full moon. Before going to the field, they prepare offering trays to the gods and ancestors, wishing for favorable weather and a bountiful harvest.

Some documents point out that the customs of worship for the first full month was born in China then was gradually spread to other Asian countries. In the process of cultural interference, Vietnam and other countries in the region have found their own ways to celebrate the occasion.

Recipes of traditional dishes

Full Moon of First Lunar Month: Customs, Dishes and Meaning
Savory steamed chicken (Photo: CET)

Savory steamed chicken

Ingredients: a chicken of 1.3- 1.5kg, two cups of salt, eight lemongrass, ten lime leaves, two purple onions, five green chili peppers


- Pound or grind 2 sliced lemongrasses, onion, chili, a tablespoon of salt to, rub the mixture on the chicken to marinate for 30 minutes. Stuff the chicken belly with lemongrass and lime leaves.

- Add two cups of salt, lemongrass, lime leaves to a pot, then put the chicken on.

- Steam for 45 minutes on high heat or until the chicken is well cooked.

Full Moon of First Lunar Month: Customs, Dishes and Meaning
Pork skin soup (Photo: Thuc Than)

Pork skin soup

Ingredients: 200g of pork bone, 200g of pork paste, 100g - 200g of black tiger shrimp, 200g of shiitake mushrooms, 100g of cauliflower, 100g of carrots, 50g of dry pork skin, salt, pepper, cilantro.


- Soak the dry pork skin in warm water, then cut into small pieces.

- Peel the shrimp.

- Cut vegetables into small pieces.

- Stew the bones at low heat for 30 minutes to get the broth. Add the carrots, cauliflower, mushrooms, and pork skin.

- Make meatballs from pork paste, then add the balls and shrimp into the pot.

- Leave the pot for boiling for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat, pour the soup into bowls and garnish with coriander.

Full Moon of First Lunar Month: Customs, Dishes and Meaning
Jelly meat (Photo: VNE)

Jelly meat

Ingredients: 400g of pork leg, 150g of fresh pork skin, a small onion, three purple onions, 50g of black wood ear, 1 teaspoon of fish sauce, a pinch of MSG, 1 teaspoon of crushed pepper.


- Wash the pork and cut it into big pieces, then boil them with a pinch of salt. While boiling, take out the foam to keep the broth clear.

- When the meat is cooked, lower the heat, add pepper and onion to stew for about 25 minutes, then take the pork out while keep boiling the broth. Add wood ear mushrooms and cook for another 10 minutes, seasoning to taste.

- Pour the mixture into a bowl, put it in the refrigerator for several hours for cooling down.

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