The festival was one that was held every year in memory of a sincere noble man named Jie Zitui. Though not an official day for celebrations or prayers, it is religiously observed in places like Korea, Vietnam and China.

Cold Food Festival 2019 was on April 04 Thursday

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The festival is not celebrated in much pomp, but one that remembers a loyal nobleman who dutifully served his master- the prince Chong Er.

The Significance and History behind the Cold Food Festival 

A rather interesting history will sums out like this:

In the 7th century, the Chinese Kingdom was split into many smaller territories. One of the territories- now the modern Shanxi was under the rule of the Duke. Now, this duke had many wives, but one among them was cunning among the lot. 

She wanted her son to be in the line for getting the throne.  But two other elder boys stood in the way of her dreams.

The first boy committed suicide fearing that she would plot and assassinate him.  Next, came Ching Er and he too was scared of her attempts to put him out of the throne. So, he fled away from home town and went into exile.

When in exile, he had a faithful servant named Jie Zitui- his personal noble man. But this man, did more than what was expected of him. He used to sing and entertain the prince with a lot of poems and songs. He also to prepare meals for the future king.

It was said that when food was less, he even took flesh from his own thigh to prepare a soup and ease the hunger of the prince. 

But the prince never knew aything of his loyal deeds at that time. Once the wars were over, and he got back his throne- the duke decided to gift all those who helped him. But Jie never came back to the court. He never believed in position, power and fame. But the Duke wanted him and found out new ways to call him back.

Since Jie wanted to escape the repeated calls from his king and master, he and his mother fled into the forests.

Once the duke found that there were hiding in the forests, he ordered a fire to burn. His intention was only to smoke and bring them out of the forest. But the mother and son never ran out, and instead they were burnt alive inside the forest.

The duke felt extremely guilty at this action, and named that forest mountain as Mt.Jie. He also named that day as the Cold Food Festival Day.

On this day, he decided that no one should light a fire, even to cook their food. Since their staple is rice, and needs fire to boil and cook- he stopped this daily practice(for this festival only). Instead, people were asked to prepare before hand and eat only cold food on the Cold food festival .

The day was used to remember a man who was loyal and who sternly stuck to his beliefs. Though the festival is banned in many places  as people needed some fire in the cold months, certain places like China, Korea and Vietnam still follow the ritual of not starting fire.

Also Reads: Ancestors Day or the Tomb Sweeping Day

How is the Cold Food Festival celebrated today?

Today, all family members gather together, offer their prayers to Lord Buddha. They also worship and give thanks to all their ancestors and seek their blessings. 

Now this festival is most popular in Vietnam and people purchase glutinous rice flour after all their prayers. They prepare floating cakes that are know are Banh Troi and Banh Chay. Both are almost the same, 

The rice flour chosen for the festival is a special one as it is sticky and has a unique flavour to it. Plus, the cooked cakes are immersed in a sweet grapefruit blossom water.

All this is offered to Buddha and ancestors during the home rituals. The food is offered as a form of gratitude to the ancestors. In the past, the rice cakes were always white in colour. But now, they serve in many colours and that makes it more irresistible and special for the great day. 

Cold Food Festival festival dates between 2016 & 2026

YearDate
2016Sunday, 3rd of April
2017Monday, 3rd of April
2018Tuesday, 3rd of April
2019Thursday, 4th of April
2020Friday, 3rd of April
2021Saturday, 3rd of April
2022Sunday, 3rd of April
2023Tuesday, 4th of April
2024Wednesday, 3rd of April
2025Thursday, 3rd of April
2026Friday, 3rd of April

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