Once upon a time, during the reign of the 6th Hung King, after defeating the An enemy, the king intended to pass the throne to his son.
On the occasion of the beginning of spring, the new king gathered the princes, said: “Whoever finds good food, to arrange the most meaningful feast, I will pass the throne to him”.
The princes competed in search of strange gifts to offer to their father, in the hope of taking the throne.
Meanwhile, the 18th son of Hung Vuong, Tiet Lieu (also known as Lang Lieu) had a gentle disposition, a moral lifestyle, and was filial to his parents. Because his mother died early, there was no one to raise him, so he was worried that he didn’t know what to do.
One day, Tiet Lieu dreamed that God came and said: “Son, there is nothing more precious in Heaven and Earth than rice, because rice is the food that feeds people. You should use glutinous rice to make round and square cakes to represent Heaven and Earth. Let’s take the outer leaf, put the filling inside the bread, so that the image of the Father and Mother gives birth.”
Tiet Lieu woke up, extremely happy. He followed God’s instructions, chose very good glutinous rice to make square cakes to represent the Earth, and put them in a cooked bowl called Banh Chung. And he pounded the sticky rice to make a round cake, leaving the image of Heaven, called Banh Day. The green leaves wrapped on the outside and the filling inside the cake are the image of loving parents taking care of their children.
On the appointed day, the princes brought food to the table. Oh come on, full of flavors, many delicious dishes. Prince Tiet Lieu only had Banh Day and Banh Chung. King Hung Vuong was surprised to ask, then Tiet Lieu brought the story of the God of the dream and explained the meaning of Banh Day and Banh Chung. The king’s father tasted it, saw that the cake was delicious, the compliment was meaningful, so he passed the throne to his 18th son, Tiet Lieu.
Since then, every time the Lunar New Year comes, people make Chung and Day cakes to offer them to ancestors of heavens and earth.