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The Enchanting Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam: A Celebration of Children

CEO Tinh Phung
Photo: danangz,vn The Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam, known as Tet Trung Thu in Vietnamese, is a captivating and ancient celebration that revolves around children. Held on the full moon night of the 15th day of...

Mid-Autumn Festival Photo: danangz,vn

The Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam, known as Tet Trung Thu in Vietnamese, is a captivating and ancient celebration that revolves around children. Held on the full moon night of the 15th day of the Lunar August, it is the most enchanting and picturesque night of the year. The festival is replete with moon contemplation, procession of star and moon-shaped lanterns, lion dances, and delightful feasts with moon cakes and fruits. But have you ever wondered about the origins and customs of this special festival?

How the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam Was Originated?

The Full Moon Festival in Vietnam dates back thousands of years, originating in Southeast Asia. It is traditionally celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th Lunar Month. On this day, when you gaze at the moon, you will notice that its orbit is at the lowest angle to the horizon, making it appear brighter and larger than at any other time of the year. It is this exquisite sight of the full moon that gave rise to a festival brimming with entertainment activities in its honor.

Origins of the Mid-Autumn Festival Photo: danangz,vn

There are several explanations for this phenomenon and the tradition of celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival. According to ancient manuscripts, it is said to have begun during the reign of King Duong Minh Hoang in China, at the beginning of the 8th century. The emperor, who harbored a deep desire to visit the Palace on the Moon, was magically transported there and warmly welcomed by a host of beautiful fairies. Enthralled by their graceful dance, which was called Nghe Thuong Vu Y, he endeavored to commit it to memory. Over time, he discovered the similarities between Nghe Thuong Vu Y and Ba La Mon dance styles. Combining the two, he introduced this new style to his far-reaching dominions. And thus, the tradition of moon-watching, captivating dances, and melodious songs became an integral part of the Mid-Autumn celebration.

What is the Full Moon Festival in Vietnam Like?

1. Celebration on Animated Streets

The Festival is akin to a delightful blend of Halloween and Thanksgiving. On the night of Lunar August 15th, the streets come alive with people bustling about, purchasing festival essentials, and joyfully wandering. Colorful paper lanterns, cakes, candies, and rice dough toy animals adorn the markets. Children parade through the streets, singing and carrying lanterns of various shapes and sizes, such as fishes, stars, and butterflies. When candles are lit inside these lanterns, they spin, symbolizing the Earth's journey around the sun. In well-off families, the Mid-Autumn banquet showcases the highly-prized cooking abilities of their young girls.

This festival, primarily centered around children, provides parents with the perfect opportunity to engage in lantern making, costume preparation for the lantern procession, and discussions about Vietnam's rich history and culture. Celebrating our love for children and imparting Vietnam's deep-rooted affection for its young ones creates a joyous reason to celebrate!

2. Lion Dances and Moon Cakes

An essential part of the Mid-Autumn Festival is the enchanting lion dances. Both professional and non-professional groups of children perform these dances on the streets and visit houses. If welcomed by the hosts, the lion enters and gracefully dances, symbolizing good luck.

Lion Dances at the Mid-Autumn Festival Photo: vov.vn

Apart from lion dances, it is customary to offer Banh Trung Thu, beautifully crafted moon cakes that boast rich flavors. These cakes are filled with lotus seeds, ground beans, and orange peels, with a bright yolk in the center representing the moon.

Moon Cakes Photo: sunshinefoodgroup.com.au

The "Banh deo" is a soft, sticky rice cake filled with a delightful mixture of lotus seeds, pumpkin seeds, or green beans. On the other hand, the "Banh nuong" is a brown cake with a savory taste, filled with a blend of egg, pork fat, fried onion, peanut, and lemon leaves. Both cakes come in round or square shapes.

Where Can You Join This Event in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City?

In Ha Noi, you can head to Ho Tay Water Park, Van Ho Exhibition Centre, and Giang Vo Exhibition Centre to enjoy musical performances dedicated to children during these two days.

In Ho Chi Minh City, the government organizes "Full Moon Festival" parties for children between the 10th and 15th of August. As part of the festivities, approximately 5,000 children participate in lantern processions along the main streets.

Today, the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, with its profound love for children, serves as a platform to promote education, poetry, dance, arts, and crafts. Many Vietnamese families living abroad make it a point to bring their children back to their homeland during this important festival. For those unable to return, they organize their own celebrations, ensuring their children remain connected to their origins and national culture.

This unique festival warmly welcomes not only locals but also tourists from around the world. Join in the festivities, marvel at the lanterns carried by children, savor the delectable cakes, and bask in the joy of receiving celebration gifts during the Mid-Autumn Festival!