There are hundreds of beautiful festivals in Vietnam each year. Among them, the Mid Autumn festival, also known as Full Moon Festival, is one of the most famous and is a traditional celebration for Vietnamese children.
What is the Mid Autumn festival?
Although the Mid Autumn festival originated in China and is celebrated in many Asian countries such as Korea and Japan, the Vietnamese people have their own way to celebrate the festival. It is held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month (usually in late September or early October) and it is celebrated for a whole day. This is an opportunity for members of the family to gather and share everything together. Also, because this time of the year is usually after harvest, the festival is also a celebration of a successful harvest.
In the weeks before Mid Autumn, groups of lion and unicorn dancers start to practice on the streets. Mooncake stalls appear on every other corner, city districts are full with preparations of toys, lanterns and colourful masks. On the day, the adults and the parents prepare many different foods such as mooncakes, candy and fruit. All the fruits are designed with fun symbols, such as: dogs, cats, buffaloes, etc..
How do Vietnamese people celebrate Mid Autumn festival?
Mid Autumn festival seems to be one of the most fascinating and colorful festivals in Vietnam. This is a chance for parents to remind themselves of their childhood and give their children great memories of this occasion through special foods and activities.
Food – The mooncake is a great symbol
The mooncake is a specific cake that you can only find during this festival. This cake is made from different flavours: usually eggs, dried fruit, pumpkin seeds and green beans. It is a very sweet dish. Therefore, the best way to enjoy it is with green tea. Mooncakes symbolise luck, happiness, wealth and health. All members of the family will gather around for a feast to celebrate under the moonlight. Grapefruits can’t be missed in the feast because it is the seasonal food at the time, and can easily be shaped into a small dog.
Lantern parade – lots of fun for the kids!
As a special performance in the evening of the full moon, the children are provided with many nice lanterns and funny masks with animals such as monkeys, lions and tigers. Lanterns were a symbol of fertility in the past but in recent times have functioned more as decorations. It has been a tradition to have a lantern parade under the full moon. The spirit of the parade is that children use the beautiful lanterns, wear funny masks while performing lion dances, and sing folk songs in the streets.
Other activites – lion dances, moon watching
Usually the kids will participate in the lion dance, and the parents eat mooncake whilst watching the moon rising. It is said that the moon will be very big and bright on the night of the Mid Autumn festival.
During the festival, the streets in Vietnam will be packed with families shopping for a variety of toys, lanterns and mooncakes. The kids are always very excited as it is a celebration specifically for them.