The Mid-Autumn Festival is named “Têt Trung Thu” in Vietnamese. It’s a traditional festival for Vietnamese children.
Once a year, on the 15th day of the 8th month on the lunar calendar, the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is celebrated all over Vietnam. It is the most exciting time to learn about the beautiful traditions and customs in Vietnam. Each household then offers sacrifices to the God of Earth. While occupied with harvesting parents do not have much time to take care of their children; therefore, they make full use of the festival holiday to play with their children.
Worshiping the God of Earth
To worship the God of Earth, a platform is set up in the yard during the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, on which moon cakes, fruit, and snacks are laid. The platform is not taken down until midnight, when the food has been completely eaten. Most families also set up a special platform for children so that they can enjoy food at any time during the evening.
Carrying Carp-Shaped Lanterns
Lanterns are important customs of the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam. It is also a tradition for the Vietnamese to light lanterns during the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival. A legend states that a carp spirit once killed many people during the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, so that no household dared to go outside during that night.
Nowadays, children hold various kinds of paper lanterns and play in the moonlight, while eating moon cakes during the evening of the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Watching the Lion Dance
Lion dancing or “múa lân” is an essential element of the Mid-autumn festivities. At night, groups of children parade through the streets, go from door to door and ask house owners for their permission to perform the lion dance. If it is agreed then the children will put on a show, which is believed to bring luck and fortune. Afterwards, the owners will give the children ‘lucky’ money for their gratitude.
These lion dances are fascinating, and huge amounts of children, ranging from little kids to teenagers, participate in this activity. As a result of having so many groups of children marching around, the streets of the cities echo with the sound of drums, as dozens of lion roam.
Where to joint this festival in Hanoi and Hochiminh City
If you’re in Hanoi before the Mid-Autumn Festival, be sure to visit Hàng Mã and Lương Văn Can. These streets will be packed with a variety of toys and lanterns. Another Hanoi address to visit before the big night is 87 Mã Mây, where you can watch local artisans preparing festival crafts. On the eve of Mid-autumn, the Youth Theatre on Ngô Thì Nhậm Street and the Children’s Palace on Lý Thái Tổ Street host children’s musical shows.
The area of Chợ Lớn in Hochiminh City is home to exciting Mid-autumn festivities. Stop by Lương Như Hộc Street, famous for its lanterns, masks and lion heads overflowing on the sidewalks. This is the perfect spot to pick up a souvenir lion head. The shop at 109 Triệu Quang Phục Street has been selling lion heads to the city’s best dancers for five decades.
Today, the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, together with the encouraging affection for children, promotes education, poetry, dance, arts and crafts. Most overseas Vietnamese family, though far away from their home country, would like to bring their kids back to the home country right in Full moon festival time, one among the most important ones in Vietnam. Otherwise, most of them hold a distant festival on their own in the country where they live to remind the kids of their origin and national culture.