Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam - Têt Trung Thu, Children’s Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam is on the 15th day of 8th lunar month, and there is no holiday. There are many traditional celebrations, including worshipping the moon, worshipping the local Earth God, families gathering together to admire the moon and eat mooncakes, lion dances, water puppet show and other folk performances, as well as the grandest lantern fairs. It is more like a Children’s Day for that children hang the carp-shaped lanterns to have fun on the street and play “trick or treat”. In recent years, Vietnamese Moon Festival customs have also quietly changed. During the festival, many young people have a gathering at home, or go out to enjoy the moon. Therefore, in addition to the traditional meaning, the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam is adding new connotations and is gradually favored by young people.

Kids’ Garden Party, each Child Holding a Carp-shaped Lantern

According to Vietnamese customs, parents will give children their favorite toys and snacks on the day as gifts. They will also make them carp-shaped lanterns and children will take them to ask for candies or cakes in neighborhood with other children, somehow like the “trick or treat”.

Why the lantern is carp shaped? It is said that after the carp turned to be a monster, he killed people at night. To fight against him, a man suggested children light carp-shaped lanterns to protect themselves and it worked. Gradually it became a custom. Lighting carp-shaped lanterns also express parents’ best wishes for their children to be successful in the future.

Vietnam Mid-autumn Festival Story about Cuội

In Vietnam, a Mid-autumn Festival folktale is widely spread. It is said that there was a boy named Cuội who treated and cured many people with a tree that was rumored to be a bodhi tree. One day, the Bodhi tree in the hand of Cuội suddenly flew into the sky, carrying Cuội to the moon palace. In order to appreciate the good deeds of Cuội and celebrate him becoming a god in the moon, the villagers light lanterns on every 15th day of the 8th lunar month.

Worship the Local Earth God

The Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam is the time when the rice is ripe and harvested. At this time, each household must worship the local Earth God to express their gratitude for his protection to the field.

Family Members Come Together to Admire the Full Moon

Mid-Autumn Day is the time for family reunion in Vietnam. All family members come together to admire the fullest and brightest moon in the year and chat with each other about their recent situation. It is a significant time to tie the relationship for families.

Lion Dance Performance

Around the Vietnamese Moon Festival, lively lion dance performance is the most fantastic activity with many kids and teenagers participate in. Lion dancers often dance for one household after another in their village and beg for lucky money.

Vietnamese Mooncakes

There are two major types of Vietnamese mooncakes. One is baked mooncake which is similar to Chinese ones; the carp-shaped and moon-shaped are highly popular and the common fillings are mung bean, egg yolk, and lotus seed paste. Another popular mooncake in Vietnam is soft white mooncake made by glutinous rice flour without fillings.

Where to Go during the Mid-autumn Festival in Vietnam

1. Hoi An Ancient Town, Da Nang

Hoi An is now the largest lantern production center in Vietnam, and many families make a living by making lanterns. Every year on Mid-Autumn Day, the electric lights in the ancient city of Hoi An will be turned off, and every household hang lanterns and everyone wears costumes. The best way to enjoy the lanterns is by boat in the river with reflections of the colorful lanterns on banks.

2. Hanoi Old Quarter, especially Hang Ma Street

The Hanoi Old Quarter is a place with traditional Vietnamese architecture. But what attracts the people most is the various paper votive offerings, lanterns, and toys for children. It is a good place to experience the festival atmosphere.

3. Lantern Streets in Ho Chi Minh City

There are two lantern streets where you can watch lanterns in Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam: Lantern Street in District 10 and Lương Như Hộc in District 5. They are good places to appreciate lanterns on Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam.

Further Reading

Mid-Autumn Festival in Hong Kong

Mid-autumn Festival in Taiwan

Mid-Autumn Festival in Other Asian Countries

Chuseok - Korean Thanksgiving, Mid-Autumn Festival in Korea

Tsukimi, Mid-Autumn Festival in Japan

Mid-Autumn Festival in Singapore

Mid-Autumn Festival in Malaysia

- Last updated on Aug. 13, 2019 -
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