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