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Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam

Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam: Time to indulge yourself with cheerfulness

30/10/2022 1389 views

One of the most exciting and popular holidays for Vietnamese families is the Mid Autumn Festival (or Tet Trung Thu in Vietnamese). This festival is usually held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, when the moon is at its brightest.

Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam

Star lantern – a common highlight of the Mid Autumn Festival (Source: Collected)

Traveling to Vietnam during the Mid Autumn Festival will be a special experience for tourists as this festival is a major holiday in Vietnam, marking the time when the moon is fullest and brightest in the 8th lunar month. Learn more about this festival in order to better prepare for your trip to this beautiful S-shaped country!

1. About Vietnamese Mid Autumn Festival legend

  • History of Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam

The Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam is traditionally held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. The moon on this day appears brighter and larger than at any other time of the year. As a result, a festival with a variety of entertainment activities has been held to celebrate the beautiful full moon.

Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam

The different shapes of lanterns sold all over the streets during the Mid Autumn Festival (Source: Collected)

While the Mid Autumn Festival originated in China and is celebrated throughout Asia, the Vietnamese festival version has its own set of traditions and legends. Legend has it that there was a man named Cuoi who sat under a magical banyan tree on the moon, whose shadow can be seen if you look closely at the full moon. On the night of the Mid Autumn Festival, children parade with lanterns in hand through the streets to help light the way for Cuoi to return to earth from the moon.

  • Happy Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnamese

The Mid Autumn Festival, similar to Thanksgiving in the United States, is a time of the year when family members can gather and have fun together. Younger generation shows their respect to the elders, and the older generation in turn sends the best wishes to the descendants.

For farmers, it was said that the Mid Autumn Festival is the ideal time to predict their harvest prospects. If the moon shines yellow, the weather that year will be perfect for silk production. On the other hand, the green moon foretells a coming disaster. And if the moon shines orange, there will be peace and good crops. Therefore, on the Mid Autumn Festival, Vietnamese people now also wish each other good health and bountiful harvest.

2. What must be included in a Vietnam full moon party?

Traditionally, to celebrate the full moon party, all members of a family would gather around a lavish tray of fruits and mooncakes and savor them together while admiring the full moon.

2.1. A lavish tray of fruits

A tray with five types of fruits (locally known as “mam ngu qua”) is an indispensable part of a full moon party in Vietnam to honor the ancestors and celebrate the Mid Autumn Festival with the family.

Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam

A pomelo made into the shape of dogs (Source: Collected)

Traditionally, the fruit tray includes banana, pomelo, persimmon, custard apple, and pomegranate. Many families also prefer to include dragon fruits and dried fruits to celebrate the festival.

Each fruit on the tray has a different meaning. The banana represents good fortune and family members coming together, the persimmon represents happiness, the custard apple represents fertility, the pomelo represents success, and the pomegranate represents people’s desire to have many children and grandchildren.

2.2. Traditional mooncakes

Mooncakes, along with the fruit tray, are a common feature in every household during the Mid Autumn Festival. These cakes are round and dense, with detailed patterns on the crust. Meat, eggs, dried fruits, pumpkin seeds, and peanuts are common fillings in mooncakes. On this occasion, mooncake stalls pop up all over towns and cities for weeks before the big night.  Customers usually buy the cakes in bulk to be eaten or used as gifts to other people.

Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam

Mooncakes with exquisite decorative patterns

2.3. A hot teapot for a cozy reunion

The experience of eating mooncakes would not be complete without a pot of hot tea. Drinking tea and watching the moon with a golden mooncake brings a very special feel. If the mooncake represents family reunion (as people share the cake among each other), the tea set represents the warm bond between them. The cups and kettle are like family members, who cannot be whole without the others.

Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam

The perfect combination for the Mid Autumn Festival: mooncakes and tea

3. Top not-to-be-missed activities in Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam

There are various activities held to celebrate this festival. This is an opportunity for children and parents to bond, watch the moon together, parade with lanterns in hand, watch lion dances, and participate in folk games.

3.1. Worship the moon

All across Vietnam, families celebrate the Mid Autumn Festival by placing the fruit tray and mooncakes on the ancestral altar as offerings. Then they enjoy the mooncakes, usually outside under the moonlight.

3.2. Join the lantern parade

Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam

Kids holding lanterns parading on the streets (Source: Collected)

It is also a Vietnamese tradition to light lanterns on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival. Children parade through the streets, singing and carrying various-sized colorful lanterns. Star-shaped lanterns are the most common.

3.3. Enjoy lion dancing

Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam

Lion dancing – a traditional activity in many Vietnamese holidays (Source: Collected)

Lion dancing is another prominent Mid Autumn Festival tradition. On the nights leading up to the holiday, groups of performers parade through the streets, some beating drums, others wearing a big elaborately-decorated “lion” costume and dancing around.

These lion dances are fascinating, and anyone can participate, whether they are professional performers or non-professionals. Because there are so many groups of performers marching around, the streets are often filled with the sound of drums, while dozens of “lions” roam around.

3.4. Appreciate the full moon

In Vietnam, the moon has a great meaning. The full moon night of August is when the sky is most bright, the weather is pleasant, and the moonlight clearly illuminates the night. On this occasion, there is often less work, so people can leisurely admire the scenery as well as the moon and immerse themselves in the atmosphere.

After enjoying the mooncakes, families will gather on the balcony or another high place to watch the full moon together. Under the bright moonlight, parents often tell their children the legend about Cuoi sitting under a banyan tree.

Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam

Stalls selling different decorations and toys during the Mid Autumn Festival (Source: Collected)

For the best experience during the Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam, you should visit Hanoi, Hoi An or Ho Chi Minh City.

  • Hanoi

If you happen to be in Hanoi before the Mid Autumn Festival, come to Hang Ma and Luong Van Can streets, which will be full of toys and lanterns. Or you can come to No. 87, Ma May Street to watch the local artisans prepare festive crafts. On the night of the Mid Autumn Festival, the Youth Theater on Ngo Thi Nham street and the Children’s Palace on Ly Thai To street will host many musical performances for children.

While you are in Hanoi, it is recommended that you also visit VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium. Here, you will have the chance to explore one of Vietnam’s most amazing aquariums. Meanwhile, VinKE will be the ideal playground for your kids to experience a series of simulated jobs, in order to learn more about their future careers.

Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam

You kids will be able to experience many simulated jobs at VinKE

  • Hoi An

Hoi An ancient town is possibly the best place in Vietnam to participate in the Mid Autumn Festival. On this occasion, the river that runs through the town is lined with floating lanterns, creating a magical atmosphere. Because the town is small, groups of lion dancers frequently cross paths, and they can contest to see who dances better. In the end, this holiday is all about having fun. It will be great to see groups of people dancing through the streets and follow the “lion” to see where they are headed next.

Another place in Hoi An to explore the quintessence of Vietnamese culture is undoubtedly VinWonders Nam Hoi An. This top-rated amusement park is only 15 kilometers away from the ancient town, having both distinctive traditional values and numerous exciting games. This will be an interesting destination for all sorts of visitors, including families, groups of friends, the elderly, and children.

Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam

VinWonders Nam Hoi An can please even the most demanding visitors

>>> Don’t forget to book tickets of VinWonders Nam Hoi An and VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium after experiencing the Mid Autumn Festival!

  • Ho Chi Minh City

In Ho Chi Minh City, the area of Cho Lon has many exciting Mid Autumn Festival activities. You should stop by Luong Nhu Hoc street, which is famous for the abundance of lanterns, masks, and lion head figures on the sidewalks. This is the ideal place to buy a lion head figure as souvenirs. In addition, for the past five decades, the shop at No. 109, Trieu Quang Phuc street has been selling lion head figures to the city’s best dancers.

Locals and foreign tourists alike are cordially invited to participate in this unique festival in Vietnam!. Being a part of the crowd, seeing the children carrying lanterns, enjoying mooncakes, and celebrating during the Mid Autumn Festival will undoubtedly bring you a lot of fun!

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