18 Jan 2021

The Mid-Autumn is one of Vietnam's big festivals and is an indispensable traditional culture of the Vietnamese people. So let's learn about Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Festival custom.

Table Contents
  • I – Overview of Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Festival 
  • 1 - History of the festival
  • 2 - When is the Mid-Autumn festival in Vietnam?
  • II - Activities in Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam
  • 1 – Eating and enjoying the full moon night
  • 2 - Lantern parade
  • 3 - Lion dances
  • III - Place you should visit in Vietnam to enjoy the festival?
  • 1 – Hanoi
  • 2 - Hoi An
  • 3 – Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnamese Mid-Autumn title
Source: Khoa Ngo Dinh

The Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam (Full Moon festival or Tet trung thu Vietnam or Mooncake festival) is a meaningful occasion of care, filial piety, gratitude, friendship, reunion and love. On this day, according to Vietnamese customs, families usually prepare a tray (cakes, fruits ...) to worship the ancestors. After that, all family members gather together to eat the cakes and fruits, and enjoy the moonlight. Vietnamese people often spend this day respecting grandparents and parents by giving gifts and visiting them. This day is also considered as Children's Day. Children in different parts of the country are allowed to parade lanterns, eat moon cakes and fruits, watch lion dance, enjoy the moonlight ... with their friends.

I – Overview of Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Festival 

1 - History of the festival

Up to now, it is not clear whether this festival was derived from Vietnam's wet rice civilization or received from Chinese culture. There are three best known main legends in Mid-Autumn Festival: Hang Nga and Hau Nghe, King Duong Minh Hoang went to the moon and the legend of Uncle Cuoi of Vietnam. According to archaeologists, the festival originated a long time ago in Vietnam and was printed on the surface of Ngoc Lu bronze drum. This festival is also a major holiday not only in Vietnam but in many countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore …

Cake in Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Festival

Mooncake (Source: Abby Lee)

2 - When is the Mid-Autumn festival in Vietnam?

This festival is held in the middle (the 15th day) of August in the lunar calendar every year (usually in between September and early October of the annual solar calendar). In the past, this was considered a good day to predict crops (looking at the moon, yellow moonlight - successful crop, the blue moon - natural disasters such as many insects that destroy crops, droughts, floods ...).
- Mid-Autumn Festival in 2021 will take place on September 21, 2021 of the solar calendar.
- Mid-Autumn Festival in 2022 will take place on September 10, 2022 of the solar calendar.

II - Activities in Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam

1 – Eating and enjoying the full moon night

On this occasion, families have the opportunity to reunite, eat special foods, and enjoy the warm atmosphere of the full moon night. The layout of the Moon tray depends on the region, but there are fruits and moon cakes such as: baked cakes, mooncakes, green skin pomelos, custard apples, red and pickled persimmons, pomegranates, guavas, oranges, purple sugarcanes, bananas, watermelons, pineapple .... In which, grapefruit is an indispensable part because it is a symbol of goodness, fullness and perfection.

Activities in Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam

Join the Medium Festival (Source: Luxury-inside)

After gathering together to eat, families will gather on the balcony or find a high place to watch the moon together and listen to grandparents and parents talk about the legend of Cuoi sitting at a banyan tree.

2 - Lantern parade

The custom of the lantern parade is original from the Song Dynasty in China. On the full moon day of August, the family will hang various lanterns, drop carp-shaped lanterns into the pond and let their children and grandchildren parade the star-shaped lanterns under the moonlight.
In Vietnam full moon festival, lanterns are made so that children can have a  parade on a mid-autumn day with a variety of shapes from flowers, fish, bears ..., shining in the mid-autumn night. Vietnamese lanterns are handcrafted from bamboo and wind paper with very outside special embroidery lines. Nowadays, it is more popular to use electric lanterns, lanterns using batteries.

Lion dance in Vietnam full moon festival

Lion dances (Source: Nhandan)

3 - Lion dances

During the festival, the streets will be filled with drums and lion dances. Lion represents a good wish, so the lion dance wishes good things to everyone. Lion dance is an indispensable part of Mid-autumn Festival both in the city and in the countryside.

III - Place you should visit in Vietnam to enjoy the festival?

Coming to Vietnam every Mid-Autumn Festival, visitors will be overwhelmed with the exciting, joyful atmosphere, the colorful markets of star-shaped lanterns.

1 – Hanoi

In Vietnamese Mid-Autumn festival ocasion, Hanoi is extraordinarily bustling and brilliant, especially at night. Coming to Hanoi on this occasion, you should stop by Hang Ma street to go to the lantern market, walk at Ho Guom pedestrian street to enjoy the elaborate lion dance or check-in at Phung Hung lantern street to take memorable photos, ... Hanoi also organizes the festival in the old town quarters with many attractive folk cultural activities, cultural performances, lion dance....

2 - Hoi An

Lantern in Hoi an full moon festival

Lantern in Hoi An (Source: Kazuo ota)

Hoi An Ancient Town, where time always stops (because it still retains the beauty of architecture, simple lifestyle after hundreds of years of history), will bring anyone a memorable experience about a Hoi an full moon festival. Along the small streets, there are scenes decorated according to the Mid-Autumn Festival theme that will truly bring to the dearest images of Vietnamese traditional festivals such as starlight, banyan tree, full moon, Mid-Autumn tray ...

3 – Ho Chi Minh City

From the 10th day to the mid-day of the August in the lunar month, many activities are held in Ho Chi Minh City such as "Full Moon Night" for children (music, drama, moon-enjoy ceremony), lion dance, singing, lantern making competition, releasing lanterns and flower lanterns on rivers and lakes. On this occasion, the city citizens pay special attention to poor and disadvantaged children. 5,000 poor children will participate in a lanterns parade along main streets: Luong Nhu Hoc lantern street, Dam Sen cultural park, Nguyen Hue pedestrian street, ... are places tourists should not miss when visiting Vietnam during the festival.

Family in Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Festival

 Time for family reunion (Source: Afamily)

For Vietnamese people, the Mid-Autumn Festival is Tet for everyone to gather with family, relatives and friends. The Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the customs of great significance to the spiritual life of Vietnamese people. Lofty gestures of gratitude, reunification and love ... all have created a culture bearing national identity. If you have the opportunity to visit Vietnam on the full moon day of August, Don’t forget to experience this special festival.
This article is to answer for the following question: When is Mid-Autumn festival? When is Mooncake festival? Vietnamese Mid-Autumn festival food

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