Mid-Autumn Festival Legend - How the Vietnamese celebrate it

Mid-Autumn Festival Legend - How the Vietnamese celebrate it

Annually, under the shining full moon on the 15th day of the 8th Lunar month, the whole Vietnam country is covered with the red color of carp-shaped lanterns, the sounds of boisterous laughter and the delicate scent of the traditional mooncakes. At this time, people pour into streets to feel the tumultuous atmosphere of Tet Trung Thu (Mid-Autumn Festival) coming to town.
 Mid-Autumn Festival is much more like the Children’s Day, bringing them so much joy.

Tet Trung Thu is a festival mainly for the children, with the purpose of bringing joy to the kids through the traditional customs and activities such as folk dancing, singing or playing games. 

Legend of Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Festival

Once upon a time, the Emperor Duong Minh Hoang was roaming around Ngu Uyen garden on the 15th day of the 8th Lunar month. The moon on this day was very full and bright along with the weather was strangely beautiful and cool. The Emperor was enjoying the intriguing scene then suddenly the Taoist La Cong Vien, also known as Dien Phap Thien came and used his magic taking the King to the moon.
On the moon, the scenery was superlatively magnificent. The Emperor happily contemplated the magical heaven and enjoyed the great dancing performances of the fairies in the attractive colorful dresses.
The Mid-Atumn Festival on the moon was superlatively magnificent.

During that perfect moment, the Emperor forgot that the night was passing away. The Taoist reminded the Emperor that he must come back to the Earth before the sunrise. The Emperor left the heaven but deep inside his mind, he knew that he could never and ever forget that magically beautiful night on the moon.
After getting back to the royal palace, the Emperor day by day still remembered the special night on the moon, so he decided that every year, on the 15th day of the 8th Lunar month, all people would celebrate the party under the moon, hanging the colorful lanterns all over the palace as well as the streets, drinking wine, dancing and enjoying the moon to commemorate his unforgettable miraculous night on the moon.
Since then, the custom of making lanterns and celebrating big party has become the Mid-Autumn Festival of Vietnamese people. 

How do the Vietnamese celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival?

During this festival, various activities are held. Here are some popular ones:

Worship the God of Earth

Vietnam Mid-Autumn Festival has 2 main fundamental meanings including Gathering – this festival held for family and friends to reunite and celebrate a party. It is also the time of harvest crops, which means the farmers can relax and enjoy the achievement after a hard working year; Thanksgiving – Vietnamese people usually take chance on this festival to express their gratitude to the God of Earth for bringing a successful harvest.
  Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated annually for family and friends to reunite and celebrate a party.

Usually, a worshiping tray is an integral part of the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam. It is set up in the yard during the night of the festival, on which mooncakes, fruits and snacks are laid. 

Make colorful lanterns and funny masks

Every year, when the Mid-Autumn Festival is coming, a lot of funny masks and various lantern shapes are carefully made by Vietnamese skilful artisans. The Red star-shaped lantern is a symbol of this festival. It is made from bamboo sticks and glittering colored-transparent papers, both of which are cheap materials so that any child can afford to have one. 
It is believed that the sparkling light from the star symbolizes the purity and innocence, which are normally found in the children. 
Adults are making star-shaped lanterns for the children to play with during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Star-shaped and carp-shaped lanterns used to be the favourite traditional toys of children. Nowadays, due to the integration of trade between countries, there are a variety of kinds of toys as well as lantern shapes for children in the Mid-Autumn Festival. However, the image of the Vietnamese children holding a star-shaped lantern and having fun with friends in the festival is still the own identity of Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Festival that nowhere else to be found.

Watch the dragon and lion dance parade

Dragon and lion dance parade is a very meaningful and indispensable activity in Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Festival. It is not just a fun activity but also contains a lot of spiritual meanings. Usually, dragon and lion are the sacred animals and placed in the temples or pagodas, therefore, Vietnamese people believe that the dragon and lion dance symbolizes the luck, peace and success for everyone.
The beautiful dragon and lion dance parade.

The dragon and lion dance are more spectacular day by day and are decorated beautifully and eye-catching colors. The dance is not simple, the street artists need to practice carefully to bring the best performance in the festival, sometimes even dangerous. 
Vietnamese children, ranging from little kids to teenagers really love to participate in this activity. After the dragon and lion dance ends, all the children usually march around the sacred animal and roam with it through the streets in the sound of cheerful drums. 

Enjoy mooncakes

Despite the different theories on the festival and mooncakes, its significance remains intact over several hundred years. Mid-Autumn Festival is considered a special event for family reunions, and the original round shape of the mooncakes is also indicative of that meaning. During the festival, family members usually gather and make offerings to their ancestors then delightedly enjoy mooncakes with fragrant tea while admiring the full moon. Over the course of time, mooncakes now gifted to people’s relatives, friends, and colleagues as a token of love, warmth, and gratitude have seen great changes and additions.
Vietnamese traditional mooncake.

In the early days, there are only 2 traditional kinds of mooncake including Banh Nuong (baked mooncake) and Banh Deo (sticky rice mooncake), separated by their crust. 
The fillings in mooncake are varied, but the common ones are salty egg yolks stuffed with a paste made from lotus seeds or beans, jam and dried sausage. The market is much more diverse these days as the bakers are increasingly adapted to various modern tastes and shapes.
Mid-Autumn Festival is much more like the second Children’s Day, bringing them so much joy along with a host of interesting traditional activities with friends and family. Despite the great impact of globalization in Vietnamese culture and the recent transformation of customs, Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Festival still has its own meaningful identity that nowhere else to be found.
Plan your upcoming Vietnam trip to discover one of Vietnam’s most significant festivals.

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