Tet Trung Thu, as it is known in Vietnam, or the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival as we refer to in foreign countries, is a wonderful, ancient festival that revolves around children.
Vietnam’s Mid-Autumn Moon Festival (or Full moon Festival) takes place on the full moon night (15th of the Lunar August), the most charming and picturesque night of the year. The festival involves the customs of moon contemplating, procession of star & moon – shaped lanterns, lion dance, as well as holding parties with moon cakes and fruits. Do you know why we have this special festival?
Celebration on animated streets
The festival is very much like a combination of Halloween and Thanksgiving. On the night of Lunar August 15th, the streets are full of people buying festival stuff and wandering. Besides the assorted paper lanterns, cakes, candies, the toy animals made of rice dough, the dragon heads and faces of the Earth God made of paper are displayed everywhere in the markets. Children parade on the streets, singing and carrying colorful lanterns of different sizes and shapes, such as fishes, stars, butterflies, which spin when candles are inserted, representing the earth circling the sun. In well-off families, the mid-autumn banquet is to show up their nubile girls’ cooking abilities.
This festival is mostly geare dto children, thus, to help children get ready for the Festival, parents can help them make their lanterns and costumes for the lantern procession and discuss the history and culture of Vietnam. Showing our love for our children and teaching of Vietnam’s love for their children is a wonderful reason to celebrate!
Lion dances and moon cake
One important event before and during Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Festival is lion dancing. Both non-professional and professional children groups perform dances on the streets or go to houses. If accepted by the host, “the lion” will come in and start dancing as a wish of luck.
Beside the lion dance, it is customary to offer Banh Trung Thu, boxes of moon cakes, which are traditionally very rich in taste. The cakes are filled with lotus seeds, ground beans and orange peels and have a bright yoke in the center to represent the moon. “Banh deo” is the white cake, made of sticky rice and filled with sweet mixture of lotus seeds, pumpkin seeds or green bean. “Banh nuong” is the brown cake and has salty taste with a mixture of egg, pork fat, fried onion, peanut and lemon leaves inside. Both can be in round or square shapes.
Another festival: Elephant Race Festival, Dak Lak