Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam - September 13 - Friday, 2019

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The Moon has a significant meaning for Vietnamese people. From the ancient times, Vietnamese has traditionally followed Lunar or Moon Calendar. Even now, with the big influence of Western culture, we have to use Western calendar for business purpose, but the Vietnamese still use the moon calendar to take care of the spiritual and ritual parts. Every 1st and 15th day of each lunar month, people still prepare worship at home or go to pagodas to wish for the health and happiness for all family members as well as remind themselves of their ancestry. That is the reason why Lunar New Year is still the biggest festival in Vietnam, and the second biggest one is Mid Autumn festival. Like its name, it is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month in the lunar calendar, fall into the middle of autumn.

What is the Mid-Autumn Festival? 

The Mid-Autumn Festival (Vietnamese name is Trung Thu) is an East Asian harvest festival which is celebrated notably by the Vietnamese & Chinese. In Vietnam, this festival dates back to the Red River Delta's Rice Civilization that is more than 4,000 years ago. It is held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month (often in September or early October). On this special day, all the members of the family prepare various foods - Moon cakes, candies, fruit, biscuits, etc & they also wear many funny masks. 

What is the meaning of the Mid-Autumn Festival?

Those in some other countries they also celebrate Mid Autumn festival the meaning here is quite different. In Vietnam, it is mainly for children. It is thought that the festival was celebrated to give parents time to catch up with their children after the summer harvest time. During harvesting, parents do not have time to pay attention to their children, so now they make up for this by using this time to play with them buying lanterns, animal masks and arranging a feast for them to celebrate under the Full Moon.

Mid Autumn Festival

Mid Autumn Festival

The Vietnamese fairy tale that explains the origin of Mid-Autumn Festival (Trung Thu Festival)

For Vietnamese legend, it is connected with the fairy tale of Cuoi- the moon boy, a popular tale that explains the origin of this festival. Once upon a time, there was a man named Cuoi. He was just a poor woodcutter who made his living by going to the forest every day to cut small tree branches and collect dry sticks to sell in the market for fuel. One day, when he went into the forest, as usual, he saw a mother tiger picking up some leaves from a banyan to cure her cub’s wound. Immediately, the wound was healed and the baby tiger got off his feet and playing around as nothing happened. 

Understanding that the tree was the miracle tree, Cuoi waited until the tigers left then came out. He dug the roots of the tree out to take home. On the way back, he rescued a dying beggar using the leaves of the trees. When the old man awoke, Cuoi explained honestly everything happened, the old man cried out and let him know that it is a magical tree of rebirth and the ability to cure any disease. He also told Cuoi that never use dirty water to water the tree, otherwise the tree would fly up to the sky.

Mid Autumn Festival

Cuoi was very happy to take the tree back to his house to plant it his garden. Ever since then, he saved a countless number of people with it. He took great care of the trees, watered it with only clear pure water every day. His wife then got angry because he seems to love the tree more than her. One day, when Cuoi was out to help a patient in the village, his wife tried to put dirty water to the tree, the tree immediately started to leave the ground to fly to the sky. Cuoi was back home at that moment, running to catch the tree down but in vain. The tree flew to the moon and took away Cuoi, they still live together until this day. On the clear full moon day, you are still able to see the image of Cuoi sitting at the root of a banyan tree in the moon, looking down to see the Earth.

This legend also explains the games of Vietnamese children to play during Full Moon festival. Children wear animal-shaped masks, carry star lamps, paper lanterns to light up the way, play the drums, and sing cheerful songs, all with hoping to help Cuoi find his way back to Earth!

Mid Autumn Vietnamese Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam is the time for family members to get together to celebrate. The party under the Moon in the evening are a good opportunity for children to enjoy the festive food and also learn different things from their parents such as the old fairy tales, how to decorate the fruits and make the feast attractive. The whole family will enjoy the feast in a cosy and happy atmosphere.

Family Mid Autumn Festival

What do Vietnamese eat on the Mid-Autumn Festival?

Mooncakes are the indispensable delicacy related to Mid Autumn festival. You can see the signal of the festival by the appearance of stands selling mooncakes all over the streets for many weeks in advance. It has become customary for businessmen and families to present these cakes to their clients, colleagues, friends or relatives as an expression of their sentiments. The traditional cakes are very sweet and rich with lotus seeds, mashed beans, nuts, lemon leaves, meat, egg yolk depending on the region. A cake is cut into small pieces and shared among friends or family members, and eaten accompanied by traditional green tea.

Moon Cake Mid Autumn Festival

Where are the best places to experience the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam?

Mid-Autumn Festival in Hanoi:

This 1000-year-old capital of Vietnam is definitely a chosen destination for you to experience the traditional culture and value of the Mid Autumn Festival. During this time, you will be able to feel the atmosphere in the air with thousands of red lanterns on the streets, especially around the Old Quarters. Immerse yourself in the Hang Ma Streets – A colorful busy streets that sell all kinds of traditional and modern toys, observe parents buying gifts for their children. You may want to experience like a Hanoian - Waiting in the queue for hours to buy real traditional mooncakes at a famous several generation old stores on Thuy Khue Street. This would be special gifts for your family and friends back home. 

On the Full Moon night, you can go to the area around Hoan Kiem Lake and enjoy the atmosphere, watch the lion and dragon dancing and live performances on the streets.

Hanoi Mid Autumn Festival

Hanoi Mid Autumn Festival 

Hanoi Mid Autumn Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival in Hoi An:

It is an ideal picturesque place for the Mid Autumn festival. Its atmosphere is quite different from Hanoi, busy but not noisy. During the day, you can try to take the cooking class of mooncakes or take part in a lantern making class. Those new skills surely will surprise your family and friends back home.

On the Full Moon night, no electric lights are on within the town, with thousands of lanterns hanging and floating lanterns all over the river, making it magical for anyone to experience. 

In some corners, folk games, lion dancers are alive and cheerfully entertaining. This will amaze your kids or even yourself to be back to your happy childhood memory.

Hoi An Mid Autumn Festival

Hoi An Mid Autumn Festival

Hoi An Mid Autumn Festival

Mid Autumn Festival Hoi An

Mid-Autumn Festival time in Vietnam: In 2019 it is 13 September. You can select Best Vietnam Tours which are perfectly made by Inside Travel Experts to help you discover Vietnam festivals right now!
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