Mid-Autumn Festival Traditions
Once a year, on the 15th day of the eighth month on the lunar calendar, the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is celebrated.
In Vietnam, Mid-Autumn Festival is traditional celebration for children
The meaning of the Mid-Autumn Festival is rather different to the one celebrated in China, although the Vietnamese also celebrate it by eating mooncakes. In Vietnam the Mid-Autumn Festival is the happiest day for children, during which parents buy their children various types of lanterns, snacks and funny masks. Various activities are held to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam. Read on to see how Vietnamese people celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival.
1. Worshiping the God of Earth
Usually, a worshiping platform is set up in the yard during the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, on which mooncakes, fruit, and snacks are laid. Later, family members sit together to eat the food while appreciating the moon.
The Feast for Festival
The platform is not taken down until midnight, when the food has been completely eaten. Most families also set up a special platform for children, so that they can enjoy food at anytime during the evening.
2. Watching the Moon
In traditional beliefs, the full moon is the symbol for a family reunion. When people look at the moon, it reminds them of their families and homeland.
Nowadays, it’s rare to see families worshiping the moon in big cities. But people still like appreciating the moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival. After dinner in the evening of the Mid-Autumn Festival, family members enjoy mooncake with tea and watch the moon. People often choose an outdoor area with a good view of the moon, like a balcony, a courtyard or a lakeshore.
3. Eating Mooncakes
It's Mid-Autumn Festival, have a mooncake!
A mooncake is a traditional pastry. It’s a symbol of family reunion, and the cake is traditionally cut into pieces that equal the number of people in the family.
Traditionally, mooncakes are infused with embedded egg yolk to represent the moon and lotus seed paste. But nowadays, you can find an exciting jumble of creative fillings. Eating mooncakes is the most common and representative tradition of the day. In ordinary times, people won’t buy or eat mooncakes but during the Mid-Autumn Festival everyone will have a mooncake to celebrate.
4. Joining Lion Dance Parade
Lion Dance on the street
At night, groups of children parade through the streets, going from door to door and asking the owners for their permission to perform the lion dance. If it is agreed then the children will put on a show, which is believed to bring luck and fortune. Afterwards, the owners will give the children 'lucky' money for their gratitude.
These lion dances are fascinating, and huge amounts of children, ranging from little kids to teenagers, participate in this activity. As a result of having so many groups of children marching around, the streets of the cities echo with the sound of drums, as dozens of lions roam about.
5. Carrying Lanterns
Lanterns is an important customs of the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam. It's also a tradition for the Vietnamese to light lanterns during the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival. A legend states that a carp spirit once killed many people during the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, so that no household dared to go outside during that night.
Children happy with their lanterns
Later, a wise man thought of an idea: he made a carp-shaped lantern with a stick in its belly, and then advised people to walk at night holding a carp-shape lantern. The carp spirit was terrified by the light from these lanterns, and has not dared to go out to kill anyone during the Mid-Autumn Festival since then.
Nowadays, children hold various kinds of paper lanterns and play in the moonlight, while eating mooncakes during the evening of the Mid-Autumn Festival.
All in all, the importance of the Mid-Autumn Festival and its legendary characters is a pervading Vietnamese tradition.
Image Sources: Internet.