In the U.S there are quite a few holidays such as Thanksgiving, Xmas, labor day…..in Vietnam actually we don’t have that many long days-off holidays/vacations. But one of the longest festivals that youngsters and children wait for after their summers is mid-fall festival, which is held on 15 of August in moon calendar.
Back to the old days it is said that a traditional mid-autumn festival was a good chance for parents after their busy harvest time to get together with their children. You might want to know if there is any special food for this festival , like turkey in the U.S. during Xmas, it’s moon cake in Vietnam. The cakes are filled with lotus seeds, ground beans and orange peels and have a bright yoke in the center to represent the moon. Nowadays in Vietnam, parents usually buy a box of mooncake to give as a gift to their children’s teachers as a way to show their gratitude for the teachers’ efforts. However, children are actually children supposed to eat moon-cake, but now they don’t like it much and few of them ever touch it. ( that’s true).
Mid-autumn festival is certainly one of the most important festivals in Vietnam, normally people prepare for it several days before the full moon day- when it is said that the moon is fullest. In big cities, It’s somewhat of a combination between the Halloween and Christmas in western countries, where children wear masks , hang around or walk in the downtown street, they might not get home until late of midnight. Whereas, in rural areas children still celebrate their festival in traditional ways. They party around the common place ( a gateway or a space…) , waiting for the moon to reach its highest and they sing… Star latern is the symbolic toys of this special festival, it is made by hand and sold at a very reasonable price, so that children everywhere can buy it at ease.
One interesting / modern /new characteristic of modern mid-autumn festivals lately is the air-lantern . It is made of papers, very soft and light, normally people in groups come to the suburb areas where is so windy to burn a fire into the latern then with the wind, it will fly high up to the sky , bring many best wishes and hope . On 2008 in Ha noi ( the capital of Vietnam), on the very mid-autumn almost 1000 air-lantern were released into the sky, creating an awesome view which brightened up a corner of Ha Noi. In the days before the festival, the price of each latern is about 1-1.5$ but on the very day of the festival, it rocketed up to $5, but sellers still sold out their stocks.
Here is a link of some more festival photos!
This is a small clip of how youngster prepare for their air-lantern last year, hope you will enjoy it. If you join it, I bet that you would be excited and joyful.