Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam
Mid-Autumn Festival came to Vietnam from China along with some other traditions. Here it transformed a bit and acquired its own characteristics. Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam is, first of all, an opportunity to please children, who are given special attention.
Legends about the origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival
Since the Mid-Autumn Festival came to Vietnam from China, the main legend of its origin is Chinese. It says that once upon a time there was an archer living in ancient China, who had a beautiful wife. Back then, there were 10 sun ravens (Asian symbols of the Sun). Once they showed at the sky at the same time. A fire broke out, and the emperor of China appealed to the archer for help, so he shot down 9 suns. The archer was accurate and completed the task, so the emperor gave him the elixir of life as a gift. The emperor told him, that he couldn’t drink the magic potion immediately, but needed to spend one year in prayer first. The archer hid the elixir at home and began to prepare. But his wife found the elixir, drank it, and flew to the Moon. The archer, after his death, ascended to the Sun. Once a year the spouses meet, and on this day the Moon becomes especially beautiful. This day falls on the middle of autumn (lunar, of course).
There is another legend about mid-autumn day. It says that a long time ago there was a man who had a magic tree that could cure any disease. The owner of the tree paid much attention to it, and his wife poured dirty water to the roots. Because of it, the tree flew in the sky. The man tried to hold it, but he wasn’t strong enough. That’s how he got to the Moon. So the children light lanterns during the Mid-Autumn Festival so he could find the way back home.
Dates of the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam
The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Lunar calendar. This date usually falls on the second half of September. In 2018, the holiday was celebrated on September 24. In 2019, Mid-Autumn Festival is on September 13, and in 2020 — on October 1.
How to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival
The Mid-Autumn Festival begins when the Sun goes below the horizon and passes its rights to the Moon. It is a night of admiring the moon disk. Nowadays, in the cities the events are scheduled for the evening instead of the night. Earlier, in the afternoon, troupes of artists come to kindergartens to entertain the kids with their dances. They perform traditional lion and dragon dances. Dancers dress in bright costumes of mythical animals and harmoniously perform a spectacular dance. The performance is accompanied by loud live music.
In the evening, the children gather for a parade in honor of the holiday. They prepare in advance, crafting colorful lanterns, many of those being executed surprisingly skilfully. The lanterns are made in the form of red carp, lotus flowers and other popular symbols of well-being.
Charitable organizations on this day organize activities aimed at helping children with disabilities and children from low-income families.
Mooncakes are an important attribute of the holiday. The tradition of cooking sweets for the holiday also came from China. Modern people don’t need spend time baking them, since they are sold everywhere, packed in bright red and gold boxes. The cakes in Vietnam are made of rice flour and filled with beans. The cake itself is sweet, and the filling is salty, so combined the create a contrasting, very interesting taste. If you ever visit Vietnam during the Mid-Autumn Festival, be sure to try mooncakes!