Also called the Full Moon Festival, Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam is an important cultural event for the locals. The festival takes place on the Full Moon night (the 15th day) of the 8th lunar month. At this time, it is believed that the moon shines the brightest during the whole year.
1. Do Vietnamese celebrate Mid Autumn Festival? The legend of this festival
1.1. Vietnamese Mid Autumn Festival legend
Eastern Asian countries like China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam all consider Mid Autumn Festival to be one of their biggest cultural events. However, the story behind the festival in each country is different from the others. While you might think the Full Moon Festival is the time for family gatherings, in fact, this occasion in Vietnam is mainly for children.
To know more about the legend of this event, let’s take a look at the history of Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam. The beginning of the 8th lunar month is the rice harvest season in Vietnam. Parents are often busy on the field, thus having little to no time for their kids. Hence, the full moon in this month is a chance for them to make up for lost time and play with their children. This Full Moon is also a time to make offerings to the deities after a bountiful harvest.
1.2. Highlighted activities during Vietnam Mid-Autumn Festival
Vietnam Full Moon Party is an enchanting occasion with several fascinating cultural activities. Families will prepare a tray of offerings, including a mooncake, fruits, food, and joss paper. Family members will gather for a heartful reunion.
When the moon rises high, the streets are lightened with colorful paper lanterns. Kids start to parade down the streets while wearing masks of different mythical figures and holding lanterns in their hands. The laughter and singing of the kids, the energetic Lion Dance, and the lively sounds of the drums altogether create such a gratifying night that you can’t help but join in.
1.3. How to say Happy Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnamese?
“Mid Autumn Festival” means “Tết Trung Thu”, while “happy” means “vui vẻ”. Hence, you can say “Trung thu vui vẻ” (Happy Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnamese) to wish the locals a joyful festival.
2. 5 signature activities in Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam
Mid Autumn Festival celebration in Vietnam is the ideal time for tourists to get exposed to the local culture. Many activities take place during this Full Moon occasion, so make sure you don’t miss any during your visit. Below are the 5 signature activities in Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam.
2.1. Make eye-catching lanterns - a crucial step of preparation
Even though the main festival itself is celebrated on the 15th night of the lunar month, the festive atmosphere can be felt for weeks before the night. Lanterns are one of the features during the preparation period. Although there are colorful ready-made lanterns sold on the streets, kids are more excited about making the lanterns themselves.
Traditionally, the lanterns have a star shape. They can be easily made from bamboo sticks and colored paper. A candle is placed inside the lantern. With modern lanterns, the candle is replaced by LED lights so that it will shine brighter.
Nowadays, making lanterns is a chance to show the creativity of the maker. It can be made from soft-drink bottles, milk cartoons, and many other unique materials. Everyone tries their best to create their own appealing lanterns for the upcoming light parade on the Full Moon.
2.2. Worship the God of Earth and commemorate the ancestors
Not only a joyful occasion for children, Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam is also the time for local people to worship the God of Earth, as well as make offerings to their ancestors. The offerings often include mooncakes, fruits, food, and joss paper. All family members will gathe, and once the incense is burnt out, they can enjoy these offerings while admiring the bright moon.
2.3. Enjoy mooncakes - the best Vietnamese Mid Autumn Festival food
The festival can never be complete without mooncakes - a traditional Vietnamese Mid Autumn Festival Food. There are two types of mooncakes: “bánh nướng” - the toasted mooncake and “bánh dẻo” - the sticky one.
Traditionally, “banh nuong” is a golden toasted mooncake that is a mix of up to 10 ingredients, including pig fat, lemon leaves, sausage, lotus seeds, and wine. Meanwhile, “banh deo” is a sticky rice mooncake filled with mung beans, lotus seeds, and pumpkin seeds. The mooncakes are round in shape, which is believed to represent luck, happiness, good health, and prosperity.
These days, there are many creative ingredients to be added to the mooncakes, such as coconut meat, black sesame, chocolate, jelly, and so on. Some people might even add durian for their mooncakes. Additionally, modern mooncakes come with all kinds of new shapes, such as rabbit, fish, tiger, etc., to satisfy the kids.
2.4. Carry lanterns, walk under the moonlight, and sing Mid Autumn Festival songs
One of the fascinating Mid Autumn Festival activities in Vietnam that tourists should not miss out on is the light parade on the 15th night of the lunar month. When the moon is up, Vietnamese people will light up their lanterns and start to parade on the streets while singing the traditional Mid Autumn Festival songs. This is a joyful activity, especially in some big cities like Hanoi, Hoi An, Tuyen Quang, and Ho Chi Minh City.
2.5. Enjoy lion dancing in Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam
Lion Dance, or “múa lân”, is an indispensable part of the Vietnamese Full Moon Festival. A group of dancers put on a giant lion costume and perform a fascinating lion dance with the cheerful drums.
While some groups might be non-professionals and perform just for fun, many dance groups are professionally trained months before the festival to bring about the best performance. In addition to the normal lion dance, some performers can even execute sophisticated techniques like fire blowing and acrobatics.
3. Where is Mid Autumn Festival celebrated the most merrily?
Where is Mid Autumn Festival celebrated? Even though Mid-Autumn Festival is not a public holiday in Vietnam, it is considered one of the biggest festivals of the year. From villages to metropolises, the festive vibe can be felt weeks before the big night.
If you are seeking a place to enjoy the authentic vibe of the Vietnamese Full Moon, the three places below will be the best to visit.
3.1. Hoi An Ancient Town
Hoi An Ancient Town should be the first destination to come to mind when people talk about lanterns in Vietnam. Unlike other places, Mid Autumn Festival in Hoi An takes place in 4 consecutive days, from the 12th to the 15th day of the 8th lunar month.
In fact, there is a lantern festival every full moon in this ancient town. However, the one in Mid autumn is the biggest one. Mid Autumn Festival Vietnam 2022 is not an exception. During the festival, the town is exceptionally appealing with lanterns everywhere.
At night, people would gather along the river bank, light up the lanterns, then release them onto the river with a wish for luck and fortune. The river hence looks extraordinarily twinkling, making a mesmerizing and unforgettable scene for visitors.
Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam Hoi An is also the time for several interesting folk games, such as “Bài Chòi”, blind man's bluff, bamboo jacks, mandarin square capturing, and so on.
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3.2. Hanoi Old Quarter
Another must-go destination during Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam is Hanoi Old Quarter. Here, you can participate in several enticing entertaining activities while enjoying the merry vibe of this traditional Vietnamese festival.
The streets in the Old Quarter, especially the Walking Street area, Hang Ma street, Phung Hung street, and Dong Xuan market, are beautifully decorated to welcome the Full Moon Festival. It is so much fun to walk along these streets, pass by toy stalls, watch traditional art performances, and play folk games.
Additionally, don’t forget to visit the Heritage House on Ma May Street to see how the people of Hanoi celebrate the festival.
3.3. Ho Chi Minh City
The modern Ho Chi Minh City has no lack of culture, this can be seen during Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam, when you have a chance to explore the charming cultural beauty of this city.
At this time, many streets such as Luong Nhu Hoc, Nguyen Trai, Tran Hung Dao, and Nguyen An are full of charming carp-shaped lanterns and decorative items. 3 days before Mid Autumn Festival, the local authorities will make these streets a pedestrian-only zone for tourists to easily walk around. You can also visit local food stalls to try traditional foods or participate in some folk games on these streets.
Besides, if you love to feel some different vibes, visit Chinatown (Cho Lon) to see how the Cantonese-Vietnamese celebrate their full moon festival.
Along with Mid Autumn Festival, Vietnam has a large number of festivals all year round, giving you a good chance to explore its culture on your trip to this country. For a perfect cultural exploration, regardless of destination, you need to find a suitable place to stay in advance - preferably one with excellent services.
It is highly recommended that you choose the hotels and resorts that belong to the system of Vinpearl - a top-rated brand of accommodation with high-class services in Vietnam. Vinpearl is present in almost every famous tourist destination in Vietnam, such as Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Ha Long, etc.
In particular, the hotels and resorts in Hoi An and Da Nang, namely Vinpearl Hoi An and Vinpearl Resort & Spa Da Nang respectively, are the places where you can relax and enjoy your trip during Mid Autumn Festival.
Mid Autumn Festival in Vietnam is a great time for tourists to get exposed to the culture and lifestyle of the locals. Hopefully, this article will help you be well-prepared for your upcoming cultural trip. Don’t miss this occasion or you will definitely regret it!