Vietnam is the country with many beautiful festivals. There are hundreds of festivals in the year round. Besides the Tet Holiday, the Mid-Autumn festival is one of the most famous festivals and it is a traditional celebration for Vietnamese children.
Originally, the Mid-Autumn Festival came about as a way for parents to make up for lost time with their children after harvest season. It is held on the 15th day on the 8th lunar month (on the night of the full moon between early September to early October of the Gregorian calendar). The harvest was done by September, (August in the Lunar calendar) and the parents were anxious to spend time with their children and do something special with them, as well as celebrate the harvest, after spending a long time working hard and stay away from the family. It is held under the full moon, which represents fullness and prosperity of life.
To people in Western countries, the Mid-Autumn Festival is very much like a combination of Halloween and Thanksgiving. The streets are full of people buying festival stuff, children parade on the streets, while singing and carrying colorful lanterns of different sizes and shapes: – fish laterns, star lanterns, flower lanterns… and wear many kind of funny masks such as lion mark, prince or princess mask for the special performance in the evening of the full moon. Joining the parade looks like you are enjoying the ernomous street Halloween Party in Western. The main point of the Mid-Autumn is that children use the beautiful lanterns, wear funny masks, perform fantastic lion dances, sing folklore songs in the house’s grounds or in the streets when the moon is rising. It is really an exciting show.
Another name of the Mid-Autumn Festival is Moon Cake festival because of the popular tradition of eating mooncakes on this occasion. The cakes are filled with lotus seeds, ground beans and orange peels and have a bright yoke in the center to represent the moon. Sharing mooncakes is one of the hallmark traditions of this festival. a round shape symbolizes completeness and unity. Thus, the sharing of round mooncakes among family members signify the completeness and unity of families.
One important event during the night of Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Festival is lion dancing. Both non-professional and professional children groups perform dances on the streets or go to houses. If accepted by the host, “the lion” will come in and start dancing as a wish of luck, after a few-minute perfomance, the host could give “the lion”a present or just a small amount of money as a way to say thank you.
Today, the Mid-Autumn Festival, as well as encouraging affection for children, promotes education, poetry, dance and arts and crafts. The Mid-Autumn celebration is an opportunity for members of the family to visit and share together everything in their year. Most Vietnamese families in the city, though far away from their hometown, would like to bring their kids back to the house of grandparents right in Full moon festival time. The young generation express their gratitude to the old generation. The parents show their love for their children. Because the traditional time to have this festival is usually after harvesting the crops, it is as the congratulation for the full harvest.
Nowadays, although some of the traditional toys have been replaced by modern toys, the meaning and the performance has been kept and developed. It is certain that the Mid-Autumn day is important and famous for Vietnamese people. Everyone wants to join in it. And it really is a good example of the traditional culture of the Vietnamese.