The Moon Festival originates thousands of years ago and is celebrated in many Far East Asian countries that once used the lunar calendar like Vietnam, China and Korea and is considered the Children's Festival.
Some things about Mid-Autumn Moon Festival in Vietnam
Vietnamese people celebrate Mid-Autumn as a children's festival characterised by the sound of drums and the twinkle of star-shaped lanterns (den ong sao) under the clear and vast tropical sky of bright clear moonlight and cool wind. Meanwhile, in China. Mid-Autumn Festival is also called Family Reunion Festival. No matter how far they are from home, Chinese return to their native place to reunite with their families and to honour their homeland. Anyone far from family at Mid-Autumn Festival longs for a letter from home.
There are several legends connected to the Moon Festival. The Moon Festival was initially a harvest celebration celebrated on the fifteenth day of eighth month on the lunar calendar, during which, the moon appears larger than at any time of the year. The moon represents fullness and prosperity of life.
During the Moon Festival, it is customary to give boxes of moon cakes (Banh Trung Thu) to family and special friends. The traditional moon cakes are usually very rich in taste. They have a bright yoke in the center to represent the moon. They are filled with lotus seeds, orange peel, ground beans.
Traditionally, during the night of Moon Festival, children parade on the streets, singing with colorful lanterns in hands. There are several different shapes of lanterns including butterflies, fishes, and stars. There are also lanterns which spin around when a candle is placed inside (den Keo Quan), symbolizing the seasonal spinning of the earth around the sun.
The flower dance and dragon dance are popular during Moon Festival. The Lord Earth, called Ong Dia, is the dancer who dances around the dragon, urging it on. Ong Dia has a very round, happy smiling moon-face. He represents the prosperity and wealth of the earth.
The Festival is exceptionally interesting for the children who play happily with the bright new toys. The toys are made from various different forms: the lion lead, the animal in folk tales and stories. The lanterns are colorful and of various kinds, such as the rabbit, the carp, etc. Besides traditional carton paper toys, plastic and bamboo plates, ships, tanks, etc. made of plastics with batteries and having remote controls are also on sale. This is understandable due to the economic improvements of the people. Whether organized in the city or countryside, the preserved tradition of the Mid-Autumn Festival is reflected in the way the children play games such as seek-and-hide, lion dancing, lantern marching, etc.
The welcome-the-moon party in the evening is a good opportunity for the children not only to enjoy the food, but also to learn more from their grandparents and parents. They are told how to prepare the party in the most attractive way. To decorate the party, there is always a "doctor" made of paper or dough, which reminds the children of the high achievements to be obtained in their studies. The time to start enjoying the party is solemnly shared by the whole family and becomes the most sacred moment of the Mid-Autumn Festival. In the bright moonlight, clear sky and fresh environment, everybody is relaxed with a pure and detached joy.