Minh Tran
Minh Tran

Mid-Autumn festival in Vietnam

Table of Contents

Mid-Autumn Festival (also called Moon Festival) is a traditional festival of Asian people for family reunions or thanksgiving. Every country in Asia will have its own way to celebrate this festival. This is also the time for children to enjoy and join in a lot of traditional activities in their hometown. Therefore, if you want to know more about Asian culture, you might need to take time to take part in this wonderful festival.

Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Festival

Nowadays, this traditional Asian festival has become really popular in other areas of the world. Many foreigners are willing to spend their time going to Vietnam or China to participate in the Moon Festival because of its interesting activities. However, few foreigners really know the origin and meaning of this festival. Let’s go back in time to better understand this traditional festival.

Mid-Autumn Festival (also called Moon Festival) is a traditional festival of Asian people for family reunions or thanksgiving.

Story & Legend

There are many ancient stories about the origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival. In Vietnam, the story that we probably hear the most about this festival is “The story of Hang and Cuoi”. The story tells that a man whose name is Cuoi had a magical banyan tree. Unfortunately, because of some incident, the banyan tree floated up to the moon and made Mr. Cuoi fly with it. Therefore, Vietnamese people often see the shadow of a man sitting under a tree on the full-moon. And children often make and parade lanterns on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival to help light the way for Mr. Cuoi to come back home.

There are many ancient stories about the origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival. In Vietnam, the story that we probably hear the most about this festival is "The story of Hang and Cuoi".

In addition, some historical evidence proves that the Vietnamese held the Mid-Autumn Festival as a festival to give thanksgiving for the end of the harvest, when farmers relax, enjoy life after a crop, and prepare for the next harvest.

Time for Family Reunion

Not only bringing joy to children, but the Mid-Autumn Festival is also a time for a family reunion. Many families often bring their children back to their hometown to visit grandparents and relatives along with traditional gifts such as moon cakes, food, lanterns, etc. Some other families choose to go out to enjoy Mooncake Festival’s activities such as lion dance, lantern procession, eating, and watching the moon together.

Not only bringing joy to children, but the Mid-Autumn Festival is also a time for a family reunion.

When is the Mid-Autumn Festival?

In Vietnam, the Mid-Autumn Festival is a traditional festival for children and teenagers. This festival will be held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. That means this festival will be often celebrated in mid-September every year. On this occasion, children will learn how to make traditional toys such as lanterns, masks, drums, etc. Some families even teach their children how to make moon cakes and some other traditional foods.

In Vietnam, the Mid-Autumn Festival is a traditional festival for children and teenagers.

How to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam? – Top Activities & Traditions

In Vietnam, there are a lot of interesting activities when you join the Mooncake Festival. This festival is not only for children, but also for families, friends, or loves to stay together. What will people do during the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam?

Eat Moon Cakes

Mooncake is the main food that many Vietnamese people eat during the Mid-Autumn Festival. These dishes are regarded as an indispensable delicacy on this occasion. Mooncakes can be used as a gift for friends or at family gatherings while celebrating the festival. The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most important festivals in Vietnam and China.

Mooncake is the main food that many Vietnamese people eat during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Typical mooncakes are round pastries made from red bean paste or lotus seed paste surrounded by a thin crust and may contain yolks from salted duck eggs Mooncakes are usually enjoyed with tea. Today, people often use mooncake as a gift to their clients, friends, or relatives.

Appreciate the Full Moon

Full-moon is also known as the symbol of family reunion. In traditional Chinese culture, the moon on the festival night is believed to be the fullest and brightest of the whole year, so many families often choose this time to stay together. Nevertheless, in some cases, a family member is too busy to come back home, he or she will appreciate the full moon in another place to remember their family.

 In traditional Chinese culture, the moon on the festival night is believed to be the fullest and brightest of the whole year, so many families often choose this time to stay together.

Worship the Moon

Worship the Moon (also called Lady Moon) used to be an important part of the Mid-Autumn Festival. Vietnamese people will prepare a lot of food to worship the Moon so as to pray for a good harvest, peaceful life, and career advancement. However, there are not many families keeping this traditional activity nowadays because of their busy work in the big city.

That means if you want to join in this great activity, you may need to go to an old town or tourist cities. People in those places will prepare mooncakes, fruit, traditional food, and candlesticks on the table, facing towards the full moon and pray.

Worship the Moon (also called Lady Moon) used to be an important part of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Enjoy family reunion dinner

In the time of full-moon, people often look at the moon to enjoy its beauty. The moon also reminds them of their families and homeland. Nowadays, Vietnamese people still love appreciating the moon together during the Mid-Autumn Festival. All members of a family often have dinner together in the evening of the Mid-Autumn Festival and talk about their work, own life, study, children, and their future plans.

In the time of full-moon, people often look at the moon to enjoy its beauty. The moon also reminds them of their families and homeland.

Make and parade festival lanterns

For children, making lanterns might be the most wonderful activity. They will learn how to make masks, monk lights, star lights, and lion heads, which are the most popular toys during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Most families often make their own toys for children in the family. There are also toy ship models. The masks are usually made of paperboard, wood, or plastic with popular images of children’s favorite characters.

For children, making lanterns might be the most wonderful activity.

After that, children will carry lanterns around villages, hamlets, and neighborhoods with some traditional songs on the Mid-Autumn Festival night. In some places like small towns or tourist cities, lion dances will be performed on the street in this festival.

“Phá cỗ”

During the Mid-Autumn Festival, families will prepare a mid-autumn tray consisting of baked goods, flexible cakes and attractive cakes that are loved by children, fresh seasonal fruits or exotic species, and all kinds of lanterns such as star lights, carp lights, etc. shimmering colors. Flowers are elaborately trimmed with many different shapes, neatly arranged, and beautiful.

“Phá cỗ” in the Mid-Autumn Festival is when everyone enjoys the full moon, talks, and sings in the peaceful atmosphere of the Lunar's reunion.

After the worship is finished, when the full moon is highest and brightest, everyone will gather and chant in unison, “Phá cỗ”. The way to break the Mid-Autumn Festival is that adults will bring the cake and divide it evenly for everyone to enjoy. Delicious cakes will be cut and divided equally so that everyone can feel the taste of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Children are eating cakes while holding lanterns and singing fun Mid-Autumn songs. Adults enjoy cake, drink tea, watch the moon and talk together. “Phá cỗ” in the Mid-Autumn Festival is when everyone enjoys the full moon, talks, and sings in the peaceful atmosphere of the Lunar’s reunion.

Which Cities in China Do People Celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival?

Each place will have its own way to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival with many different activities. So, if you want to enjoy the Mid-Autumn Festival to the fullest, you should visit the following cities in China:

Each place will have its own way to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival with many different activities.

Moon Festival in Beijing
Moon Festival in Shanghai
Moon Festival in Hong Kong
Moon Festival in Hangzhou
Moon Festival in Guangzhou

The Mid-Autumn Festival is considered one of the most important traditional New Year holidays for Chinese people, second only to the Lunar New Year. On the brightest full moon night of this year, they have many exciting and unique activities such as having family reunions with a reunion meal and then watching the moon together, carrying lights, watching a lion dance, and enjoying moon cakes. In addition, there are quite interesting activities that have appeared since ancient times such as sacrificing to the moon, releasing lanterns, enjoying wine and solving puzzles.

How to Greet Each Other for the Mid-Autumn Festival?

There are a lot of greetings you can use when joining the Mid-Autumn Festival of China. Let’s read some examples below.

There are a lot of greetings you can use when joining the Mid-Autumn Festival of China.

1. Pray the brightness of the moon and stars to fill your life with positivity and happiness…. Wishing you a happy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.

2. Pray the round moon brings a brighter, happier, and more successful future for your life….. Sending best wishes for the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival to you.

3. Have a Happy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.

4. The full moon is a signal that it is the time to reunite, enjoy the festivities and happy times with loved ones…. Happy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.

5. Sending the best warm wishes on the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.

6. Wishing you a perfect life, perfect work like the perfectly round shape of the moon in the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.

7. Hope your professional and personal life is blessed with moments of joy and happiness…. Happy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.

8. On the occasion of the Mid-Autumn Festival, sending you the warmest greetings and full of love, happiness, and blessings.

9. Hope the Mid-Autumn Festival brings along lots of happiness in your life, in your heart, and in your home…. Enjoy this festival to the fullest.

10. Hope you enjoy the bright and happy Mid-Autumn Festival with your family to create beautiful memories for life.

The Long-lived Origin and History of the Mid-Autumn Festival 3,000 Years Ago

The Mid-Autumn Festival has become a traditional cultural feature of Vietnamese people because it has very interesting and unique origins and meanings. For thousands of years, people have celebrated the Mid-Autumn to watch the moon together and pray for health and happiness for their families and relatives. But perhaps not many people know well about the mysterious legend of the Mid-Autumn Festival. This is the time when the moon is the brightest and roundest of the year and people often enjoy mooncakes, break the feast and watch the moon.

The Mid-Autumn Festival has become a traditional cultural feature of Vietnamese people because it has very interesting and unique origins and meanings.

According to Chinese legends, the couple Hau Nghe and Hang Nga both lived on the moon. The beauty of Hang Nga and the immortality of Hau Nghe made some other gods jealous, and they slandered Hau Nghe in front of King Yao. Since then, the couple was kicked out of the palace and had to live a civilian life. But the life of working and hunting has made Hau Nghe a famous gunner in folklore.

At that time, 10 suns existed at the same time, and one day all 10 suns appeared and burned most of the living things on the earth. King Yao ordered Hau Nghe to shoot down 9 suns, leaving only one.

Hou Nghe completed his mission and in return, King Yao gave him a pill of immortality and told him, “For the time being, don’t drink this, or start praying and fasting for a year. That’s what you can drink.” Hou Nghe followed suit, he took the pill home and hid it in a raft on the roof. After about half a year, King Yao invited him to the capital to “play”. Hang Nga at home suddenly discovered the spiritual medicine and she immediately drank it, so she had to fly to the moon.

Since then, although she misses her husband very much, Hang Nga still has to stay on the moon and can’t come back. In the world, longing and regret ravaged Hau Nghe day and night. In the end, he built a castle in the sun and named it “Yang”, while Hang Nga built a similar castle named “Yin”. Once a year, on the full moon day of August, the two are reunited in joy and happiness. That is why the moon is always so full and bright on this day as to the joy and joy of meeting people.

People organize a lantern procession, dragon dance, and lion dance in the moonlight to celebrate the day Uncle Cuoi, Hang, and the Rabbits came down to earth in order to play.

However, in Vietnam, there is a legend about Ms. Hang – Uncle Cuoi said that, in the past, there was a fairy in heaven named Hang Nga, she was very beautiful and diligently governed a shimmering Moon. She loves children very much, so her dream is to come down to earth to play with them, but because the rules of the fairy world do not allow it.

One day, Ngoc Hoang held a contest “Make cakes on the full moon day” on the full moon day of August – the day when the moon is the brightest and fullest of the year, whoever can make the most delicious, most beautiful, and most fancy cakes will be honored – reward whatever you want. Hang Nga enjoys joining in the contest right away. When she came to earth to find the cakes, she met “Cuoi” – a man who specializes in lying. Every night Cuoi gathers children under the banyan tree at the top of the village to gossip.

In addition to “lie” talent, Cuoi is very good at cooking, he often makes cakes for the children in the village to eat, so the children love Cuoi. Hang Nga was very happy and asked Cuoi to make a new kind of cake with her, so Cuoi came up with an idea to just put all the ingredients together and bake it, which are eggs, melon seeds, meat, sesame, lotus seeds, sausages…

And strangely enough, the cakes came out of the oven with a rich aroma, and the children who ate them all praised it very well, although it was not very beautiful, it was the best cake that the children enjoyed. When it was time to return to heaven, Hang Nga brought delicious unnamed cakes to heaven to compete and bid farewell to her lovely friends on earth, goodbye to the lying but talented and kind man – Cuoi.

But Cuoi didn’t want to leave her, so he held her hand tightly and strangely, and there was a supernatural force that pulled him and the banyan tree to the moon. Climbing up the banyan tree he could see the children playing in the world. Sometimes, when he misses home and misses his children, Cuoi can only sit and cry and be sad.

However, in Vietnam, there is a legend about Ms. Hang – Uncle Cuoi said that, in the past, there was a fairy in heaven named Hang Nga, she was very beautiful and diligently governed a shimmering Moon. . She loves children very much, so her dream is to come down to earth to play with them, but because the rules of the fairy world do not allow it.

One day, Ngoc Hoang held a contest “Make cakes on the full moon day” on the full moon day of August – the day when the moon is the brightest and fullest of the year, whoever can make the most delicious, most beautiful, and most fancy cakes will be honored. Reward whatever you want. Hang Nga is very interested, eager to join the contest right away. When she came to earth to consult, she met “Cuoi” – a man who specializes in lying, every night Cuoi gathers children under the banyan tree at the top of the village to gossip.

In addition to “lie” talent, Cuoi is very good at cooking, he often makes cakes for the children in the village to eat, so the children love Cuoi. Hang Nga knew that was very happy and asked Cuoi to make a new kind of cake with her, so Cuoi came up with an idea to just put all the ingredients together and bake it, which are eggs, melon seeds, meat, sesame, lotus seeds, sausages…

And strangely enough, the cakes came out of the oven with a rich aroma, and the children who ate them all praised it very well, although it was not very beautiful, it was the best cake that the children enjoyed. When it was time to return to heaven, Hang Nga brought delicious unnamed cakes to heaven to compete and bid farewell to her lovely friends on earth, goodbye to the lying but talented and kind Cuoi.

But Cuoi, because he was attached to her, didn’t want to leave her, so he held her hand tightly and strangely, there was a supernatural force that pulled him and the banyan tree to the moon. Climbing up the banyan tree he could see the children playing in the world. Sometimes, when he misses home and misses his children, Cuoi can only sit and cry and be sad.

As for Hang Nga, her unique cake won the first prize and was named “moon cake” by the Jade Emperor and granted her a wish. She wishes that every year on the full moon day of August, she will be with Cuoi Canoe on earth to spread joy and play with children. The wish was accepted and Ngoc Hoang named the full moon day of August “Mid-Autumn Festival” – a fun festival for children. Since then, every Mid-Autumn Festival, Ms. Hang and Uncle Cuoi come down to earth to bring joy to the children. Moon cake has since become an indispensable special dish on this day.

From then on, on the full moon day of August, when the moon is brightest and roundest, people organize a lantern procession, dragon dance, and lion dance in the moonlight to celebrate the day Uncle Cuoi, Hang, and the Rabbits came down to earth in order to play. Mooncakes are made into the shape of the moon to commemorate the fun night party under the moon that children used to call “Phá cỗ”.

Where is the Mid-Autumn Festival Celebrated outside China?

Japan

Unlike Vietnam, the Mid-Autumn Festival (also called Otsukimi) in Japan is celebrated twice a year around 1 month later – the 15th day of the 8th lunar month and the 13th day of the 9th lunar month. The first time was called Zyuyoga associated with the custom of watching the moon Otsukimi. The second time it was held was Zyusanya known as the “night of the 13th” or the “after moon”.

The Japanese believe that once you see the moon on the 15th night, you must definitely look at the moon on the 13th night. Because if you only look at the moon on the 15th night, you will definitely have bad luck or disaster! This taboo is called “Kata-tsukimi” in Japanese. This is also a distinctive feature of Japanese Otsukimi. Japanese people often enjoy Otsukimi with some traditional foods such as Susuki grass, Tsukimi Dango,…

The Mid-Autumn Festival (also called Otsukimi) in Japan is celebrated twice a year

Korea

The Mid-Autumn Festival in Korean is also called Chuseok which means Autumn Night. On Chuseok Day, Koreans will prepare and put on the most beautiful and new traditional Hanbok to participate in ancestral memorial ceremonies or attend parties. Hanboks for this occasion are called Chuseokbim. Korean families will gather in their big house and do the Charye ceremony to give thanks to their ancestors.

The Mid-Autumn Festival in Korean is also called Chuseok which means Autumn Night

Charye is usually held twice a year on the 1st day of the Lunar New Year and Chuseok day. However, on Lunar New Year, the main dish on the ancestral altar is Tteokguk rice cake soup. During Chuseok, the main dishes will be made from freshly harvested agricultural products such as Seongpyeon cake or Baekju wine.

Sri Lanka

Unlike other Asian countries, Sri Lanka celebrates the “Full Moon Festival” once a month, with the most respectful ceremonies. On this day, the whole country is on holiday. People prepare fresh offerings and bring them to the temple to pray. After listening to the sermon in the temple, everyone sat down to enjoy the fruit cake and appreciate the moon as well as dance and sing.

Unlike other Asian countries, Sri Lanka celebrates the "Full Moon Festival" once a month, with the most respectful ceremonies.

Cambodia

In Cambodia, the Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on the full moon day of the 10th lunar month. On this occasion, the Cambodian people hold the Ok Om Bok festival with offerings including nuggets, bananas, sugar cane, cassava soup…

In the early morning of the holiday, Cambodians hold a festival to bow to the moon, also known as the moon festival, to show respect to the moon god.

In Cambodia, the Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on the full moon day of the 10th lunar month.

In the evening, they spread out a large mat, put offerings on it, and together wait for the moon to rise. When the moon rises above the top of the tree, everyone sincerely bows and prays for blessings. Then, the elders will take the rice and stuff it into the children’s mouths, to pray for their health and well-being.

Laos

In Laos, That Luang festival is a big festival related to the full moon day. This festival takes place during a full moon in the middle of the 12th week of the Buddhist calendar (falling in November or sometimes October of the solar calendar).

In Laos, That Luang festival is a big festival related to the full moon day.

The center of the festival is Pha That Luang, the most beautiful and sacred stupa of the country of Million Elephants. On festival days, the roads leading to Pha That Luang are lit by candlelight, and the tower is brightly decorated, forming a magical and sacred space.

Besides the ceremony, there is a festival that lasts up to a week, mainly fun and amazing activities in many forms. At the same time, an international exhibition was also held in Buon That Luong at this time.

Myanmar

The Mid-Autumn Festival in Myanmar is also known as the “Full Moon Festival ” or “Light of the Moon”. On the full moon night, every house will light up lanterns to brighten up the city. People also often watch drama performances, dance, watch movies, and many other exciting activities on this festival night.

The Mid-Autumn Festival in Myanmar is also known as the "Full Moon Festival '' or "Light of the Moon".

Singapore

As we’ve known in many countries, people consider the Mid-Autumn Festival to be an ideal time for people to give the most beautiful presents and wish the best luck to relatives, friends, and business partners. One of the most used gifts is the moon cake. Things go on the same here in SIngapore.

Mooncakes in Singapore look quite similar to moon cakes in Vietnam, but the taste is completely different.

Mooncakes in Singapore look quite similar to moon cakes in Vietnam, but the taste is completely different. Singapore has a lot of strange moon cakes such as green tea sticky rice cakes or pumpkin and durian pies. The flexible cake no longer keeps the traditional white color but is varied with all kinds of colors.

The Mid-Autumn Festival in Singapore is full of Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival colors. Chinatown in Singapore every year is the place where people celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. Here, people sell lanterns and items related to the Mid-Autumn Festival. Usually, this activity is held months in advance.

Thailand

The Mid-Autumn Festival in Thailand is called the “moon festival”, held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. In the Mid-Autumn Festival in Thailand, all young and old must participate in the moon worshiping ceremony. And everyone will sit around the altar of Bodhisattva and Bat Tien to pray for the best.

The Mid-Autumn Festival in Thailand is called the "moon festival", held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month.

Above the altar will display peaches and moon cakes. Thai people believe that doing so Bat Tien will help bring peaches to the moon to wish Guan Yin a long life, and the gods will bless everyone.

Therefore, the moon cake in Thailand is shaped like a peach. On this day, Thai people also often eat grapefruit – a fruit that symbolizes fullness, conviviality, and sweetness.

FAQ

You might need to focus on the answers to the questions below. They will help you understand more about the Moon Festival.

Why do we celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival?

Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the traditional festivals in Vietnam. It is also recognized as “Children’s Tet”, and children are extremely excited on this day as they would get the prettiest gifts from their families. On this occasion, people often make a lot of lanterns, star lanterns, drums, masks, etc. for children. Besides, the Mid-Autumn Festival is also a reunion festival, a traditional culture of the Vietnamese people because it brings with it an interesting origin and meaning.

How long is the Mid-Autumn Festival?

In Vietnam, the Moon Festival will last in three days, while this time will be longer in China – about five to eight days. In other countries, the time for the Moon Festival might last up to one or two weeks.

What is the legend of the Mid-Autumn Festival?

In China, the legend of the Mooncake Festival might be from “The story of Hau Nghe and Hang Nga”. However, in Vietnam, the story about Ms. Hang and Uncle Cuoi is related to this traditional festival.

When will the Mid-Autumn Festival take place in 2021?

In 2021, the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam will take place on Tuesday, September 21. Remember the time to enjoy this traditional festival.

When will the Mid-Autumn Festival take place in 2022?

In 2022, the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam will take place on Tuesday, September 22. Although a bit long, the festival in 2022 can be more fun and interesting. Remember to schedule a time and join it.

How can you enjoy the Mid-Autumn Festival In Hanoi?

Hang Ma Street is one of the famous streets in Hanoi during the Mid-Autumn Festival. In every Mid-Autumn Festival, this place is really exciting and happy with many stalls displaying a lot of Mid-Autumn decorations from traditional items such as star lights, carp lights, unicorn heads, drums, face masks…

Royal City and Time City are famous as one of the addresses with the most investment and decoration for the Mid-Autumn Festival in Hanoi. Everywhere in the outdoor and indoor halls are decorated with lanterns as well as models related to the Mid-Autumn Festival. In particular, there are also many mooncake stalls of famous brands for sale, attractive activities, and exciting programs that not only attract families with young children but also attract couples or groups of friends to attend.

Royal City and Time City are famous as one of the addresses with the most investment and decoration for the Mid-Autumn Festival in Hanoi.

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How can you enjoy the Mid-Autumn Festival In Ho Chi Minh City?

If you are in Ho Chi Minh City, you cannot ignore Dam Sen, Fairy Stream. These are the destinations chosen by many people during the Mid-Autumn Festival. This is an ideal destination to attract families with young children to the Mid-Autumn Festival. These two famous parks of Ho Chi Minh City are decorated prominently with shimmering lights.

If you are in Ho Chi Minh City, you cannot ignore Dam Sen, Fairy Stream. These are the destinations chosen by many people during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Le Thi Rieng Park, also known as White Rabbit Park, is a festival paradise in the city center. Every year, the Mid-Autumn Festival at the White Rabbit Park will have circus performances, magic, exciting music, and spectacular performances of lions and dragons. Ms. Hang Nga, Uncle Cuoi, and Mascot White Rabbit will welcome children and customers in the central area of the amusement park to exchange, take pictures and especially give gifts to the children.

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