Vietnam Center & Archive News and Updates

Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival

Douglas Pike Collection. Mid Autumn Festival Celebration "Moon Men" Enterprising Merchant in Saigon uses Display of Lunar Astronauts to call Attention to "Moon Cakes"

Monday, September 12th, 2011 marks the Mid Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon or Full Moon Festival. Traditionally celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, when the moon appears larger than it does on any other night of the year, the Mid Autumn Moon Festival (Tet Trung Thu) is the second biggest holiday in Vietnam and is widely celebrated throughout Asia.

Vietnamese Mooncakes. Photo courtesy of morning_rumtea (Lê Hoàn Nhã) (the photographer) and http://www.flickr.com/photos/vietnamfriendly/ (morning_rumtea's Flickr page)

   It is a time for family and to celebrate life, prosperity, and the harvest. During the Mid Autumn festival, parents prepare their children’s favorite dishes and buy them new toys. Children hear the story of Chu Cuoi (the man in the moon) and other fairytales. Hanging and floating lanterns are set out to decorate and people dance the lion and dragon dances. Mooncakes (made from lotus seed, ground beans, and containing a bright salted egg yolk in the center) are given to family and friends. Pomelo fruit and watermelon seeds are a special treat. At night children parade through the streets to the beat of drums wearing Paper Mache masks and carrying lanterns in the shapes of stars, rabbit heads, fish (carpe), butterflies, or lanterns with a lit candle inside that makes shapes spin representing the seasonal spinning of the earth.
 

Pomelo. Photo courtesy of wikicommons.

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