Vietnam Center & Archive News and Updates

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Happy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival 2013

Vietnam Center Collection. Unicorn paper mache mask.

Thursday, September 19th 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.

 

Kathryn Campbell Collection. 8 year old Thi Thi Bich Nhi blends Vietnamese and Chinese legend in her drawing titled, Chi Hang (The Moon Goddess). She depicts both the Vietnamese man in the moon, Chu Cuoi, and the Chinese woman in the moon associated with the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.

 

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.

Douglas Pike Photograph Collection
Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration – “Moon Men” – Enterprising merchant in Saigon uses display of Lunar Astronauts to call attention to “Moon Cakes,” a traditional delicacy sold during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

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.

Ogden Williams Collection USOM/Office of Rural Affairs

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.

Vietnam Center Collection. Paper mache mask.

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