Mid-Autumn Festival – The most famous festival in Vietnam

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The Mid-Autumn Festival is known by many names: the Moon-Gazing Festival, the Children’s Festival, or even the Reunion Festival. This is a festival loved and looked forward to by many children in Vietnam. Coming to Vietnam on the Mid-Autumn Festival, you will experience and enjoy many exciting activities only in this beautiful S-shaped country. Let’s find out with FTrip right in this article!

Origin of Mid-Autumn Festival

As its name implies, the holiday is held in the middle of autumn – the 15th day (the full moon) of the eighth lunar month. As Vietnam also uses the Gregorian calendar like the rest of the world, this holiday typically falls in August or September. The holiday originated in China and then spread to the rest of the Sinosphere, to which Vietnam also belongs. It probably started as a harvest festival for farmers to celebrate successful crops after a hard season’s work.

Certain characters and legends are associated with the festival. There is Hằng Nga, or chị Hằng (“sister Hằng”), the beautiful mortal woman who became a moon goddess after taking immortality pills and ascending to the sky. There is Cuội, the Vietnamese version of the man on the moon, who sits beneath a banyan tree. There is also the Jade Rabbit, who makes elixirs with his mortar and pestle.

Like any Vietnamese holiday, the Mid-Autumn Festival is also an occasion for the people to invite their ancestors and local deities to join the celebration by lighting incense on the family altar and saying prayers. The wisps of smoke carry everyone’s wishes to the heavens: for safety, prosperity, health, and a bountiful harvest.

Mid-Autumn Festival has become an indispensable traditional festival in Vietnam. If you want to experience exciting cultures, visit Vietnam around the time of this festival.

Mid-Autumn Festival has become an indispensable traditional festival in Vietnam

Actives in the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam

Carrying a Star and Carp-shaped Lantern

The festival has three main activities: a lantern parade, a lion dance, and a feast. Children would take to the streets, singing, holding lanterns shaped like animals, stars, or the classic folding cylinder shape, which used to be candle-lit but are now battery-operated. You can see many designs of lanterns, from traditional to modern, on the streets of Vietnam during this festival.

Star and Carp-shaped Lantern

Watching Lion dance

The Lion dance is often performed during Tet and other traditional, cultural, and religious festivals. In Vietnam, the lion dance on the occasion of the Mid-Autumn Festival is a joy for children, a beautiful memory in the eyes of children. On the full moon day of August, when the lanterns are filled with colors, the streets are bustling, and the pounding drums resound throughout the sky, bringing joy to children and adults alike. 

Teams of Lion dancers would entertain paraders, sometimes with chú Tễu, a jester-like character in a red grinning mask.

the lion dance on the occasion of the Mid-Autumn Festival

Eating Moon cake

Finally, as the moon rises directly overhead, the feast would begin. A dazzling variety of sweet treats is considered exclusive to this festival. Mooncakes are ornately-decorated pastry blocks baked to golden brown and filled with untold flavors (every year, social media erupts in fights over which one is best and which is an abomination), or sculpted into fish (carps and goldfishes are popular because of their association with fortune and success). 

Another variation is pure white and similarly ornate, but both are extremely sweet. Fluffy white dogs sculpted from pomelos stand guard over the feast, laden with arranged fruit, candies, and other snacks. 

Mooncakes are ornately-decorated pastry blocks baked to golden brown and filled with untold flavors

Where is Mid-Autumn Festival celebrated?

Hanoi

If you come to Hanoi 1 month before the Mid-Autumn Festival, visit Hang Ma Street to admire the lovely lanterns or simply to feel the atmosphere of the approaching happy Mid-Autumn Festival. If there are too many people, so you can’t enter Hang Ma to take a photo with lanterns comfortably, you can turn to Phung Hung Street. This is also one of the emerging Mid-Autumn Festival entertainment venues in recent years in Hanoi.

Hang Ma Street in Ha Noi

Hoi An

Unlike many other big cities such as Hanoi, Saigon… Hoi An Mid-Autumn Festival spends 4 days with many new and attractive activities that are not confused with any other region. On these days, the stalls have started bustling with a festive atmosphere from 5 pm.

Lost in the ancient town of Hoi An, you will have the opportunity to fall in love with the noisy and bustling sounds of the holidays: Unique games,  art performances, display of trays, Lion dance…

Hoi An Mid-Autumn Festival spends 4 days

Ho Chi Minh city

Luong Nhu Ngoc Lantern Street has long become a familiar address for Saigon people at every Mid-Autumn Festival. Walking along the road, you will be mesmerized by seeing all kinds of lanterns of various colors, shapes, and styles.

Nguyen Hue Walking Street is an attractive entertainment destination for every holiday. Located right in the city center, this neighborhood attracts many tourists who love the bustle to visit. Especially on the occasion of the festival, Nguyen Hue pedestrian street becomes more splendid than ever when decorated with colorful lanterns along the road.

Luong Nhu Ngoc Lantern Street has long become a familiar address for Saigon people at every Mid-Autumn Festival

FAQs about Mid-Autumn in Vietnam

1. What meaning of the Mid-Autumn festival in Vietnam?

Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Reunion Festival, is an occasion for family members to gather, talk and eat together. In addition, the Vietnamese also offers a tray of food to pay their respects to their ancestors.

2. When is the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam in 2023?

In 2023, the Mid-Autumn festival will occur on Friday, September 29th.

Above is the information about the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam. Don’t forget to visit FTrip’s blog for more exciting information about Vietnam. In addition, if you want to have a cultural experience trip in Vietnam, please refer to the tours at FTrip.

Reviewed by

Diep Van

Phone: +84901166884

Email: diep.van@ftripvietnam.com

Diep Van

Founder & Photography Guide

Specialties: Culture, landscape, portrait, hiking, active and adventurous tour

Besides my unlimited passion for traveling, a professional tour guide for over a decade, I have been taking photographs since sitting at Hanoi of the University of Culture in the early 2000s. Photography started as a hobby but it was seriously taken due to my work relations and my significant passion for the beauty of our world, especially in Southeast Asian parts such as Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

Within a few years of taking photographs, my works began to be recognized by many reliable international publications such as AFAR Travel, The Times, and The Daily Telegraph newspaper. In addition, I continuously add to my growing profile by winning numerous major awards: 3rd Position of The Independent Photographer 2018, 1st Position of Amateur Photographer of the year 2018, Grand Prize Winner of the AFAR Travel Photography 2019, and a Gold Award of San Francisco Bay International Photography 2020.

I photograph a wide variety of subjects, from travel to landscapes to street scenes. I enjoy documenting the East’s rich cultural heritage and its land soaked in glorious sunrise or sunset light in remote and secluded spots. And, I am very happy to share my knowledge and experience with you. You can visit