Updated: 14 Sep 2021

Where to see Virtual Mid Autumn Festival 2021.

The Thang Long Royal Citadel in Hanoi is scheduled to hold a range of activities from September 19 aimed at celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival. It is the best one and safest way welcome Autumn Festival 2021.

A special online show will also be shown through the websites hoangthanhthanglong.vn and trungbayonline.hoangthanhthanglong.vn. It is officially website of the Citadel too. 

Visitors will have chance to see the traditional trays used by the local people of Hanoi to mark the occasion of the Mid-Autumn Festival in the 20th century through old drawings.

Through various video clips, historian Le Van Lan will join in a discussion on the Mid-Autumn festival, especially how it is taking place during this year’s fight against COVID-19.

Viewers will be able  to learn about some of the traditional activities that typically take place, such as toy making, dragon dances, and making both mooncakes and lanterns through videos and images shown during the exhibition.

The Mid-Autumn Festival will be celebrated on September 21, or the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. To mark the occasion family members often get together in order to enjoy the festival with each other.

They often prepare trays filled with mooncakes, candy, and fruit, with children able to enjoy entertainment activities, including a lantern parade.

This year will see all activities nationwide regarding the Mid-Autumn Festival celebration being held virtually due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Introduction to Mid Autumn Festival- Tet Trung Thu in Vietnam.

Every Vietnamese child dreams about an amazing Tết Trung Thu with his or her own brightly lit lantern and a belly full of mooncakes. Tết Trung Thu or Mid-autumn Festival, is also known in Vietnam as the “Children’s Festival”. Here’s how to make the most of this magical holiday.

Origins of Tet Trung Thu - Mid Autumn Festival.

While the Mid-autumn Festival originated in China and is celebrated in many Asian countries, the Vietnamese version has its own traditions and legends. Our best-known tale is about a man named Cuội who hung on to a magical banyan tree as it floated up to the moon. We say that if you look closely at the full moon, you can see the shadow of a man sitting under a tree. Children parade lanterns in the streets the night of Mid-autumn Festival to help light the way to earth for Cuội from the moon.

The celebration of the harvest is an important part of Tết Trung Thu, as many Vietnamese live in rural areas and work as farmers. Tết Trung Thu marks a joyous occasion when the work is finished and there’s time to spend with loved ones.

Preparations begin

As an important festival for children, toys can be found all over Vietnam's cities the weeks before Mid-autumn.

In the weeks before Tết Trung Thu, you will see and hear groups of lion dancers practicing on the streets. Mooncake stalls appear on every other corner, pop-ups with elaborately decorated boxes filled with a variety of mystery cakes and fillings. City districts team up with preparations of toys, lanterns and colourful masks in anticipation. The most popular Trung Thu lantern is a star made with red cellophane. You’ll see these lanterns for sale on streets all over Vietnam in the days leading up to the festival.

Mooncake madness

Mooncakes are best enjoyed with a hot cup of green tea. 

All across Vietnam, families welcome Tết Trung Thu by placing a five-fruit tray and cakes on our ancestral altar. We offer the food to our ancestors and worship, before feasting on mooncakes -- usually outside under the light of the moon. Round or square, these cakes are moulded with elaborate details of flowers, carp and geometric patterns.

The two most common types are bánh dẻo (soft, sticky cakes with a mochi-texture) and bánh nướng (baked cakes with a thick wheat crust). Mooncakes in Vietnam come in a seemingly infinite variety of flavours, both sweet and savoury. Feel free to buy a box of mooncakes to enjoy yourself, or to share with your Vietnamese friends and hosts.

Moonlit celebrations

Families pick up lanterns, toys and treats in the alleyways of Ho Chi Minh City's Cholon District. 

On the night of the full moon, children bearing brightly coloured lanterns form raucous processions and tour their neighbourhoods singing songs. You will see a male dancer wearing a round happy-faced mask that symbolises the moon. He urges the lion dancers on and delights the crowd with his comical moves. This is the Earth God, Ông Địa, who represents the fullness of the earth and reminds onlookers to give thanks for its bounty. Ông Địa always brings joy and puts a smile on every Vietnamese child's face. 

Lion dancing

mid-autumn festival Vietnam 2020Lion heads on display for purchase in Ho Chi Minh City. 

Lion dancing or múa lân is an essential element of the Mid-autumn festivities. Groups of children gather, each carrying a red lantern. Everyone sings along to the cheerful Mid-autumn Festival songs memorized since childhood. Excitement peaks when drumbeats ring out from down the dark street. The smaller kids shrink back and the older ones run forward as a mythical lion bursts into their courtyard, its giant head and sinuous body borne by a team of acrobatic dancers.

With its gaping mouth and protruding eyes, the lion is both comical and formidable. The dancers lunge closer to the crowd, making the kids scream and laugh at their antics. Under the light of the full moon, the lion’s red sequined body sparkles as it dances. For Vietnamese children, not much else beats this spectacular performance on the night of Trung Thu.