Tet Trung Thu is a traditional Vietnamese festival for children. If you are on a Vietnam tour with kids when thismid-Autumn festival takes place, then the kids will certainly enjoy it; and so will you. It is a time when parents buy funny masks, lanterns and of course food.
Typically, the rice harvest is in the 8th lunar month. The day selected for the festival is the 15th day of that month and every household gives thanks to Mother Earth for the harvest. Harvest time is a busy time for parents so to an extent, there is little time for the children. There are all kinds of things that go on at the time, typically dragon boat races and parades.
The Festival is the time when parents can make up for their relative neglect of the children and there are three main activities especially related to the Festival:
A platform is erected in the yard at night and offerings are made of mooncake, fruit and snacks. Afterwards, the family sits eating the offerings and admiring the moon which is virtually guaranteed in a cloudless sky in the middle of the 8th month. At midnight, when all the food is finished, the platform is taken down. Some families make a special platform for their children who can eat whenever they wish.
The lanterns are carp-shaped because according to legend, a carp spirit was responsible for killing a number of people on the night of mid-Autumn so that people were scared to go outside. A wise man hit on the idea of lanterns with a stick in the belly. The carp, scared of the lights, keeps well clear of people as a result.
Children now play with all kinds of lanterns in the moonlight.
Groups of children walk through the streets, knocking on doors to ask permission of the occupants to do the lion dance. It is thought that this brings good luck to the household and the children are given ‘’lucky money.’’ as thanks for their dance. The age range of the children ranges from very young to teenage. The streets are full of music for many hours so if you are travelling in Vietnam at the time, you now know what is going on.
Autumn is a great time for a Vietnam travel package and the Festival is a real added bonus of the holiday.