The Khmer Festival that celebrates the moon deity. It is known as Ooc-Om-Bok and seeks a good year ahead, starting shortly after the Festival is held because it is at the beginning of the dry season just before the harvest. The harvest is very important and is one of the main reasons for the festival; others are good weather, good luck and happiness. If you are travelling in Vietnam, the harvest time in extremely interesting. The paddy fields that were flooded when the rice was planted are now dry and the golden rice gives the fields an altogether different appearance.
The precise date of the moon-worshipping ceremony is the evening of the 14th in the tenth lunar month. It can be held in any suitable place; homes or the yards of pagodas are typical. Bamboo poles are erected with a crossbar which is then decorated with leaves and flowers. Offerings are then placed at a table below the crossbar. Thee is likely to be everything from cakes to green rice flakes, coconuts, bananas and potatoes. The people sit cross-legged on the ground in front of the altar looking to the skies with their hands clasped in front of them.
There is a master of ceremonies that takes the lead, praying and asking the moon gods to accept these gifts and to bless the people. Afterwards children will sit in front of the altar where the elders will give them rice and ask them what they wish for. Those that answer clearly and politely can expect a good year. There is feasting, singing and dancing. Any visitors will be given sticky rice. You may be lucky on your Vietnam travel with kids to be visitors while this ceremony is taking place.
Lanterns are released into the skies or into streams and rivers at pagodas in the belief that that will chase away darkness and misfortune. The Vietnamese are very strong on tradition and this Festival remains as strong as it has ever been. All the more reason to book a Vietnam tour package to enjoy the culture.
Read more: Vietnamese festival and event