Tradition and Celebrations with the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam

Before the autumn breeze sets the tone for winter, Vietnamese celebrate this time of the year feasting over prosperity and good luck. The Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam is celebrated on the 15th-day of the 8th month of the Lunar calendar. It’s an important festival of the Vietnamese and they spend a lot of time and affection to prepare for the final celebration. It’s the best time of the year for Vietnamese to gather around with family and friends to pray for a good and prosperous future. Here’s how the Vietnamese celebrate this incredible festival:

Celebrating the Full Moon

The story behind celebrating the full moon is very interesting; during the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam the legend of Cuoi is one of the most popular stories.  In most of the other countries like Korea, Japan, and China, the Mid-Autumn Festival as the harvest festival, however, Vietnam celebrates this day of the year as the children’s festival. It’s is done so, because kids are considered pure and closer to nature.

Also, a lot of things happen in the 14th and 15th night of the mid-autumn festival. Your visit to Vietnam will worth the trip 10 times more if you get to experience the mid-autumn festival. The roads look incredibly beautiful with elaborate decorations. Vietnamese prepare special meals in large quantities to eat it under the moonlight. Here are a few things you can get to see during that time.

Lanterns, Vietnam
Colorful Lanterns on the River in Mid-Autumn Festival

1. Lantern Festival

Tourists especially travel to Vietnam to experience the Hoi An lantern festival. It’s celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm by lighting the colorful lanterns, and setting them on the surface of the river as an act of showing respect to the deceased. It is also celebrated to worship their ancestors and the god of the land. The lantern parade is famous in Vietnam where the kids walk down the streets with lanterns in their hands.

2. Enjoy the Varieties of Mooncakes

If you have a sweet tooth, the mooncakes will win over everything else you eat. Vietnamese eat this dessert under the moonlight around friends and family. It’s the essential dish in the feast and has some of the very unique flavors and fillings you could ever taste. Over the years this traditional dessert has widely diversified in ingredients, shapes, and sizes. The use of all the autumn fruits and added flavors gives this cake an unforgettable taste.

To summarize the flavors for you, you can try traditional mixed nuts, lotus seed paste, red/green bean paste, taro paste, coconut mooncake, and more. The list of flavors could go on, and some of them will keep you asking for more.

3. Lion Dance

You must have noticed in many tourist brochures, the dragon and lion dance is very famous in Asian countries, especially in New Year, and other festivals. The lion dance enhances the festive mood and brings joy and happiness to the people celebrating the mid-autumn.

It’s exciting and fun if you are traveling with family, then unicorn dance is another good thing to show it to your kids. There is no particular place or street you can visit to witness this dance, because during the festive season you will easily find a crowd enjoying the lion dance on every street of the city.

4. Moon Watching

Moon is considered as an important part of Vietnamese culture and tradition. During the full moon days, moon watching is done to relate to the legend of Chu Cuoi. Moon is also considered an important part of predicting the future and seasons in Vietnam.  

5. Walk Around on the Streets of Hang Ma

Strolling through the local streets in the festive season can give you a very descriptive look at the Vietnamese tradition. They prepare for the festival by getting decorations, masks, toys, lanterns, etc. Once you visit the local market, you will notice that the street shops are overflowing with colorful decorations and more.

6. Take the Hanoi City Tour

The cities during the festive season become 10 times more attractive than the usual days. You will get to experience the warmth of community bonding and the charm of festivals. People buying and selling, street foods being prepared, lion dance, traditional handicraft, paper masks, and the best part-mooncakes, these activities will leave you with a lifetime of memories.

To help you get around the city easily, take a look at some of the tips to travel in Vietnam during the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam.

Tips to Travel in Vietnam during Mid-Autumn Festival

1. Book your accommodations in advance

Once you’re planning to experience the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam, make sure you are making your accommodation arrangements beforehand. The festive season is the peak traveling time for tourists around the world. You can book the tickets, and accommodations beforehand to escape any inconvenience in traveling.

Hotel in Hoi An Ancient Town
Hotel in Hoi An Ancient Town

Hoi An ancient town
Hoi An ancient town

2. Best places to celebrate the festival

Instead of moving around in places where you might not enjoy the festival to the fullest, follow this list of places to experience the true charm of the festive season.

•  Hang Ma street – Hanoi

•  The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, Hanoi

•  Hoi An ancient town – Quang Nam

•  Tuyen Quang city

3. Get your vaccination done

This might be the last thing in your mind before the trip, but it’s extremely important. For the short-term traveler, it's best to get the cover against childhood diseases like Tetanus and Diphtheria, Measles, Mumps and Rubella. Also, get the vaccination cover against water and food borne problems including the Typhoid and Hepatitis A.

4. Packing for Vietnam

Packing can be segregated based on which region you are planning to spend the most days in. But it’s best suggested to travel light, it simplifies a lot of problems. For the southeastern tour, you may pack loose-fitting, lightweight clothing. Make sure you have something for rainy weather, cold, humid, and chilly nights. If you are visiting during the festive season, which is most likely possible, then pack accordingly.

Following these details will be the best way to help you experience the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam. Vietnamese warmly celebrate this time of the year with friends and family, if you want to explore the core of their culture and tradition, visiting Vietnam during this time will be the best decision you can make.

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