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Tet Trung Thu ( tet-troong-thoo) - Mid-Autumn Festival

by Linh Nguyen

Many adoptive families with children from China know about and celebrate the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.  But did you know its not just a Chinese holiday?  They celebrate it in Vietnam too!  The Mid-Autumn festival is quickly approaching and the markets are filling with thousands of moon cakes to be purchased for celebrations.  This year the festival falls on the 14th of September.  Every year, the date changes on our Western calendar because this festival is celebrated according to the Lunar year.  This is the second most popular holiday celebrated by the Vietnamese next to Tet (Vietnamese New Year) and has been a tradition for the past fifteen thousand years. 

This festival is celebrated when the moon is at its fullest and brightest for the year.  Everyone comes out of their home to enjoy its beauty.  There are various folklores associated with this festival both in China and in Vietnam.  While both countries celebrate the end of the harvest with their families, in recent history in Vietnam it became known as the Children’s festival. In the autumn, working diligently on the harvest, the children were often neglected.  In order to show how much they loved their children, they took the opportunity of the Mid-Autumn festival to focus on their children giving them time for fun.  The festivities include parading in the streets with beautifully lit lanterns, and the lion dance, singing and dancing traditional Vietnamese folk songs and dances, along with arts and crafts.  Parents either purchase a lantern from the market or help their kids make their own.  There are various lanterns in vibrant colors and beautiful shapes including stars, fish, butterfly and more being sold in almost every market! Some children lead the parade in the streets with loud instruments along with their lit lanterns. 

The most prominent food for this festival is the moon cake (Bahn Trung Thu).  The moon cake symbolizes the moon itself and according to the Vietnamese, the full moon signifies completeness.  The moon cakes are made in various sizes, shapes, flavors, and prices and are packaged in beautifully made boxes or tins. This type of sweet dessert may have many types of flavors including lotus seed, salted egg, green bean, taro, and red bean flavors.  These are usually brought to their family’s or friends’ homes to be exchanged on the days preceding the festival.

This festival is predominately focused on spending time with loved ones and teachings young ones about the Vietnamese folklore. 

Looking for ways that you can celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival with your family and friends?  Try making paper lanterns, then parade around your yard or your neighborhood. For simple directions click on the following link:  http://kevdesign.com/midautumnfestival/lanternrelated.htm.  For the more adventurous, try making your own mooncakes.  The following is a link to recipe may require a bit of time, but it is sure to make some precious memories for you and your children! http://kevdesign.com/midautumnfestival/recipes.htm