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Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is Multicultural Asian Celebration

In China, Vietnam and throughout many Asian countries, people celebrate the Harvest moon on the 15th day of the eight month of the lunar calendar. In Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, it is sometimes called the Lantern Festival. This holiday is celebrated throughout Asia, and in Vietnam is called Tet Trung Thu (tet-troong-thoo). 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. In China it is called, Zhong Qiu Jie and for both countries is a day of family reunions, much like a Western Thanksgiving. When the Mid-Autumn festival approaches the markets fill with thousands of moon cakes to be purchased for celebrations.
 
This year the festival falls on the 14th of September Asian tradition is that on this day the moon is at its fullest, brightest and roundest for the year and signals a time of completeness and abundance.  Everyone comes out of their home to enjoy its beauty and children are delighted to stay up past midnight, parading lanterns into the wee hours as families celebrate in the streets. 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, as it is a special time to focus on children and allow them to have fun. 

In both China and Vietnam, festivities not only include parading in the streets with beautifully lit lanterns, and the lion dance.  There is also singing and dancing traditional 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 (Vietnamese - Bahn Trung Thu).  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 ancient traditions.   

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

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