Mid-Autumn festival is a major festival of Vietnam held on the full moon day of lunar August. Children in Vietnam just love this festival a lot because they can eat a lot of moon cakes and get given gifts. The festival is also a time for family to gather, eat mooncake and enjoy the full moon.
I still remember when I was a kid, on the Mid-Autumn days, I used to have a mask on and hold a lanterns, form a long line with other kids and parade noisily through all the streets that we can. Later on, we gather to watch lion dance and set out on Full Moon party. When I grew up a little more and had a bike, my younger sister and I usually chased the lion dance troops.
Now I am adult and those games does not interest me as much, which happens all the times. I often sit back, drink something and watch children parade through the streets. However, there is just one thing that I always does every Mid-Autumn festival: go back home and enjoy Full Moon with my family.
That was more back in the time when I was little and things was a little more traditional. Now, especially in a big city like Hanoi, kids don’t get that much of fun from the festival. And things evolve to become a time for adults kind of a way. But it doesn’t mean it completely disappear, it just changes to meet the need of society. The festival still have its way of lingering around nicely in the capital.
So when the day is about to come in Mid-Autumn, I often visit Hang Ma street, a busy colorful street that sell lanterns, masks and toys, queue for hours to buy few mooncakes at traditional store on Thuy Khue street (Tay Ho district), stroll around the Old Quater and watch the red lanterns hung on all streets.
On the night of Full Moon, Hanoians would go to Hoan Kiem lake and enjoy the festive atmosphere. However, I prefer just sitting back somewhere to drink something and watch the streets.
If you’re visiting Vietnam during this time, which often falls back about a month from the normal calendar, you will have a chance to immerse in the jubilant festival and the charming streets with thousands of red lanterns. The best way now to enjoy the festive atmospheres are in big cities: Hanoi capital, Da Nang, Sai Gon,… and the most beautiful place now is Hoi An ancient town.
Hoi An has a very different Mid-Autumn, busy but not noisy. Everyone turns off the power, the vehicles are banned. The streets are charming with thousands of lanterns, Moon is brighter because no electric light is on, space is wider and quieter. Hoi An is really ideal destination in the Mid-Autumn festival.
If you’re planning to visit Vietnam this year, don’t forget about this lovely traditional Mid-Autumn festival.