Originating in China and brought to Vietnam over 1,500 years ago, this festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month (not Western calendar). It’s considered the best of all nights to worship the moon in its fullness and more importantly it’s a very special time for children.
In ancient times the Chinese worshiped the sun in spring and the moon in autumn. Traditionally eating moon cakes and participating in dragon processions have been the key ingredients for a joyful festival.
Now parents make it a special time for children, for instance the harvest season is over and they have been very busy, so they want to show their appreciation and love to their child.
Children are given toys and enjoy activities such as singing, dancing, and parading with lanterns shaped as moon and stars. They play traditional games such as skipping, kite flying and wrestling. And the whole family enjoys feasting on moon cakes of course.
If you’re in Hanoi at this time of year take a walk down Hang Ma Street. It’s best to go around 4 or 5 pm to see all the wonderful toys hanging up and many children on motorbikes with their parents or Grandparents excitedly looking for a toy to buy.