Considered the second most important festival of the year (after Lunar New Year), the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam (Tết Trung Thu) is often called the Children’s Festival. The festival, also known as the Moon Festival, traditionally revolved around moon worship and prayers for fertility – both for the harvest and for children, but today the celebration in Vietnam is a popular and colourful children’s festival. Festivities usually include lion dance performances, colourfully decorated lanterns, and the making and sharing of mooncakes and decorative toys.

Lion dances are performed as part of scheduled entertainment as well as on a more extemporaneous basis, by both professional groups and informal children’s groups. High-energy, acrobatic lion dance performers, usually accompanied by the beating of traditional drums, are always ready to engage with the audience, to the delight of young fans. 

Lanterns are a popular way of celebrating the festival. The traditional round bamboo-and-red-silk lanterns are still popular, but perhaps most emblematic of this festival is the colourful five-pointed star lanterns, made of paper or plastic. However, lanterns of all shapes and sizes are seen, festive and flashing with lights, including many in the forms of popular cartoon characters.  

In Vietnam, one traditional toy popularly associated with Mid-Autumn Festival is tò he. These are small figurines, typically made on the spot by practiced artisans using glutinous rice flour and natural dyes, fashioned to represent animals or mythical folk characters and usually placed on the end of a stick. 

Mooncakes are probably the most globally recognizable feature of Mid-Autumn Festival. Round pastries usually about 10cm across and 2-3cm thick, mooncakes have a pastry shell and traditionally are filled with mung bean or lotus seed paste. Often, a salted egg yolk is placed in the centre which visually represents the full moon and balances the sweetness of the filling. Available today with a dizzying variety of fillings of fruits, nuts and even dried meats, the traditional imprint of a stylized Chinese character pattern on the top of the mooncake is often accompanied or replaced by other decorative patterns or a bakery brand symbol.  

While Mid-Autumn Festival traditions have changed significantly over recent years, the festival remains firmly children-centred and is a great opportunity for visitors to Vietnam to enjoy colourful festivities and boisterous family-friendly entertainment. 
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