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, the making and sharing of mooncakes, and decorative toys. 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. 


While the nutritional benefits of edible insects are now en vogue among elite gourmets, the idea of eating insects is nothing revolutionary in the leafy, land-locked country of Laos. A plate of well-seasoned deep-fried crickets makes a crispy and surprisingly shrimp-like accompaniment to a bottle of the ever-present Beerlaos. Apart from crickets; caterpillars, beetles and other delectable surprises await those adventurous enough to try out local cuisine when in Laos. 


This photo essay from a statue factory in southern Vietnam shows the complexity of the religious landscape of the country. While most Vietnamese eschew affiliation with any formalized religion, a panoply of beliefs and spiritual practices are widely observed across the Vietnamese community. Though sometimes characterized as a Buddhist nation, in fact, spiritual practice here is remarkably symbiotic, with the vast majority of people, even those formally affiliated with an organized religion, at the same time practicing ancestor veneration and indigenous religion. This means that nearly every temple or pagoda you might visit, not to mention household altars, has its own unique features, with a surprise around every corner.


Myanmar's traditional mini cigar, the cheroot, is near extinction as manufacturers struggle with high taxes, high costs and stiff competition from imported and local cigarettes. “Nowadays, cheroot is found only in two out of a hundred tea shops in the country,” a cheroot manufacturer said. The tobacco used to produce cheroots has increased in price, while wages for the women who manually roll them have also risen. The mini cigars are usually produced with tobacco as well as some spice leaves. Cheroot production has a long history in Myanmar, but producers say that without government support and the application of new technologies, the tradition may fade away entirely. 
  
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