East Meet West - Featuring
Harvest Festival in
In Vietnam, Têt-Trung-Thu
(tet-troong-thoo) or the Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the
most popular family holidays. It is held on the 15th day of
the 8th lunar month (September 12, 2000).
Vietnamese families plan their activities
around their children on this special day. In a Vietnamese
folklore, parents were working so hard to prepare for the
harvest that they left the children playing by themselves.
To make up for lost time, parents would use the Mid-Autumn
festival as an opportunity to show their love and appreciation
for their children.
Appropriately, the Mid-Autumn Festival is
also called the Childrens Festival. In the United States,
this tradition continues in many Vietnamese-American communities.
Trung-Thu activities are often centered around children and
education. Parents buy lanterns for their children so that
they can participate in a candlelit lantern procession at
dawn. Lanterns represent brightness while the procession symbolizes
success in school. Vietnamese markets sell a variety of lanterns,
but the most popular childrens lantern is the star lantern.
Other childrens activities include arts and crafts in
which children make face masks and lanterns. Children also
perform traditional Vietnamese dances for adults and participate
in contests for prizes and scholarships. Unicorn dancers are
also very popular in Trung-Thu festivities.
Like the Chinese, Vietnamese parents tell
their children fairy tales and serve mooncakes and other special
treats under the silvery moon. A favorite folklore is about
a carp that wanted to become a dragon. The carp worked and
worked and eventually transformed itself into a dragon. This
is the story behind the mythical symbol, Cá hóa
Rông. Parents use this story to encourage their children
to work hard so that they can become whatever they want to
Theres also a story about how
the Moon Lady ascended to the moon. A man named Chu Coi found
a lucky tree that had special healing powers. Because this
tree was sacred, people were forbidden to urinate at the foot
of this tree. Unfortunately, Chu Cois wife, Chi Hang
forgot the rule and urinated on the tree. On day, while she
was sitting on the trees branch, the tree started to
grow and grow. Eventually, it reached the moon, Since then,
Chi Hang lived on the moon for the rest of her life as a punishment
for desecrating the sacred tree.
Related Links - http://www.vietgate.net/midautumn/about/