As most of you may know, Mid-Autumn Affair comes hand in hand with the Full-moon Festival, which is celebrated widely across East Asian countries which includes China, Vietnam, Korea, Singapore, Indonesia or Malaysia. However, in contrast to those nations where the Chinese community takes over a large part of the population, Full-moon Feast in Vietnam bears a strong variation and distinctive significance. Read further to see why visiting Vietnam in lunar August is the best time for Vietnam family holidays.
Historical origin – China vs. Vietnam
The symbol of the Moon, in the Vietnamese mindset, is in accordance with harvests, crops, and daily activities. Other than that, the Moon represents prosperity and has been a part of long-existing wet-rice civilization. Since the Lý Dynasty reign in the XI century, Full-moon Festival has been referred to as a children-oriented event. Meanwhile, Chinese people consider the image of the Moon as a symbol for women and fertility in which the Moon delivers female nature and becomes fullest on the Full moon date of the Lunar calendar.
The day of full moon holds a meaning of family reunion, where red lanterns bring a perspective of luck and peace in Chinese communities worldwide. In Vietnam, children hang out holding lanterns in various shapes and vivid colors, while drumbeats and folklore singing are essential joys.
When the Moon becomes fullest
How Is Mid-Autumn held in three regions of Vietnam?
Let’s pick Hanoi as a representative for Northern Vietnam. During this time, the whole capital is jazzed up with the gaudy lights of lanterns whose common shapes can be golden fish, stars, masks, a Moon, and so on. Sometimes, lively drumbeats are brought to life from some hidden corners of the city. Hàng Mã Street is where you can witness this event in its most spectacular scene, where full of toys and Full-moon items are put for sales. One thing for sure, no matter how diverse and modernized the feast can be in the upcoming time, Mooncakes and a set of hot tea for the old remain indispensable. If you are on a Vietnam family holiday in Hanoi this Lunar August, do not forget to reach Hàng Mã Street for the best insight.
On the contrary to Hanoi’s festival, the atmospheric Central Vietnam gives off a mixed feeling and image of this cultural event. Hoian Old Quarter would be my ideal recommendation for this Central land of the country. During these days, the Hoài River will be lit up in the illumination of colorful lanterns. Lanterns are floated into the sky and down the river in commemoration of the Moon. Central Vietnam is the land that witnessed the fusion of Champa culture along with Chinese and Japanese value. Hence, Hoian that played its role as an essential commercial port during the XVII and XVIII centuries would be the finest destination to enjoy Mid-Autumn Affair.
Following up with Saigon, or Southern Vietnam, the Full-moon date is an iconic event for the Chinese community in Cho Lon (also known as Saigon’s Chinatown), which makes up a huge part of District 5, 6, 10, and 11 of Ho Chi Minh City. If Hàng Mã Street brings the reputation to Hanoi, then the route of Trần Hưng Đạo – Lương Nhữ Học – Phú Đinh – Nguyễn Trãi and Nguyễn Án Streets enlivens Chinatown at night. This is such a familiar name for kids following each of their parents’ steps for lanterns purchase and toys. As a newborn land compared to the rest of the country, Saigon was witnessing a great fusion of the very first Vietnamese and Chinese dwellers dating back 300 years ago. Hence, the Full-moon Festival in Saigon in particular and Southern Vietnam in general bears a strong connection between the two communities.
Even though each of these specific localities holds in themselves an authentic vibe and uniqueness, the whole nation, in general, follows some common rules for this event. Mooncakes are surely the must-have delicacies.
Mooncakes by a set of hot tea
In addition, Pía is the Chines Teochew edition for Mooncake, which is also widely distributed across Vietnam along with the original Mooncakes. In Northern areas, an icon Five-fruit tray is well prepared. Other than that, sweetened pudding is also available as an offer for worshipping.
What other Vietnam family holiday can you think of? Full-moon Festival is definitely one of them. With this helpful guide, you are not only able to learn more about a significant culture of a Southeast Asian country like Vietnam but also embrace a chance to welcome Lunar August like a true local. Are you interested in catching the best moments of Mid-Autumn Affair? If so, do not hesitate to contact your nearest local tour operator right away.