Sep 20, 2018
Although all four seasons in Vietnam can’t be observed clearly, whenever Autumn is mentioned, I always think about a beautiful but rather sad landscape. The Season brings cooler air, light winds with leaves now turning yellow on the trees and pretty, dreamy eyed girls wearing thin coats. In short, it seems to me that this is a perfect time to have a festival such as the Mid-Autumn Festival. Therefore, to give you an overview about it I asked myself, a non-expert, what sort of questions visitors to Vietnam might ask if visiting at this time of year. Please see below some questions and answers.
1. When does the Mid-Autumn Festival take place?
Its very name tells you when the festival happens. Of course with such a name like that, how can it be held in Spring or Winter!? Mid-Autumn Festival surely happens in the middle of the autumn! It is held on 15th August but in the lunar month (which means it is held often in late September or early October).
2. What color is the Mid-Autumn Festival?
Yellow. Definitely, yellow.
For instance anyone launching an advertisement campaign relating to Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam might fail if the main color used are anything but yellow.
So, why yellow?
You know “Golden Autumn” – a masterpiece painted by Levitan, right?
In addition, the moon plays a key role in this event, and “look-at-the-moon” Festival is another name for it. Even the special yellowy cake which is only produced and consumed during this time of year is called Moon Cake. And the moon is also yellow.
The Moon Cake (Credit to dvpmarket)
3. Which shape do we think about when talking about the Mid-Autumn Festival?
For me, it’s always a circle.
The moon you see on the sky during the festival period is always a full moon, and the Moon Cake also has a circular shape.
The circle represents fullness, happiness, attachment, eternity and it is the very meaning of the Mid-Autumn Festival. This is an occasion for the members of the family to gather and celebrate.
This time of year always reminds me of when my extended family used to sit on the veranda looking at the moon, eating Moon Cake and sipping tea. The elderly relatives talked to each other whilst watching the children running around and playing with their festival lanterns. What a cozy atmosphere!
4. Which sounds does the Mid-Autumn Festival have?
It may be the sound of drums beating, people shouting and clapping – all come from those witnessing or being part of the traditional lion dance. If you are in Vietnam at this festival time, don’t miss the opportunity to see it. The members of lion dance teams will perform various clever and even dangerous feats of acrobatics. I clearly remember one time when the Lion jumped up high to pull the “reward” which the owner of a business had hung on the ceiling, my heart seemed to stop beating for a moment. After the Lion landed safely, everyone burst out clapping with joy and relief. They shouted and applauded loudly, the business owner also smiled contentedly as the Lion’s success in claiming the reward would bring prosperity and happiness for him and his business.
Lion dance (Credit to Zing.vn)
To have produced excellent Lion Dance performances like that, the teams will have practiced hard continuously over a long period of time. This kind of activity is the most popular thing which everyone, especially children, looks forward to enjoying during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
The last thing I would mention is that on the exact Mid-Autumn Festival day, please look at the moon and try to spot the outline figure of a banian-tree with a person sitting under it. This image relates to a famous fairy tale relevant to this occasion and you can ask any Vietnamese child to tell you the story behind it :).
Image Featured: Du Lich Hai Van xanh
Proofreader: Mr. Alex Curtis, Civil Servant UK