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Celebrating Tet Trung Thu: Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam

October 15, 2023
4 Min Read
Written by 
Rows of red lanterns during Mid-Autumn festival in Vietnam

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as "Tet Trung Thu," is one of Vietnam's most important celebrations. This fascinating celebration takes place every year on the 15th of the eighth lunar month. 

It is additionally referred to as the Moon Festival, the Mooncake Festival, and the Children's Festival. Despite its many titles, the event emphasizes tradition, family relationships, and vibrant celebrations!

A lion dance being performed in Vietnam during Mid-Autumn festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival is widely observed in Chinese culture as well as in other Asian countries such as Japan and Korea. Though it is unclear how Vietnam also adopted the festival, there are numerous legends and rituals surrounding the celebration.

The festival is meant to provide parents an opportunity to spend extra time with their kids after the harvest. During this time, families come together and celebrate under the full moon

A temple in Vietnam is packed with visitors during mid-autumn festival.

The Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam is an exciting celebration full of traditions and activities. From the colorful lanterns that light up the night to the mooncakes and lion dances.

A lion dance being performed in Vietnam during Mid-Autumn festival
A lion dance being performed in Vietnam during Mid-Autumn festival

Bright Symbols of Good Fortune

The Mid-Autumn Festival isn’t complete without the lanterns. These lanterns are not only used for decoration but also play a significant role in traditional Vietnamese festivals and celebrations.

Giving children lanterns as toys during the festival is a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation in Vietnam, though it is unclear when it first began. 

A shop sells lanterns during Mid-Autumn festival in Vietnam

The lanterns come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Each design holds a unique meaning, representing different aspects of Vietnamese culture and beliefs. Mainly to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. 

One of the most common Vietnamese lanterns you will see is the star-shaped lantern made with bamboo and colored paper. Others are carp lanterns, round lanterns, and many designs that evolved with Vietnamese creativity. 

These lanterns light up the streets and create a lively atmosphere that shows off Vietnam's rich culture and traditions.

A shop sells lanterns during Mid-Autumn festival in Vietnam
A shop sells lanterns during Mid-Autumn festival in Vietnam

Fighting Evil Spirits with Dance

The mid-autumn festival would not be complete without the lion dances, also known as "Múa Lân". Accompanied by the rhythmic beat of drums and cymbals, the lion dances to create an exciting and lively atmosphere during the festival.

A lion dance being performed in Vietnam during Mid-Autumn festival

From the acrobatic movements and vibrant colors of the lion costumes, the dances are not only a highly cherished tradition but also believed to drive away evil spirits. 

A lion dance being performed in Vietnam during Mid-Autumn festival

A distinct feature of the Vietnamese lion dance is the mask of Ong Dia, which leads the dance and brings blessings and fortune to everyone. 

Ong Dia, or the Earth God, is regarded with respect in Asian cultures. He is worshiped in Vietnamese houses along with Thanh Thai, the God of Wealth, in hopes of bringing wealth and good fortune to the family.

Delicious Traditions

Mooncakes, a delicious tradition, are a big part of the celebration. Mooncakes are available in an array of sizes, shapes, and flavors. The two most common types are “Banh Deo” which are soft and sweet with a sticky texture and “Banh Nuong” which are brown and salty with a thicker crust.

A piece is cut off from a mooncake

The various fillings are what distinguish each mooncake. There are classic ingredients such as lotus seeds and ground beans, as well as more creative ones like chocolates and fruits. The yellow egg yolk in the center of most traditional mooncakes represents the full moon.

No matter your preference, enjoying a mooncake during the mid-autumn festival is a fun and mysterious delight. Giving mooncakes to friends and family is a heartwarming tradition that symbolizes good luck and a prosperous year ahead!

A woman buys mooncakes in Vietnam

For those wishing to join the festivities, head to Lương Nhữ Học Street in District 5. The area is well known for its vendors selling colorful lanterns and children's toys that overflow into the street. 

It gets very crowded on the day of the festival itself, with local food stalls offering a variety of delicious snacks and treats for everyone to enjoy.

A few weeks before the festival, the city is filled with mooncake stalls selling on every corner. The closer the event gets, the better deals you can get on these mooncake stalls.

Children greet a costume during a Lion Dance in Vietnam

The Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam is more than just a tradition. Through the celebration of family and community, it is a journey that connects the past, present, and future.

With the colorful lanterns, sweet and savory mooncakes, and lion dances that chase the bad luck away, celebrating the mid-autumn festival reveals how beautiful it is to keep traditions alive. 

The mid-autumn festival is Vietnam's testimony that goes back generations and brings joy and practice to our world.


A lover of nature and adventure whose main interests revolve around oceans and mountains.

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