Compensating for the Loss of TimeThe meaning of the Mid-Autumn Festival is rather different to the one celebrated in China, although the Vietnamese also celebrate it by eating mooncakes. In Vietnam the Mid-Autumn Festival is the happiest day for children, during which parents buy their children various types of lanterns, snacks and funny masks.
As for the origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam, it's totally different from the Chinese legend (Chang E Flying to the Moon).
Rice is harvested before the 15th day of the 8th lunar month (mid-autumn) in Vietnam. Each household then offers sacrifices to the God of Earth. While occupied with harvesting parents do not have much time to take care of their children; therefore, they make full use of the festival holiday to play with their children.
Various activities are held to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam. The main activities include worshiping the God of Earth, carrying carp-shaped lanterns and watching a lion dance parade.
Usually, a worshiping platform is set up in the yard during the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, on which mooncakes, fruit, and snacks are laid. Later, family members sit together to eat the food while appreciating the moon.
The platform is not taken down until midnight, when the food has been completely eaten. Most families also set up a special platform for children, so that they can enjoy food at anytime during the evening.
It's also a tradition for the Vietnamese to light lanterns during the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival. A legend states that a carp spirit once killed many people during the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, so that no household dared to go outside during that night.
Later, a wise man thought of an idea: he made a carp-shaped lantern with a stick in its belly, and then advised people to walk at night holding a carp-shape lantern. The carp spirit was terrified by the light from these lanterns, and has not dared to go out to kill anyone during the Mid-Autumn Festival since then.
Nowadays, children hold various kinds of paper lanterns and play in the moonlight, while eating mooncakes during the evening of the Mid-Autumn Festival.
At night, groups of children parade through the streets, going from door to door and asking the owners for their permission to perform the lion dance. If it is agreed then the children will put on a show, which is believed to bring luck and fortune. Afterwards, the owners will give the children 'lucky' money for their gratitude.
These lion dances are fascinating, and huge amounts of children, ranging from little kids to teenagers, participate in this activity. As a result of having so many groups of children marching around, the streets of the cities echo with the sound of drums, as dozens of lions roam about.
In addition, a variety of interesting literary and art activities are held throughout Vietnam during the Mid-Autumn Festival, as well as offering sacrifices to dragons, dragon boat races, and lantern fairs, adding much luster to the festival.