Amplify Blog - Mid-Autumn Festival
The below is a guest blog by Malika, a QFCC Youth Advocate.
Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! Also known as the Moon Festival or “Tết Trung Thu” in my native language (Vietnamese) this amazing event takes place on the 15th day of the eight month of the Chinese lunar calendar. This year, it was on the 10th of September. Mid-Autumn Festival originates from China, where the rice and fruit harvest are celebrated, and ceremonies are held to show appreciation for the harvest. This resonates strongly with Vietnamese people as well since many live in rural areas and work as farmers. Traditions such as these are joyous occasions to spend with loved ones after hard work has been accomplished, with family reunions being common.
I have very fond memories of Tết Trung Thu, especially during my time growing up in Vietnam. You can sense festivities weeks before the event even takes place. I remember seeing groups of lion dancers practicing on the streets of my hometown, mooncake stalls getting set up, and colourful lanterns lining the shops at my local outdoor market. It was magnificent. Just like other families, we had some traditions when it came to the festival. As a child, my mum made a star-like lantern wrapped in red cellophane every Mid-Autumn Festival. So, when it came time for me to celebrate Trung Thu, mum made sure I had a lantern just like hers. Another tradition that is shared widely across Asia are mooncakes! These are round and square shaped cakes that are moulded with elaborate flower details and geometric patterns. My favourite filling has always been taro with two salted eggs in the middle – it’s absolutely delicious. In Vietnam, each family would place a few mooncakes on their ancestral alter and offer up the food to our ancestors before eating it ourselves (this is common for most festivals in Vietnam).
On the night of the full moon, Vietnamese children bearing lanterns will form a procession and walk around their neighbourhoods singing traditional Mid-Autumn Festival songs. They are often accompanied by lion dancers and drummers. Children’s’ anticipation for the festival may be credited to the well-known tale about a man named Cuội, which has been passed down for many generations. I distinctly remember my mum passing this tale down to me as a bedtime story. In short, Cuội was a man who clung onto a magical banyan tree as it floated up to the moon. They say that if you look closely at the full moon during Mid-Autumn Festival, you can see his shadow sitting under the tree. Traditionally, children held lantern parades in the streets to help light the way to earth for Cuội from the moon. It’s quite a sweet story. I believe Mid-Autumn Festival should be celebrated by anyone with an appreciation for the traditions of different cultures. Not only do you get delicious mooncakes, you’re also sharing a beloved tradition with your community, friends, and family.