For Vietnamese people, the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is a significant traditional holiday, second only to the Lunar New Year. It is a time-honoured festival celebrated throughout Vietnam. However, the Mid-Autumn Festival in the three regions of North, Central, and South Vietnam has distinct characteristics that contribute to the vibrant cultural diversity of the Vietnamese people.
In the North, the changes in climate are most noticeable this time. As the season transitions to autumn, the sky appears bluer, clearer, and the sun is no longer scorching but gentle. The scenery becomes more golden, and the breeze gets cooler and refreshing. The Northern Mid-Autumn Festival showcases elegance and sophistication, highlighting the abundant autumn harvest and the delightful flavors of the North, including fragrant green rice flakes and ripe red persimmons. For children, there is excitement in anticipation, and for adults, it is a time to sit down, relax, and enjoy the beauty of the moon in the pleasant cool weather. In Hanoi, the Mid-Autumn Festival would be incomplete without taking a stroll along Hang Ma Street, admiring the colorful and eye-catching decorative items on display.
In the Central region, the Mid-Autumn Festival leans more towards the “festive” aspect rather than the “ceremonial” one. Lanterns are an essential part of the festival night. The ancient town of Hoi An comes alive with the vibrant glow of lanterns. The historically significant city of Hue also becomes lively with moon-welcoming feasts. There are many lively activities that attract a large number of visitors, such as lion dances, releasing floating lanterns on the Perfume River and the Hoai River, lantern festivals, and more.
In Ho Chi Minh City, every Mid-Autumn Festival, Luong Nhu Hoc Street is crowded with shimmering lanterns. Numerous stalls run by ethnic Chinese vendors (and later also Vietnamese) showcase a wide variety of lanterns, from traditional to modern designs. Every lunar August, wandering along the long streets, admiring colourful glass lanterns, many people cannot help but nostalgically recall their childhood memories while seeing the cute children pleading to buy a lantern shaped like a star or a moon.
Despite the regional variations, the Mid-Autumn Festival has long become one of the most meaningful occasions for Vietnamese people. With its distinct climate, geographical features, and seasonal produce, the Mid-Autumn feasts in the three regions offer intriguing experiences for travellers. If given the opportunity, enjoy the warm atmosphere of the Mid-Autumn Festival and appreciate the beauty of Vietnam during these days.