The Fall Festival or Children’s Festival (Tết Trung Thu)

The Fall Festival is named “Tết Trung Thu” in Vietnamese. It is also known as the Children’s Festival because of the event’s emphasis on children.  Trung-Thu activities are often centered on children and education.  Parents buy lanterns for their children so that they can participate in processions.  Lanterns represent brightness while the procession symbolizes success in school. Children also perform traditional Vietnamese dances.  Lion Dances are one of the most popular dances performed at the Fall Festival with children often times performing for their parents and other adults.

The Fall Festival is a harvest festival as well.  It is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Vietnamese calendar, during a full moon, which is in late September or early October, close to the autumnal equinox.

The Fall Festival is also known by other names, such as:

  • Moon Festival, because of the celebration’s association with the full moon.
  • Mooncake Festival, because of the popular tradition of eating mooncakes on this occasion.
  • Children’s Festival, because of the emphasis on the celebration of children.

The festival celebrates three fundamental concepts which are closely tied to one another:

  • Gathering, such as family and friends coming together, and harvesting crops
  • Thanksgiving, to give thanks for the harvest, or for harmonious unions
  • Praying (asking for blessings and good fortune)

Trung Thu is also a time for people to remember their relatives who have died.  In the Vietnamese culture there is strong recognition of the fact that we, each of us, stands on the shoulders of those who came before.  We would not be here if we had not been cared for and supported by others along the way.  So the Fall Festival is a time to honor and remember family members and ancestors.

Historically, the festival was a time to enjoy the successful harvest.  Today, it is still an occasion for outdoor reunions among friends and relatives.

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