mid autumn festival

Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam 2023 | Your Essential Guide

In the heart of Vietnam, amidst the gentle breeze and the shimmering glow of lanterns, lies a cherished cultural celebration that captures the essence of unity, tradition, and the boundless beauty of the autumn season. The Mid-Autumn Festival, known locally as “Tet Trung Thu,” is a time-honored tradition that beckons locals and visitors alike to partake in its enchanting festivities.

In this article, we won’t be discussing travel services or promotions; instead, our focus is to immerse you in the essence of this festival. We’ll delve into the top 10 must-experience traditions, offering insights into the lantern processions, mooncake delights, vibrant dances, and more. Join us as we uncover the captivating facets of the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam.

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Why Vietnamese People Celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival?

The Mid-Autumn Festival, known as “Tet Trung Thu” in Vietnam, holds a special place in the hearts of its people. While this celebration is observed across Eastern Asian countries, especially in Chinese culture, the Vietnamese interpretation of the festival bears unique cultural significance. Unlike its counterparts where family gathering takes center stage, in Vietnam, this occasion is primarily dedicated to children. To understand the essence of this tradition, one must delve into the historical roots of the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam.

The important festival unfolds during the beginning of the 8th lunar month, a time that coincides with the crucial rice harvest season in Vietnam. This period sees parents toiling tirelessly in the fields, leaving them with little time to spend with their children. The full moon that graces the skies during this month offers a cherished opportunity for families to come together, make up for lost time, and revel in the joy of playful moments.

Beyond its role in fostering family bonds, the Full Moon Festival also carries deep agricultural significance, serving as a time for making offerings to the deities to express gratitude for a bountiful harvest. Thus, the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam not only celebrates the harvest but also showcases the enduring importance of family and community ties in Vietnamese culture.

mid autumn festival
Mid-Autumn Festival toy market in Hanoi crowded on evenings // Photo by Vietnamnet

When is Mid-Autumn Festival 2023?

In 2023, the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam falls on September 29th (15th of the 8th lunar month in the Chinese lunar calendar). This festival date carries cultural significance as families gather under the full moon’s glow to celebrate unity and tradition. Remember to mark your calendar for September 29th and prepare to be enchanted by the magic of Tet Trung Thu.

Where is Mid-Autumn Festival celebrated in Vietnam?

The Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam is a nation-wide celebration, eagerly observed in cities, towns, and rural communities across the country. From the bustling streets of Hanoi to the tranquil countryside villages of the Mekong Delta, this moon festival bridges urban and rural divides, uniting people of all backgrounds in shared merriment.

In major cities like Hanoi, Hoi An, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City, you can expect to celebrate Mid Autumn Festival with grand lantern processions, many mid-autumn festival decorations, spectacular fireworks displays, and lively street performances. While in rural areas, many celebration events take on a more intimate and community-centered charm, often featuring traditional games and family gatherings under the moonlit sky in these Mid-Autumn festival dates.

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What are the Signatures of the Mid-Autumn Festival?

Within the enchanting tapestry of the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam, three distinct signatures stand out as emblematic of the celebration’s essence: the cherished gifts for children, the delectable mooncakes, and the heartwarming family reunions.

Gifts for Children – Brightening Young Hearts

At the heart of the Mid-Autumn Festival lies the radiant smiles of children as they eagerly anticipate the special gifts bestowed upon them. It’s a time when parents, grandparents, and relatives come together to present colorful lanterns and toys, each a testament to the love and affection for the youngest members of the family.

These gifts symbolize blessings for a bright future and are often intricately crafted to capture the imagination of little ones. The joyous expressions on children’s faces as they receive these tokens of love paint a picture of pure delight, making the act of gift-giving an endearing signature of the children’s festival.

Mid-Autumn Festival Preparations
Vietnamese children shop for toys at a street in Hanoi, Vietnam 23 September 2015. // Photo by EPA/LUONG THAI LINH

Eating Mooncakes – Culinary Delights and Symbolism

No Mid-Autumn Festival would be complete without the delightful presence of mooncakes. These delectable treats, both a culinary masterpiece and a cultural symbol, take center stage during the mooncake festival. Mooncakes come in various flavors and shapes, but they all share a common round form, symbolizing unity and completeness. Whether you savor the traditional “banh nuong,” a baked mooncake filled with an array of ingredients, or the soft and sweet “banh deo,” made with sticky rice, the experience is a culinary journey through Vietnamese traditions and flavors.

moon cake
No Mid-Autumn Festival would be complete without the delightful presence of mooncakes.

Family Reunion – Bonds that Illuminate the Night

Above all, the Mid-Autumn Festival is a time for family reunion. It’s a moment when families set aside their daily routines and gather under the luminous moonlight to celebrate togetherness. The act of coming together, paying respects to ancestors, and sharing mooncakes and other delectable dishes is a poignant reminder of the importance of familial bonds. It’s a time for stories, laughter, and the creation of cherished memories that will last a lifetime. The moon festival’s enduring signature is the warmth of family, a light that shines brighter than any lantern or moon.

Top 5 Things to do in Mid-Autumn Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam is a time of enchantment and cultural richness. Amidst the myriad of traditions, five standout experiences promise to make your moon festival celebration truly memorable!

Craft Eye-Catching Lanterns: An Integral Part of the Celebration

The Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam isn’t confined to a single night of revelry; it’s a season of festivities that kick off with a cherished tradition – lantern-making. The ambiance leading up to the main event is positively electric, thanks in large part to the vibrant lanterns that adorn the streets. While you can readily find colorful pre-made lanterns, there’s something special about handcrafting your own.

Traditionally, these Mid-Autumn Festival lanterns take on a star shape and are lovingly constructed from bamboo sticks and colorful paper. A candle nestled inside provides the warm glow, although these days, LED lights have gained popularity for their brighter luminescence. What’s truly fascinating is the modern twist that this tradition has taken – lanterns crafted from soft-drink bottles, milk cartons, and other unique materials. It’s a chance for everyone, locals and visitors alike, to unleash their creative flair as they prepare for the enchanting lantern parade under the full moon.

mid autumn festival
This is a season of festivities that kick off with a cherished tradition – lantern-making.

Pay Homage to the God of Earth and Ancestors

The Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam isn’t solely about merriment; it’s also a time for reverence. Local communities come together to pay respects to the God of Earth, Moon Goddess and their ancestors. This solemn occasion involves making offerings that typically include mooncakes, fruits, various delicacies, and symbolic joss paper. As the fragrant incense burns, families unite under the full moon gazing to partake in the shared offerings.

This tradition serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of family and heritage. It’s a moment of reflection, a way to express gratitude for the past, and an opportunity to celebrate the present with loved ones. As a visitor, witnessing this heartfelt ritual offers a glimpse into Vietnam’s profound cultural heritage and the values that the Mid-Autumn Festival embodies. It’s a chance to connect on a deeper level with the local community and to appreciate the spiritual dimension of this enchanting moon festival.

Savor the Unique Flavors of Mooncakes

Indulging in mooncakes is an absolute must during the Mid-Autumn Festival. These treats come in various flavors and styles, making them a delightful part of the celebration. You’ll encounter two main types: “banh nuong” and “banh deo.” “Banh nuong” boasts a crispy, golden crust filled with a rich mixture of ingredients like lotus seed paste, sausage, and sometimes even salted egg yolks. On the other hand, “banh deo” features a chewy, glutinous rice outer layer filled with sweet fillings like mung beans and sesame.

While traditional mooncakes remain popular, modern twists abound, with flavors ranging from chocolate and green tea to durian and even ice cream mooncakes. The round shape of mooncakes symbolizes unity and completeness, making them a fitting treat for celebrating with loved ones. Exploring the diverse world of mooncakes is a tasty adventure that you won’t want to miss in this moon festival.

moon cake
Indulging in mooncakes is an absolute must during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Join the Luminous Lantern Parade Under the Moonlight

A highlight of the Mid-Autumn Festival is the enchanting Lantern Parade that takes place on the 15th night of the lunar month. As the moon rises, the streets come alive with a kaleidoscope of lanterns, carried by people of all ages. The air is filled with the sweet melodies of traditional Mid-Autumn Festival songs. This mesmerizing parade is particularly captivating in major cities like Hanoi, Hoi An, Tuyen Quang, and Ho Chi Minh City.

Participating in the Lantern Parade is a magical experience. As you stroll beneath the moonlit sky, holding your lantern and singing along with the crowd, you’ll feel the infectious joy and unity that the moon festival brings. It’s a cultural immersion that connects you with the local community, allowing you to share in the spirit of celebration under the full moon gentle glow.

Witness the Thrill of the Lion Dance

The Lion Dance, known as “mua lan,” is an exhilarating spectacle that’s synonymous with the Mid-Autumn Festival. Dancers don vibrant lion costumes and perform an energetic and acrobatic dance to the rhythmic beat of drums. While some troupes perform for fun, others undergo intensive training to deliver a mesmerizing and awe-inspiring show.

Watching the Lion Dance, or fire dragon dance is a sensory delight. The vivid colors, intricate movements, and thunderous drums create an electrifying atmosphere that’s bound to leave you in awe. It’s not just a performance but a cultural expression of joy and vitality. As you watch Lion dances, you’ll become a part of the festival’s energy, celebrating with locals and sharing in the excitement of the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam.

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Lion Dance


In the gentle glow of lanterns, the heavenly taste of mooncakes, and the echoes of joyous songs and dances under the moonlit sky, the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam paints a vivid picture of tradition, unity, and celebration. As we bid farewell to this enchanting festival, we are reminded that its magic lies not only in its colorful customs but in the shared moments of togetherness and reverence. It’s a time when generations connect, when the past and present harmonize, and when the vibrant spirit of Vietnam shines its brightest.

As we take these memories with us, let’s remember that the Mid-Autumn Festival not only illuminates the skies but also our hearts, lighting the way for a brighter, more connected future. So, as the lanterns float away and the moon wanes, let us carry the spirit of this celebration with us, sharing the warmth and unity it represents in our own corners of the world. The Mid-Autumn Festival may end, but its enduring message of family, tradition, and togetherness lives on, waiting to be rekindled year after year.

Plan your hassle-free trip to Vietnam with e-Visa!

Let our extensive 10+ years of experience in visa services be your guiding light as you book with us, guaranteeing a smooth and worry-free trip to Vietnam!


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