As the Mid-Autumn Festival approaches [the 15th day of the eighth Lunar month or September 29], the capital's twinkling streetlights create Instagram-worthy scenes for locals and tourists.
Reviving Autumn tradition in the city
One such scene is the fun-filled Thu Xua Ve Trong Pho (Reliving Autumn Tradition in the City) festival, which has been held at Ngon Garden Restaurant at 70 Nguyen Du Street since September 23.
Hanh Pham, founder of Ngon Garden, said that in the past, children were eager to play with a star-shaped lantern during the Full Moon Festival. Therefore, the arrival of Autumn, the most beautiful season, inspires them to do something special to help people and children today understand the meaning of this festival in the past and present.
|Children enjoy the Mid-Autumn Festival atmosphere at Ngon Garden. Photo: The Hanoi Times
This year, people flock to Ngon Garden to immerse themselves in the glowing light of thousands of traditional lanterns. To have such a large number of lanterns, Hanh had to order them from many craft villages in the northern provinces three months in advance. A few days before the opening, the organizer had to order more from Ho Chi Minh City and fly them in.
Thousands of lanterns of animals of all shapes and sizes, such as the carp, phoenix, unicorn, or rabbit, flanked the road.
To create a certain air of antiquity, the organizer recreated a traditional market corner. The handicrafts and toy figurines are the work of the talented hands of craftsman Doan Van Hau. Especially traditional Hanoi toys nearly a hundred years old are on display. It is an iron boat, filled with oil and able to run on water. In the past, parents would prepare a big pot filled with water. Children would sit around and watch the boat sail in the pot with fascinated and excited eyes.
|Iron ship, the most valuable toy of Hanoi children in the 20th century.
In addition, there are photo booths specially designed for the whole family to travel back in time. Visitors can dress up in the traditional long robe prepared at Ngon Garden and take photos in the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival room.
Shimmering Autumn lights
Thang Long-Hanoi Heritage Conservation Center is holding the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival titled Shimmering Autumn Lights with various engaging activities at Thang Long Imperial Citadel.
|Lanterns displayed at the Thang Long Imperial Citadel. Photo: Lai Tan/The Hanoi Times
Various types of lost lantern models reconstructed for the program are contributed by the valuable research of foreign scholars Henri Oger, Albert Kant and France Museum Quai Branly, cultural researcher Trinh Bach and artisans from the Old Quarter, Thanh Oai and Bao Dap craft villages (Nam Dinh Province).
The program also features booths displaying paper puppets, paper mache masks, folk drums, and to he or sculptured figurines fashioned from colored rice dough - the traditional Mid-Autumn toy for Vietnamese children.
In addition, interactive workshops are also organized to teach children and tourists how to make traditional toys such as Mid-Autumn lanterns, paper mache masks and paper kites, and moon cakes.
Old Town lit up
Two months before the Mid-Autumn Festival, Hang Ma Street was "red" with the bright, shining colors of lanterns, starlights, and countless children's toys and eye-catching decorations.
Hang Ma Street is a favorite spot for festival-goers, lined with shops selling toys and Mid-Autumn Festival decorations such as lanterns and drums.
Until September 29, a festival will be held along Hang Ma Street, the area around Dong Xuan Market, the pedestrian area from Hang Dao to Hang Giay streets, the walking area around Hoan Kiem Lake, and many cultural sites in Hoan Kiem District.
|Hang Ma Street is a favourite place for festival goers. Photo: The Hanoi Times
A traditional market recreating the Full Moon Festival in ancient times will be set up along Hang Ma and Hang Luoc Streets to host cultural and artistic performances, folk games, a lantern procession, and a fruit bowl arrangement contest to celebrate the festival.
Deputy Chairman of Hoan Kiem District People's Committee Nguyen Quoc Hoan said that the Hanoi Old Quarter Mid-Autumn Festival is held annually to preserve and promote the cultural value of the Old Quarter and to develop a community-based cultural space.
Visitors to the opening ceremony will be entertained by an exciting lion dance, puppet shows, and children's songs and dances.
On the occasion, the local authorities presented gifts to disadvantaged children and those with outstanding academic records in the district.
On the occasion of the Mid-Autumn Festival 2023, the Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam Cultural and Scientific Activity Center is organizing a series of experiential activities under the theme of Ly Ngu Vong Nguyet (Carp Watching the Moon) until October 1.
|Children learn to make mooncakes at the Temple of Literature.
The highlight of the event is the "Carp Jumping the Dragon's Gate" competition. According to mythology, the Dragon's Gate is located at the top of a waterfall that falls from a legendary mountain. Many carp swim upstream against the strong current, but few are able or brave enough to make the final leap over the waterfall. A carp that makes the leap is transformed into a mighty dragon. This activity shows the hope that each student can succeed in his or her studies if he or she puts in the effort.
To promote the culture of reading, a book fair will be held at the Literature Lake. Here, visitors can participate in interactive activities to learn about the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival and how to make moon cakes, star-shaped lanterns and to he.
Tang Thu Ha, Director of LongLink Vietnam and head of the organizing committee, said: "We want to help promote educational activities about the capital's heritage and raise awareness about preserving and promoting traditional cultural values."