Full Moon Festival In Saigon In The Past

Besides the Tet (Vietnamese New Year), the Full Moon Festival (or Mid-Autumn Festival) is the second biggest festival in our country. Mid-Autumn is the day when the moon is at its brightest in a year. In that spirit, people worship the Moon Genie, promote culture and familial love. At the festival, Vietnamese people enjoy mooncakes, hang around with lanterns and play traditional games.

We trace back to Full Moon Festival in Saigon in the past and found some old photos that remind us about our lovely Saigon.

choosing lantern and mooncakesA child and his mother were choosing lantern and mooncakes

When did Vietnamese people start celebrating Full Moon Festival? Who brought this festival into Vietnam? The answer isn’t clear but everybody knows that the festival has appeared a long time ago. It has experienced many ups and downs throughout the years.


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Children in the past were attracted by Mid-Autumn Festival and they were always looking for this time of year. At the beginning of eighth month on lunar calendar, baker used wooden molds to make flower shapes for mooncakes. They created funny sounds when they pounded the cake in the molds on a table. Stores in markets had been started decorating and arranging mooncakes, lanterns and other things to sell at the festival.

A mooncake store in the past.A mooncake store in the past

The original mooncake was very simple with lotus seeds paste and one salted egg yolk. This delicious cake was served with lotus tea.

Lanterns for sale were hung in front of a store in a market
Lanterns for sale were hung in front of a store in a market

Beautiful lanterns in many shapes like catfish, star, butterfly, cock attracted most children. They were made from bamboo and translucent plastic sheets or decorated paper. Some were made from wood. Colorful dough animals with poultry feathers on them are also a special part of Full Moon Festival in Vietnam.

Lanterns in many shapes attracted children at any ageLanterns in many shapes attracted children at any age

Catfish-shaped lanterns, butterfly-shaped lanterns and paper lanternsCatfish-shaped lanterns, butterfly-shaped lanterns and paper lanterns

Children were playing with crab-shaped lantern
Children were playing with crab-shaped lantern

At night, a candle would be lighten inside the lantern so that it became twinkle and twinkle

Other toys were sold in the storeOther toys were sold in the store

On 14th night of full moon festival children loved to stay on the street with paper lion head. They gathered into group to perform lion dance. The drums follows the moves of the lion. The performers are accompanied by a funny and smiling big belly person with a fan on his hand. The group were followed by many children with their lanterns. All were excited to dance and sing full moon songs together.

Lion dance team
Lion dance team
A small lion team
A small lion team

It was also time for all members of family to sit around the tray of foods. They enjoyed the meals in the best weather of the year: quiet wind and clear moon.

family gather at full moon festivalFull Moon Festival is also known as Reunion Festival. All members of a multi-generational family gathered to celebrate the Reunion Festival.
14There were various fruits on tray of foods at Mid-Autumn Festival in the past

For many years, the festival has been always in the heart of every Vietnamese person and reached out to foreigners working or traveling in the country. Not only locals, but also foreign visitors are warmly welcomed to join this special festival. If you have chance to travel to Saigon at this festival, don’t miss it.

Scooter Saigon Tour is pleased to take you around Saigon to enjoy the wonderful Full Moon Festival. Browse our Saigon motorbike tour here!

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