Festivals and Celebrations

The Mid-Autumn Festival then and now in Vietnam modern history

Vietnam has changed a lot over the last century. This leads to the changes in a number of traditional customs, including the Mid-Autumn Festival. The following are some brief comparisons between the festival then and now for cultural buffs who are fascinated by Vietnam modern history.

1.    The meaning of the festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival has existed for hundreds of years. It is different in each region in Vietnam. Nevertheless, its meaning before 1945 and at the moment has shown various changes. The most prominent one is that the festival is not fervently anticipated by children as it used to be.

Back in the 1940s, Vietnam was still an under-developed country. The people’ lives were difficult due to food deprivation and the lack of necessities. Therefore, kids always looked forward to the Mid-Autumn Festival. It was regarded as their own celebration and one of the few festivals for them in a year.

At the present time, everyone’s life has been improved by a lot. In fact, some people can provide their children with a privileged life. Perhaps, this is why the celebration has become just another occasion for kids to go out and have fun. The Mid-Autumn Festival today is not that special anymore.

2.    Toys and gifts


Lanterns by beer can (Source: Google)

The toys and gifts in Vietnam modern history are obviously distinctive from those in the old times. The toys of children in the 1940s could be made from any materials. Most of them were pieces of bamboo and papers. Some people who were more creative even make lanterns from beer cans or chopsticks.

The good thing about this was that parents and kids could work on the same task and build toys together. The bond between family members became more tightened. Nowadays, children are still attracted to the toys and gifts in the Mid-Autumn Festival.

However, they would prefer electric ones due to their convenience and abundance. You can easily find toys with Spiderman, Batman, or Princess Elsa shapes that kids love in any store. Despite being more expensive, they look colorful, run by batteries, and last longer than the traditional ones.

3.    Mooncakes


Mooncakes (Source: Google)

If you want to discover the differences between the Mid-Autumn Festival then and now, Mooncakes are the most apparent proof. There used to be only two types of Moon Cakes: baked mooncakes and sticky rice mooncakes. They were traditional and handmade by simple ingredients, such as pork, peanuts, sesame, or green beans.

Today, Moon Cakes are massively produced, coming in different models and prices. Numerous flavors and fillings have been invented. Lotus seeds, Indian taro, chocolate, roasted chicken, and Chinese sausage, are some examples. Old folks usually favor traditional tastes while young people like the modern ones better.

Each type has its own meaning. The traditional Moon Cakes remind the former generations of Mid-Autumn Festivals when they were kids. But the new ones seem to fit the appetite of various young citizens.

4.    Activities


Lion dance (Source: Google)

There were a large number of activities that children could enjoy in the Mid-Autumn Festival in the Vietnam modern history. You can look for the colorless pictures of the festivity 60 or 70 years ago to see how it was celebrated. Children in the same neighborhood usually gather around and play outdoor games together.

They could run, laugh, or sing folk songs while having a lantern parade and had enough fun for the day. Children who participated in the dragon or lion dance team would perform in the center of the neighborhood so that everyone could see. These activities except for the lion dances are quite rare now.

In big cities, lantern parades are replaced by motorcycles lining up on the street. Parents often drive their kids outside for a few hours, have some ice-cream, and tend to go home early to avoid traffic jams. And instead of hanging around the neighborhood, kids are taken to luxurious malls or pedestrian streets.

5.    The Moon


The Moon (Source: Google)

The Moon, the symbol of the Mid-Autumn Festival, is always there. And it does not have any distinction comparing to that of nearly a hundred years ago. The Moon appears in this article about Vietnam modern history because it is getting harder to be observed.

In the times when electric lights and skyscrapers were not common in Vietnam, the Moon was gorgeous. On the 15th day of the eighth month in the Lunar Calendar, it came forth round and bright. People could plainly see it by looking up to the night sky.

Today, you may only see it clearly if you live in the countryside. The Moon is somehow blocked by the light from high buildings and modern skyscrapers in big cities. It is a little regretful for children who live there because they are unable to see a perfect creation of nature that is meant for them on an extraordinary festival.

Khanh Huyen

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