BackArts & Culture » Culture » Modernization Of A Holiday: The Mid-Autumn Celebration In Saigon

Modernization Of A Holiday: The Mid-Autumn Celebration In Saigon

Today’s Trung Thu (Mid-Autumn Festival) has become a “modernized” affair with plastic lanterns vendors and mooncake shops sprouting up on every corner, selling their wares a month beforehand. But there was a time when the holiday was characterized by family gatherings, children’s toys and fine, hand-made lanterns, few of which can still be found on Saigon’s streets.

Originally a festival of harvest and fertility, Trung Thu celebrated the ties between children and family for eons. Therefore, toys and lanterns are never absent upon the occasion’s arrival.

Toys during Trung Thu used to consist of delicate, hand-made, lanterns made from cellophane paper or even condensed milk cans. Drums and paper mache lion heads were also a favorite as lion dancing was once a popular form of entertainment during Trung Thu.

It’s easy to imagine a garden glowing with the light from lanterns and the sounds of children’s laughter while the adults gather at the table, enjoying hot tea and freshly baked mooncakes.

These are the scenes going through my mind when driving down present-day lantern street in District 5, with its massive crowds and constant honking.

The premature appearance of mooncake shops, which used to be a sign that Trung Thu was just around the corner, obliterate any remaining thrill or anticipation.

Though this time of transition between tradition and modernity is a blessing and a curse for every passing Trung Thu, the excitement I once had for it as a child has too passed. 

Related Articles

in Culture

10 Incredible Churches in Nam Dinh

While they get the most attention, the Cathedrals in Saigon and Hanoi pale in comparison with Nam Dinh’s. Not only does the province boast this magnificent architectural specimen, but also a plethora ...

in Culture

10 Incredible Photos Of Life On Hanoi's Train Tracks

Traffic in Vietnam is crazy but the train tracks that skirt through Hanoi’s residential areas reach levels of insanity.

in Culture

10 Photos Of The Amazing Vietnamese Spider-Men

While some Vietnamese cities have begun to move their tangled nests of electricity wires underground, they are still a ubiquitous feature of many urban neighborhoods.

in Culture

12 Of Saigon’s Best Parks And Open Spaces – Part 1

Though Saigon has lost quite a bit of its verdant luster over the years, there are still patches of green throughout the city that are worth checking out. Vietnam Coracle has made a handy guide to som...

in Culture

14 Incredible Satellite Photos Of Vietnam

There are plenty of hi-tech ways to show Vietnam’s beauty – time lapses and drone panoramas to name a few. But a less common vantage point is from above. Way above.

in Culture

15 Amazing Moments Captured On Vietnam’s Streets

In Vietnamese cities, streets are where life happens. With few parks available to the country’s urban masses, they serve as everything from entertainment venues to wedding halls to restaurants. They a...