- Title: VIETNAM: Mid-Autumn Festival celebrates with star-shaped lanterns
- Date: 2nd October 2012
- Summary: VARIOUS OF KIDS CARRYING STAR LANTERN IN PARADE
- Embargoed: 17th October 2012 13:00
- Location: Vietnam
- Country: Vietnam
- Topics: Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA6DGOKQDZHGT8D3ZEG6U7IZPL5
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Vietnamese families are preparing to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month and falls on September 30 this year.
According to folklore, parents used to work so hard at this time of year to prepare for the harvest, children were left to play by themselves.
To make up for this, parents used the Mid-Autumn Festival as an opportunity to show their love and appreciation for their children.
Many activities are planned around children -- parents buy their children traditional toys rattles, drums, star lanterns and toy animals made of rice dough as well as the not-so-traditional battery-powered or remote-controlled toys.
Located not too far from the heart of Hanoi, Nguyen Thi Xuyen's village used to make paper toys for the festival. But now, everyone except her family, has abandoned the traditional business and switched to work that is more profitable.
The art of toy-making has been passed down to Xuyen over generations, but she fears the craft may end with her generation.
Competing against cheap toys from China that most children prefer to paper toys is far from easy and her son and daughter want a life that the paper toy business cannot provide for.
But for Xuyen, paper toys are not just a business.
"Vietnamese traditional toys carry so much meaningful history with them. The Mid Autumn Festival in the old days only had star lanterns, handmade drums and lanterns in the shape of different animals. It represented the soul of the Vietnamese," she said.
On the day of the festival, children carry ornate lanterns, singing as they walk along the streets in a candlelight procession at dawn.
The candles represent brightness and the procession is a symbol of success in school.
Pham Thi Hao, a 66-year-old retired worker from a printing factory, brought her granddaughter along hoping that the 7-year-old will be able to appreciate the tradition.
"The star lantern, fragile as it is, carries the soul of the Vietnamese along with our tradition. These toys are all handmade traditional Vietnamese toys. I hope I will be able to pass these symbols of our soul to the next generations," she said.
The festival is also celebrated in China.
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