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Mid-Autumn Children Festival 2004

Date: September 25, 2004
Time: Saturday 10 AM - 5 PM
Place:

The Children's Museum of Houston
1500 Binz

Houston, TX. 77004

 

Vietnamese Culture and Science Association ( VCSA) in collaboration with the Children's Museum of Houston and other Vietnamese community organizations will organize the Mid-Autumn Children Festival at the Children's Houston Museum to promote the Vietnamese culture in the mainstream and to introduce the Children's Museum of Houston to the Vietnamese community.

Vietnam's culture evolved for nearly five thousand years. Although its cultures were influenced by China, its northern neighbor, Vietnam's culture is unique and different from its giant neigbor's in many aspects. An example is the Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Children Festival which was explained by many folklores intended to teach particular morals and virtues.

The Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Festival or Tet Trung Thu (tet-troong-thoo) is a festival held on the 15 th day of the 8 th month on the Lunar Calendar. Like most parents, the farmers work hard to prepare for the harvest; therefore, they let their children play on their own. The purpose of the festival is for the parents to make up lost time with their children. In many Vietnamese-American communities in the United States, the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Children's Festival, centers around children and education. Children are encouraged by their parents to light candle lit lanterns and to participate in a procession at dawn/dusk. The lanterns represent the brightness of the mind, and the procession represents success in school. Other children's activities include arts and crafts such as making masks and making/decorating lanterns.

In addition, parents give their children mooncakes and other treats while telling them children fairy tales under the silver moon. One particular tale is Ca Hoa Rong which tells the story of a carp, a type of fish, that wanted to become a dragon. The carp worked and worked and eventually the carp turned into a dragon. The moral of the story is that you can become whatever you want if you work hard. Another familiar tale is Chu Cuoi va Chi Hang. Chu Cuoi flew to the moon one day while holding on to the root of a tree. The tree was uprooted by a strong wind. To this day, on the 15 th day of the 8 th month on the Lunar Calendar, you can see Chu Cuoi sitting at the foot of the tree if you closely examine the full moon.

This year, the Children's Museum of Houston will collaborate with the Vietnamese Culture and Science Association and other community organizations to celebrate this unique tradition and provide the children an opportunity to learn about the beauty of Vietnamese culture. The Festival will be held from September 23 to September 29, 2004 at The Children's Museum of Houston. The main program will be held on Saturday September 25, 2004 from 10:00am 5:00pm.

Goal

The goal of this event is to promote Vietnamese Culture to the mainstream and share the beautiful tradition of Vietnamese-American communities with other communities. The event also aim for more opportunities for the Vietnamese-American communities to be aware of a wide variety of activities and programs offered by the Children's Museum of Houston.

Objectives

The objectives of the event are:

•  To promote public awareness of the Vietnamese culture in the city of Houston.

•  To introduce to the children in Houston about a beautiful tradition of Vietnamese children in the Mid-Autumn Festival.

•  To create an opportunities for the children (both Asian and Americans) to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in a very educational setting such as the Children's Museum.

•  To strengthen relationship between The Children's Museum of Houston and the Vietnamese Culture and Science Association.

•  To create more awareness in the Vietnamese community about programs and activities offered by the Children's Museum of Houston.

Quick Facts About Trung Thu

The Mid-Autumn Festival originates thousands of years ago and is celebrated in many Far East Asian countries that once used the lunar calendar like Vietnam, China and Korea and is considered the Children's Festival. 

There are several legends connected to the Mid-Autumn Festival. The Mid-Autumn Festival was initially a harvest celebration celebrated on the fifteenth day of eighth month on the lunar calendar, during which, the moon appears larger than at any time of the year. The moon represents fullness and prosperity of life

During the Mid-Autumn Festival, it is customary to give boxes of moon cakes (Banh Trung Thu) to family and special friends. The traditional moon cakes are usually very rich in taste. They have a bright yoke in the center to represent the moon. They are filled with lotus seeds, orange peel, ground beans.

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Traditionally, during the night of Mid-Autumn Festival, children parade on the streets, singing with colorful lanterns in hands. There are several different shapes of lanterns including butterflies, fishes, and stars. There are also lanterns which spin around when a candle is placed inside (den Keo Quan), symbolizing the seasonal spinning of the earth around the sun. 

The flower dance and dragon dance are popular during Mid-Autumn Festival. The Lord Earth, called Ong Dia, is the dancer who dances around the dragon, urging it on. Ong Dia has a very round, happy smiling moon-face. He represents the prosperity and wealth of the earth.

 

Vietnamese Paper Lantern

VCSA Lantern Making Team In Front of Rose Garden Hall Lantern maker training team Tammy Luu Lantern Designer Lantern Procession

There are several legends connected to the Mid-Autumn Festival. The Mid-Autumn Festival was initially a harvest celebration celebrated on the fifteenth day of eighth month on the lunar calendar, during which, the moon appears larger than at any time of the year. The moon represents fullness and prosperity of life. You can make your own paper lantern to decorate for Tet Trung Thu, which is this month!

Materials 
Colored construction papers, ribbon, scissors, stapler, tape, sting, hole punch, dowels, cardboard cut into circles.

Directions

  • Fold a construction paper in half, lengthwise
  • Cut slits on the folded edge. 
  • Unfold the paper and staple the edges to hold it in a lantern shape.
  • Use the hole punch to make a few holes on the top edge of the lantern and attach string. 
  • Use the hole punch on the bottom edge to make holes and tie pieces of ribbon through them.  
  • Tape the cardboard circles on the bottom of the lantern. 
  • You can use chemical light sticks (available in most hardware or camping supply stores and at Halloween supply areas of stores) inside the lantern instead of a candle.

Rules for Contests

Vietnamese Costume Contest

The contest is open for all children of age 6 12.

Criteria for costume contest:

  • Presentation 50 pts and
  • Costume Design 50 pts.

Mid-Autumn Lantern Contest

The contest is open for all children of age 6-12.

Criteria for lantern contest:

  • Complexity of Design
  • Creativity, Artistic
  • Special Meaning

To register call 281-933-8118 or email festival@vhkhvn.org

Or visit web site www.vhkhvn.org

Program Highlights

10:00am 11:00am Lion Dance - Story telling, Lantern making
11:00am - 1:00pm Costume Contest
1:00pm - 2:30pm Story Telling Lantern Making
Moon cake tasting  
2:00pm 2:30pm Cultural Performances
2:30pm 3:30pm Lantern Contest
3:30pm 5:00pm Story Telling Lantern Making
Moon cake tasting Distribute Lanterns  

Map

For more information about this event, please click here to view the flyer.
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Send mail to vhkh@vhkhvn.org with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright 1997 The Vietnamese Culture & Science Association
Last modified: August 31, 2004