This year’s Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is September 8, 2014. It snuck up on me this year, but I have plenty of time to prepare. In Vietnamese, we call it Têt Trung Thu, which falls the 15th day of the 8th month on the lunar calendar (the full moon).
Even if you’re not Vietnamese or Chinese, your family can celebrate too! The festival begin during the Xia and Shang Dynasties (2000 BCE-1066CE) in China as a harvest celebration. Since Vietnam is heavily influenced by Chinese culture, my family celebrates Têt Trung Thu (prounounced “teht troong too”) as well.
Our family usually celebrates by reading folk tales about the moon festival, making or lighting lanterns, and we usually skip the moon cakes. (Find out why.) If you’re in the DC area, next week I’ll share some local Moon Festival celebrations you can take your family.
You can celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in your home too.
Books About The Moon Festival
Children of the Dragon: Selected Tales from Vietnam (Harcourt) by Sherry Garland is a collection of Vietnamese folktales. In it is the story of Chu Cuoi (literally Uncle Laughter) who finds a magical banyan tree whose wife Nguyet Thien accidentally cut the trees roots. The magical banyan tree pulls out its roots and floats into the sky. Chu Cuoi grabs the tree to keep it on the ground but is pulled up to the moon instead. This is a great book to have in your collection.
The Moon Lady by Amy Tan is beautifully illustrated by Gretchen Schields. I’m a huge Amy Tan fan and this is the only book that she’s written for a younger audience. Adapted from The Joy Luck Club, the story is about Ying-Ying and how, as a little girl, she encounters the Moon Lady, who grants the secret wishes of those who ask.
Surprise Moon (Lee and Low) by Caroline Hatton is a perfect book for younger children. In this picture book, Nick who is Vietnamese American shares with his classmates about his favorite things about the the Mid-Autumn Festival. This book is a great introduction to the celebration.
Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival (Knopf) by Grace Lin shows how a Chinese American family celebrates the Moon festival. Our family loves Lin’s picture books. Her illustrations are bright and full of color.
Lin Yi’s Lantern by Brenda Williams tells the story of Lin Yi, who is given money to buy items at the market for that evening’s Moon Festival. If he bargains well, he can buy himself a red rabbit lantern. But first he must purchase all the items his mom needs. Can he do it?
Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes by Nina Simonds and Leslie Swartz covers several Chinese holidays and festivals including the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. Learn more about how Chinese culture celebrates the festival with a folktale, crafts and recipes.
A Full Moon Is Rising (Lee and Low) by Marilyn Singer is a collection of poems about different moon festivals around the world. It’s a good follow up after your family learns about the Mid-Autumn Festival.
One of my favorite things about Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is the FOOD! That deserves its own post.