| Paper masks on sale in Hang Ma Street
Hanoi’s Old Quarters is adorned with colorful decorative items and lanterns. Traditional games and toys recreate full moon celebrations of in the old days. The events involve skillful craftsmen like Nguyen Van Ta of Phu Xuyen district on the outskirts of Hanoi. Mr. Ta said: “Whenever Mid-Autumn Festival arrives, I’m invited here to show kids how to make To He, the traditional toy figurines made of sticky rice powder, sugar, and food coloring. The kids like them very much and want to experience making the toys. We want to preserve this traditional craft for the younger generation.”
| Star lanterns on sale in Hang Ma Street
On many streets in Hanoi, children crowd around to watch lion dancing and hear folk singing. Adults joined them in making cartoon masks and play tug of war and sack race. The most popular venues are the main gate of Dong Xuan market, the pedestrian zone in the Old Quarter and around Hoan Kiem Lake, the fresco art space in Phung Hung Street, Kim Ngan Communal House, the Old Quarter Information and Cultural Exchange Center, and the House of Legacy at 87 Ma May Street. Tran Hai Anh, who lives in Hanoi’s Hai Ba Trung district, said:“It’s joyful. I brought my kids here to experience the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival. My kids tried making folk toys from simple materials. I hope to come here with my kids again next year.”
| People take photos in the fresco art space in Phung Hung Street (Photo: tuoitre.vn)
The fresco art space in Phung Hung Street is illuminated by hundreds of lanterns. Artisans teach children how to make a paper mask or a bamboo lamp using traditional poonah paper and how to make a rabbit-shaped lantern, a star lantern, or a tin boat. Nguyen Thanh Tam is a resident of Dong Da district: “I’m over the moon. I enjoy making traditional toys during the Mid-Autumn Festival. I am learning more about our traditions. It’s joyful and vibrant.”
The House of Legacy at 87 Ma May Street is crowded with visitors. On the first floor, a typical Hanoi family’s Mid-Autumn feast is recreated with a tray of autumn specialties: persimmons, custard-apples, young sticky rice, grapefruits, and moon cakes.
A lion dance, a night banquet, a lantern parade, folk games, and a martial art competition for children enliven the Old Quarter Information and Cultural Exchange Center in Dao Duy Tu Street.