Before the pandemic, the mid-Autumn Festival was an occasion when social organizations hosted mass celebrations for children.
Youth union members made star- and moon-shaped lanterns and papier-maché lion heads and decorated culture houses for Festival parties.
Children got together after school to practice drumming and performing a lion dance.
But this year, many localities nationwide are social distancing due to COVID-19. Mothers are making moon cakes at home. Fathers are crafting star- and fish-shaped lanterns with a spinning mechanism, since they can’t go out to buy toys for their children.
5-year-old Le Nhat Nam of Hanoi helped his mother make a lantern out of colored paper and an old soap box. Nam said he likes it, even though it doesn’t play music or emit a twinkling light.
|Le Nhat Nam and his brother are excited with their hand-made lanterns. (Photo: VOV)
“Today mom and I made two mid-Autumn lanterns - one for me and one for my younger brother. I’m very excited and want the mid-Autumn Festival to arrive immediately.”
This year Ngo Thai Ha of Hanoi created toys for her children using simple, familiar items like leaves, snail shells, paints, and homegrown vegetables.
“Every year at mid-Autumn, I used to buy toys for my children. This year, because of the pandemic, we’ve made the most of whatever available at home to make toys. With just some pieces of cardboard, colored paper, and water colors, it’s possible to create masks,” said Ha.
“A lantern can be made of a transparent plastic box, some candles, and colored paperboards. The children still like it very much. Of course, the toys aren’t as beautiful as the ones at stores, but we’re happy doing it by ourselves and we’re having lots of fun together.”
Even localities with no coronavirus infections have toned down their "Full Moon Festival" this year. They offered other incentives instead.
Nguyen Thi Lan Huong, Deputy Head of the Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs section of Hai Duong city, said half of more than 800 local children in extremely difficult economic circumstances have received a social allowance.
Huong said, “Local authorities bought gifts for orphans and other disadvantaged children. All mid-Autumn Festival activities this year demonstrate practical care for children.”
There will be more exuberant mid-Autumn Festivals once Vietnam gets the epidemic completely under control, but this year's celebration will be remembered as particularly special.