Friends visit and we sit in the garden and look at the moon
The Moon Festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, when the moon is at its fullest. In the northern hemisphere this is in autumn, when rice is harvested before winter. Some people say that because the moon is full, the festival is a celebration and prayer for the fullness and completeness of life. Others believe the festival is to remind the sun to come back after winter, because without the sun the rice will not grow. It is also a children's festival. In Vietnam children make processions carrying lanterns, which they have bought or made themselves. It is always celebrated at night because the light is important.
'Friends visit and we sit in the garden and look at the moon. We drink jasmine or green tea and eat mooncakes.' Viet
There is a favourite story told during the Moon Festival about Cuoi the buffalo boy and the moon.
Cuoi had a magic tree that could restore life. He always reminded his wife to water it with clean water because it could not be exposed to anything dirty. One day she forgot to water it before Cuoi returned, so instead she urinated on it. Immediately it began to grow and grow. Cuoi tried to chop it down with his axe, but he got caught in it and it kept growing until it reached the moon, taking him with it. Now you can look up at the moon and see Cuoi sitting at the foot of his tree.
Photo 1-7: In the Saturday Language Schools, the children learn harvesting songs and dances for the Moon Festival