With only three weeks to go before the Mid-Autumn Festival, markets are full of people buying mooncakes and colourful lanterns made by local artisans and manufacturers.

According to sales staff in Ho Chi Minh City markets, locally made lanterns have been dominating the market, making up 70 percent.

Nguyen Dang Sy, an artisan at Phu Binh lantern craft village in District 11, said his family has made thousands of lanterns for the market this year, three times more than the previous year.

The toys can be bought at stores and mobile stalls on streets like Hai Thuong Lan Ong, Luong Nhu Hoc and Nguyen An in District 5, and Le Quang Sung in District 6, and at supermarkets in the city.

They offer a wide range of products, including traditional lanterns made of paper or glazed paper, and electrically powered items made of plastic with colourful bulbs inside that emit music.

They have a variety of shapes, such as stars, rabbits, butterflies and cartoon characters.

This year, there are new models reflecting patriotism, with images of Vietnamese fishermen and their ships, soldiers protecting the country, including its sea and islands.

Bui Dinh Phung of Phu Binh village said many artisans chose to make lanterns with images of maps of islands, ships and helicopters because children had learned more about the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa islands.

The District 8-based Ky Thuat Moi Company has produced electric lanterns featuring Vietnamese mythical heroes like Saint Giong, a young man who chased invaders out of the country and took off into the sky with his horse, and the Trung sisters, who led insurgents to fight northern aggressors 2,000 years ago.

Ta Minh Chau, deputy director of the company, told Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon ) newspaper said the company had produced more than 700,000 lanterns and distributed them across the country.

Ho Quoc Nguyen, public relations manager of Big C Vietnam, said to Sai Gon Giai Phong newspaper that supermarkets had sold only local lanterns, which proved to be popular.

"It is a chance for local enterprises to produce and introduce safe products at reasonable prices," he said.-VNA