Children noisily shouted as two colourful lions, one red, one yellow, appeared at the entrance to Kim Ngan Communal House on Hang Bac street on September 5.

The cloth and papier mache animals bounced along, dancing to the sounds of a drum and cymbals to provide traditional entertainment for the Mid-Autumn Festival.
The lions were accompanied by Ong Dia, a grinning clown-like figure who represents the Earth God. He danced around wearing a big, pink mask, one hand holding his fat belly and the other waving a paper fan.

The 20-minute performance began the Old Quarter's four-day Mid-Autumn event, known in Vietnamese as Tet Trung Thu. It runs until September 8.

The celebrations include classes running from nine-to-five teaching children how to make lanterns, ‘to he’ (toy animals made of sticky rice flour), toy ships and kites.

Experts from craft villages in Ba village, Dan Phuong district; Van Canh commune, Hoai Duc district; Khuong Dinh ward, Thanh Xuan district, and others will provide the expertise.

Many pagodas and other old buildings in Hang Buom and Hang Dao streets have been lit up for the occasion.

Huge yellow lanterns have been hung high in Hang Bac street at the entrance of the Kim Ngan Communal House – the centre of the event.

Inside, the place is adorned with bamboo plates painted with the face of folk characters, star and fish-shaped lanterns, big paper kites painted with images of a rural life, paper lion heads and other eye-catching items.

Dutch tourists Josen van der Sande and his girlfriend, Saska Geurts, were delighted with the spectacle.

"We've never seen such a performance," said Josen.

"It's really a beautiful show. How they moved and danced," his girlfriend added.

A female tourist from Belgium was amazed at all the decorations. She followed the children and noticed many holding hands as they walked around the communal house.

Meanwhile, in Ho Chi Minh City more than 200 underprivileged children received mooncakes, lanterns and other gifts from charity groups at a celebration of the annual Mid-Autumn Festival on September 6 night.

The children, who live at city shelters, safe houses and care centres, also participated in traditional games during the party, held at the Women's Cultural House in District 7.

On the same night, children of migrant labourers took part in a free programme of puppet and theatre shows, lantern design and singing contests, at the Labour Palace in District 1, where they had a chance to meet their favourite singers like Dong Nhi and Noo Phuoc Thinh.

The organiser, the city's Labour Union, presented many gifts and toys for the children.

Similar celebrations were held around the city to celebrate the festival this weekend.

The city's Cultural House for Children in District 1 is hosting a special programme, 2014 Moonlight Legend, featuring lantern and fruit-tray design competitions apart from music and dance performances on September 7.

Other major attractions are the performance of professional actors from IDECAF and Phu Nhuan Drama, two of the city's private drama troupes.-VNA