Vibrant scenes of the Mid-Autumn Festival in the Old Quarter. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - Hanoi’s Old Quarter will host the opening of the traditional Mid-Autumn festival on September 21.

Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, a member of the old quarter’s management board, said the board will coordinate with local artisans to organise a wide range of cultural activities.

There will be an exhibition on the festival held at Heritage House, 87 Ma May street.

Meanwhile, there will be an exhibition of folk paintings at the Hanoi Old Quarter Culture Exchange Centre, 50 Dao Duy Tu street. It will feature three famous genres of painting – Dong Ho, Kim Hoang and Hang Trong.

From September 14-23, Kim Ngan Communal House at 42-44 Hang Bac street will host artisan-led workshops on how to make traditional toys such as star-shaped lanterns, paper effigies, paper kites and to he (figurines made from glutinous rice powder).

The 400-year-old art form of Te Tieu puppetry, which combines puppetry with folk stories, will be performed at 50 Dao Duy Tu street on September 22 and Quan De Temple, 28 Hang Buom street on September 23.

Another activity, featuring paper masks, has been organised for Dong Lac Communal House at 38 Hang Dao street. Artisan Nguyen Van Hoa, the last remaining practitioner of the art form in the Old Quarter, will demonstrate how to create these handmade masks.

“The traditional paper masks, as distinct and recognisable as the full moon during the Mid-Autumn festival, have for years been a favourite toy among Vietnamese children,” he said.

At nighttime during the festival, gleeful children parade around the neighbourhood wearing the colourful masks and carrying lanterns that illuminate the street.

The artfully crafted masks are both colourful and representative of the festivities. They are part of a tradition that is cherished among locals. But in recent years, imported plastic masks have begun to inundate the market. Despite these cheaper alternatives, people still love the simplicity of the handmade masks – a tradition that stretches back many centuries.

This year, the Mid-Autumn festival will take place at the mural on Phung Hung street from September 21 to 23.

The festival will include traditional games and musical performances, with tug of war, blindman’s bluff, stilt walking, dances with bamboo poles and some board games featuring.

There will also be stalls with traditional toys and explanations of how to make them. Phung Hung street was revived with beautiful murals recalling Hanoi’s history thanks to a community art exchange project funded by the Korea Foundation, UN-Habitat and the Hoan Kiem district People’s Committee.

The area around the murals has become a space for public art activities.

A path lined with lanterns will lead visitors to the main stage at Ly Thai To Garden, where they can see performances by artists from Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre and the Vietnam Circus Federation.

The festival’s other activities include traditional toy making, folk games, a unicorn dance and a lantern procession.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of Vietnam’s biggest celebrations. It is also known as the children’s festival because of its emphasis on children. It is held on the 15th day on the eighth lunar month (September 24 this year).-VNS/VNA