Mid-Autumn Festival

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Adults had brought chairs and stools out to the front courtyard. Her father called her. She hung her lantern on the clotheslines before approaching her family who had gathered around the table. Her sister brought out a big teapot, pouring tea into cups and handing them around. Lan sat down between her mother and her grandmother. She put her face above her cup, inhaling the fragrance of the lotus flower tea. She had a bite of the mooncake, savouring the salty egg yolk and the sweet lotus seed paste on her tongue. She lay down, putting her head in her mother’s lap, and rested her feet in her grandmother’s. The moon had risen high in the sky, joining a multitude of blinking stars. Her eyes were heavy. Her parents and grandmother reminisced about mid-autumn festivals and harvest time in their home village. Their murmuring voices lulled her to sleep.


Today is the fifteen day of the eighth month of the lunar year.

Lan wonders whether she will see the moon tonight. Here in Canada people call the October full moon the Harvest Moon, but she always calls it the Mid-Autumn Festival Moon, even though there is no festival, and the sky is often covered with clouds at this time of the year. Normally she would go out for supper with her best friend Maggie. Maggie would give her the mooncake that her mother sent from Vancouver, a treat that Lan always looks forward to. But not this year. Streets are deserted, their favourite restaurant is closed for good, falling victim to the pandemic lockdown, and Maggie is in Vancouver with her mother who is gravely ill. She now realizes that she has never shared with Maggie the mid-autumn festivals of her childhood in Vietnam, nor has she ever known how Maggie celebrated hers in Hong Kong.

In the evening, Lan lights a candle and sits quietly reflecting about Mid-Autumn Festivals of years past. She can see her five- or six-year old self, very shy, standing at the gate, watching the lantern parade passing by. Other fragments of her life are playing back in her mind, as if she is peering into a big lantern. A procession of people she loved and lost, or living half the world away, are going around and around, all carrying the gifts of the years.

When she looks up, the full moon is looking back at her from outside her window.

Mid-Autumn Festival Lanterns


Born and raised in Vietnam, Dung-Chi Tran cherishes her heritage. She has found her love for Canada during her thirty-year career with the Federal Public Service, and has made her home in Ottawa. She is now aspiring to deepen her understanding of life through poetry, prose and visual arts.
6 Responses
  1. author

    Truong-Son Pham3 months ago

    Hi , author…
    I like your story very much, it makes me reminisce my childhood.
    I liked playing lanterns at Mid-Autumn Festival. I have never forgotten a lantern that my father made for us. It is very beautiful and strange.I still remember, there were many pictures of animals that ran inside .
    When we hung lanterns in front of the balcony, the persons went down streets, they looked up and admired my father’s lantern the best.
    Therefore, “Mid-Autumn Festival “ coming, when seeing the lanterns that are sold in the stores, I have always missed my father so much!
    Thank you very much!

    • author

      Dung-Chi Tran3 months ago

      Thank you for your feedback. It means a lot to me!

  2. author

    D-C Tran3 months ago

    Credit: Photos of Mid-Autumn Festival lanterns by Tuyet Luong (Vietnam)

  3. author

    Huguette Proulx3 months ago

    Bonjour Dung Chi,

    J’ai lu avec beaucoup d’intérêt votre récit. Cela m’a fait revivre de beaux moments pendant les années passées au Viet Nam. Je compte bien y retourner à nouveau d’ailleurs.
    Merci encore pour ce conte et bonne santé à vous.
    Huguette l’amie de Tuyet

    Edit Webmaster:
    From Google Translate:
    I read your story with great interest. It made me relive beautiful moments during the years spent in Viet Nam. I intend to go back there again.
    Thank you again for this tale and good health to you.

    • author

      D-C Tran3 months ago

      Merci Huguette pour votre gentillesse et vos bons mots.

      Edit Webmaster:
      From Google Translate:
      Thank you Huguette for your kindness and your kind words.

  4. author

    Cúc2 months ago

    Coucou Dung Chi,
    Que de merveilleux souvenirs laissés derrière nous dans ce pays qui ne ressemble plus à celui qu’on avait connu !

    Edit Webmaster:
    From Google Translate:
    Cuckoo Dung Chi,
    What wonderful memories left behind in this country that no longer resembles the one we had known!


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