Vietnamese nuns host Mid-Autumn Festival for disadvantaged children

Five sisters of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Visitation perform a lion dance in colorful costumes to bring good luck and fortune to 30 children in their community in the Huong Thuy district of Thua Thien Hue province Sept. 7.

Five sisters of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Visitation perform a lion dance in colorful costumes to bring good luck and fortune to 30 children in their community in the Huong Thuy district of Thua Thien Hue province Sept. 7. One of them, Sr. Marie Le Thi Dieu Mai, said they also offer lanterns and cakes to the children of single mothers. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)

by Joachim Pham

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Sisters from multiple congregations celebrated Tet Trung Thu — or the Mid-Autumn Festival — for hundreds of orphans, disabled children, people affected by HIV/AIDS, ethnic minority students and children from impoverished families. The festivities ran Aug. 31 through Sept. 11.

Sisters provided food, colorful lanterns, mooncakes, traditional games and school supplies, and helped participants perform folk songs and lion dances in traditional costumes. The children were from the Vietnamese provinces of Khanh Hoa, Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue and Yen Bai.

During the Mid-Autumn Festival, which marks the traditional end of the harvest season and is the year's biggest children’s festival, children wearing carton masks run around with colorful flower- and animal-shaped lanterns, sing mid-autumn songs, perform lion dances, and enjoy traditional foods and games.

This year's festival fell on Sept. 10, but people held festivities weeks earlier, offering each other mooncakes — a traditional baked food made with rice flour, green tea, beans, and sesame seeds.

The festival, also called Lantern Festival or Moon Festival, is the 15th day of the eighth lunar month and is popular in China, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries.

Lovers of the Holy Cross of Huế Sr. Maria Truong Thi Bich Thao (center) and other volunteers lead 60 children who are hearing-impaired and mute to play a balloon game at their convent in Hue Sept. 7. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)

Lovers of the Holy Cross of Huế Sr. Maria Truong Thi Bich Thao (center) and other volunteers lead 60 children who are hearing-impaired and mute to play a balloon game at their convent in Hue Sept. 7. Thao said the children from local impoverished families are given traditional games to develop their senses and integrate into society. Nuns and teachers feed and care for them year-round. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)

Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres offer food and colorful lanterns to 50 children in Hue whose families live on boats Sept. 7. Many of the children drop out of school and sell food in the streets for a living. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)

Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres offer food and colorful lanterns to 50 children in Hue whose families live on boats Sept. 7. Many of the children drop out of school and sell food in the streets for a living. "We try to do useful things for the children to enjoy the festive joys," Sr. Anna Tran Thi Nhan said. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)

Some 100 orphans and children of families with HIV/AIDS watch a lion dance with drums and are given lanterns and candy by sisters from the congregation Filles de Marie Immaculée (Daughters of Mary of the Immaculate Conception) in Hue Sept. 7. (GSR photo/J

Some 100 orphans and children of families with HIV/AIDS watch a lion dance with drums and are given lanterns and candy by sisters from the congregation Filles de Marie Immaculée (Daughters of Mary of the Immaculate Conception) in Hue Sept. 7. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)

Le Dinh Thuan (center), an orphan who lives with his grandmother in Hue, receives cake and cooking oil from St. Paul de Chartres nuns Sept. 7. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)

Le Dinh Thuan (center), an orphan who lives with his grandmother in Hue, receives cake and cooking oil from St. Paul de Chartres nuns Sept. 7. Sr. Agatha Ngo Thi Hong (center right) said that the Lantern Festival is a chance for children to show gratitude to their parents by offering them gifts. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)

Children in traditional clothes do folk dances for the annual festival and honor Mother Mary on the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Sept. 8. It is organized by the Daughters of Our Lady of of the Visitation. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)

Children in traditional clothes do folk dances for the annual festival and honor Mother Mary on the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Sept. 8. The event at Tan Luong Parish in Quang Trị province is organized by the Daughters of Our Lady of the Visitation, who also distributed cakes and candy to 70 children. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)

More than 200 Hmong ethnic children from Pin Pe Subparish in the mountainous province of Yen Bai attend the celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival, organized by the Missionaries of Charity nuns and Catholic volunteers from Hanoi Sept. 3.

More than 200 Hmong ethnic children from Pin Pe Subparish in the mountainous province of Yen Bai attend the celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival, organized by the Missionaries of Charity nuns and Catholic volunteers from Hanoi Sept. 3. The children receive confectionery, soft drink, fruits, toys, lanterns and scholarships. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)

Hmong ethnic women carry their babies to receive Mid-Autumn Festival gifts from the Missionaries of Charity nuns and volunteers at Pin Pe Subparish Sept. 3. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)

Hmong ethnic women carry their babies to receive Mid-Autumn Festival gifts from the Missionaries of Charity nuns and volunteers at Pin Pe Subparish Sept. 3. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)

Hmong ethnic villagers enjoy candy and cakes and play with toys at Pin Pe Subparish Sept. 3. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)

Hmong ethnic villagers enjoy candy and cakes and play with toys at Pin Pe Subparish Sept. 3. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)

Children dance to celebrate the cultural festival Sept. 9 at Anh Duong Daycare Center run by Lovers of the Holy Cross nuns in Yen Bai City. Some 300 children attend the celebration. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)

Children dance to celebrate the cultural festival Sept. 9 at Anh Duong Daycare Center run by Lovers of the Holy Cross nuns in Yen Bai City. Some 300 children attend the celebration. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)

Lovers of the Holy Cross of Hung Hoa Srs. Mary Tran Thi Hue (in white) and Mary Nguyen Thi Xuan take the roles of Chi Hang Nga and Chu Cuoi, main characters of the Mid-Autumn Festival, to entertain students at Anh Duong Daycare Center in Yen Bai Sept. 9.

Lovers of the Holy Cross of Hung Hoa Srs. Mary Tran Thi Hue (in white) and Mary Nguyen Thi Xuan take the roles of Chi Hang Nga and Chu Cuoi, main characters of the Mid-Autumn Festival, to entertain students at Anh Duong Daycare Center in Yen Bai Sept. 9. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)

Children and their parents enjoy traditional food served by Our Lady's Immaculate Heart sisters and catechists at Bac Thanh Church in Khanh Hoa province Sept. 11. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)

Children and their parents enjoy traditional food served by Our Lady's Immaculate Heart sisters and catechists at Bac Thanh Church in Khanh Hoa province Sept. 11. After daily Mass during the summer, children receive gift certificates, which they use to buy food during the festival. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)

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