Ethnic Van Kieu children whose parents died of or were injured by ordnance left from wars receive gifts from Missionaries of Charity Sr. Margaret Vu Yen Nhung (wearing a conical hat) on Sept. 24 at Vinh Ha village in Quang Tri province. "This is the first time we offer gifts to the children who have no chance to get gifts to celebrate the festival because their parents have no money," Nhung said. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)
Sisters from several congregations across Vietnam organized events for Tet Trung Thu — or the Mid-Autumn Festival — for children who have heart problems, are orphans, or whose parents are prisoners, drug abusers or disabled.
Without the nuns' material and emotional support, they wouldn't have had the opportunity to enjoy the annual festival, which is considered one of the most beautiful times and biggest celebrations in the Southeast Asian country.
At the festival, which ran Sept. 22-30, they watched lion dances, made colorful lanterns, played games, sang folk songs, drew pictures, swam, enjoyed good food, and were given mooncakes, clothes, school supplies and money. The attendees were from Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and provinces of Ben Tre, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Qui Nhon.
The moon festival is on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, when the last supermoon of the year rises. This year, it fell on Sept. 29, but the sisters held festivities one week earlier so that children from different places could attend all activities.
Children with heart diseases and their mothers, who look after them at a home run by Dominican sisters, go on a sightseeing tour of Ho Chi Minh City on a double decker to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival on Sept. 30. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)
Following the city tour, Dominican Sr. Mary Dinh Thi Thanh Xuan (right) treats children and their relatives to a big party at the home for heart patients on Sept. 30. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)
Mary Rolan Hin, an 18-year-old from Kon Tum province in Vietnam's Central Highlands, and her 9-month-old son play with a lantern Sept. 30 at the home for heart patients in Ho Chi Minh City. Her son, who has congenital heart disease, is preparing for medical checkups at a public hospital in the city. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)
Dominican Sr. Martha Nguyen Thi Hoa gives gifts to children at the home for heart patients Sept. 30 in Ho Chi Minh City. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)
Le Gia Phuoc, a heart patient at Da Nang Hospital, is given money, a balloon, a toy and a lantern by the Daughters of Our Lady of the Visitation on Sept. 22. The nuns will cover part of the 2-year-old boy's medical treatment fees. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)
Daughters of Our Lady of the Visitation perform a lion dance in costume on Sept. 22 to entertain 34 children whose mothers have been abandoned by their boyfriends. The nuns give the children and their mothers, most of whom are college students, free accommodation. "This is the first time we have hosted the festival for the children, as in the past they were too young to enjoy it," said Sr. Mary Lux Duong Khanh Dieu (right). "We would like to help them feel love and joy from the event." (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)
Missionaries of the Holy Cross Srs. Josephine Le Thi Phuong (left) and Martha Duong Thi Binh (right, in black) offer notebooks to 60 students on Sept. 22 in Da Nang. Floods had damaged their houses last year. "We try to help them to pursue their studies in the hard times, and that they will keep fond memories of this festival," Phuong said. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)
Missionaries of Charity Sr. Teresa Truong Thi Lam Hong gives gifts to a boy at Quang Ninh Convent in Quang Binh province Sept. 24. Hong said the nuns "give clothes, school bags and mooncakes to 50 children whose parents are drug abusers, prisoners and homeless people, so that they can celebrate the festival and integrate into society." (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)
Missionaries of Charity Sr. Mary Teresa Dau Thi Tham gives warm clothes to ethnic children at a mission station in Quang Tri province Sept. 24. "They need warm clothes to survive the coming winter rather than sweets and lanterns," she said. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)
Lovers of the Holy Cross Sr. Lucia Phung Thi My Tien (in black) smiles broadly while playing games with some 100 orphans at Cua Viet Beach in Quang Tri province Sept. 23. "They swim, play football and other games, and draw pictures as a way to discover the environment and relax," she said. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)
Orphans draw a picture about the environment to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival Sept. 23 at Cua Viet Beach in Quang Tri province. (GSR photo/Joachim Pham)
Dominican Sr. Anna Pauline Ngo Thi Ngo and 20 volunteers from Dong Nai province offer lanterns to 700 children in front of Tra Ke Church in Binh Dinh province Sept. 29. They sang songs, dance and enjoy food around a campfire at night. "We try to do something useful for children in rural areas to have an air of festivity," Ngo said. (Courtesy of Anna Pauline Ngo Thi Ngo)
Lovers of the Holy Cross Mary Nguyen Thi Hong Hoa, from the Cho Lach district of Ben Tre province in the Mekong Delta, said hundreds of people — including followers of other faiths — attended a celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival at Quang Ngai Parish on Sept 28. "We hold traditional games and a quiz about the festival and offer traditional food, mooncakes, colorful lanterns, notebooks and toothbrushes to 200 children regardless of their background, as people in rural areas have few opportunities to enjoy such food and recreational activities," Hoa said. (Courtesy of Mary Nguyen Thi Hong Hoa)