|To the streets: A lion bounces and dances as the ‘Earth God' makes a lighthearted appearance. The lion dance performance officially kicks off a four-day programme in the Old Quarter, which aims to entertain children for the Mid-Autumn festival on Monday. — VNS Photo Khanh Chi
Khanh Chi & Anh Thu
HA NOI (VNS)— Children noisily shouted as two colourful lions, one red, one yellow, appeared at the entrance to Kim Ngan Communal House on Hang Bac Street yesterday.
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. (As lions don't exist in China, the lion dogs of Tibet were originally used as models for the noble beast, which is associated with Buddhism.)
The lions were accompanied by 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 Monday.
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 found was amazed at all the decorations. She followed the children and noticed so many holding hands as they walked around the communal house.
Mid-Autumn festival in City
More than 200 underprivileged children in HCM City will receive mooncakes, lanterns and other gifts from charity groups as they celebrate the annual Mid-Autumn Festival tonight.
The children, who live at city shelters, safe houses and care centres, will also participate in traditional games during a party at the Women's Cultural House in District 7.
On the same night, children of migrant labourers will take part in a free programme of puppet and theatre shows, lantern design and singing contests, at the Labour Palace in District 1.
The children will also have a chance to meet their favourite singers like Dong Nhi and Noo Phuoc Thinh.
The organiser, the city's Labour Union, will present many gifts and toys for the children.
Similar celebrations are planned around the city to celebrate the festival this weekend.
The city's Cultural House for Children in District 1 will host a special programme, 2014 Moonlight Legend, featuring lantern and fruit-tray design competitions apart from music and dance performances on Sunday.
Other major attractions are the performance of professional actors from IDECAF and Phu Nhuan Drama, two of the city's private drama troupes.
Veteran performer Thanh Loc and his staff of the IDECAF will participate in a play titled Cuoc Chien Ong Ke Va Cac Ba Me (The Battle of the Bugbear and Mothers), which tells funny stories about the bugbear and mothers and their children.
There will be two performances at 4pm and 8pm today and every weekend in September. — VNS