Display of Traditional Lanterns at Thang Long Imperial Citadel

Visitors to Hanoi's iconic Old Quarter will be entranced this time of year, as artisans adorn the streets with stunningly crafted lanterns in the shapes of carp turning into a dragon, carp looking up at the moon, crabs and rabbits.


The “Shimmering Autumn Lights” program will be held at Thang Long Imperial Citadel from September 27 to 29 to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival and Hanoi Autumn Festival.

To commemorate the 2023 Mid-Autumn Festival, the Thang Long-Hanoi Heritage Conservation Center has organized a special night tour program titled “Shimmering Autumn Lights.” This program aims to create a unique atmosphere and provide children and tourists with an immersive cultural experience.

Artisan Nguyen Van Quyen instructs children to make traditional lanterns. Photo: Lai Tan/The Hanoi Times

The 2023 Mid-Autumn Festival program at Thang Long Imperial Citadel offers a wide range of activities that are not only interesting but also highly educational.

A traditional Mid-Autumn Festival space featuring various types of lanterns has been recreated based on the research of renowned experts such as Henri Oger, Albert Kant, and the Quai Branly Museum (France), as well as Vietnamese researcher Trinh Bach and local artisans specializing in lantern making.

Visitors will have the opportunity to take photos surrounded by lanterns shaped like “carp turning into dragon,” carp, crab, rabbit, butterfly, shrimp, and drum.

There are also booths showcasing traditional Mid-Autumn toys, such as animal-shaped masks, iron ships, rabbit beating drums, and stuffed swans.

Various types of lanterns are on display at Thang Long Imperial Citadel. Photo: Lai Tan/The Hanoi Times

By visiting the exhibition area, children will have the opportunity to learn more about old toys and gain a deeper appreciation of their nation’s culture. For grandparents and parents, it will be a nostalgic experience, allowing them to reminisce about their own childhood.

Toy makers Nguyen Thi Tuyen, Nguyen Van Quyen, and Dang Van Khang will be present to share their knowledge and provide interactive experiences for children and tourists regarding traditional toys associated with the Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Festival.

The Mid-Autumn Festival holds great significance in Vietnam and has been celebrated as a national festival since the Ly Dynasty (10th century). It is observed by farmers to predict weather and crops, and it is celebrated both at the royal court and among the general population.

During the festival, in addition to important royal rituals, the entire Thang Long Imperial Citadel will be adorned with magnificent flower lights and brocade decorations, creating a stunning ambiance for a three-day celebration.

Throughout the centuries, the Mid-Autumn Festival has continued to be a significant celebration for both the monarchy and the nation. In addition to customary folk celebrations, families traditionally prepare grand feasts to honor their ancestors during the day and to pay tribute to the moon at night.