Modern life taking shine off traditional folk toys

As the Mid-Autumn Festival approaches, in the memories of many adults are gatherings where traditional cakes are eaten and simple but colourful folk toys are given to children. In the modern world, however, such toys have virtually fallen into oblivion. Many people are afraid that, one day, traditional toys, which have always been an important part of childhood, will completely disappear.



Ong Hao village in the northern province of Hung Yen is famous for its paper masks, but only a few households have maintained the craft and make money from it. Vu Huy Dong’s production workshop is one of the few.

Making the masks is quite an elaborate process, he explained, requiring meticulous care and craftsmanship by artisans.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is just around the corner but Dong’s workshop is not that busy. There are only a few orders to fill, while other orders have been completed but not picked up by or sent to customers due to COVID-19.

For many youngsters, the Mid-Autumn Festival is now just a time to go out or take photos.

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Doan Vien Tet (Family Union Festival), is also an opportunity for family members to gather together and worship the fullest moon of the year. Toys such as paper masks and star light lanterns are brought by children to play with during the lion dance.

With changes in modern life, however, the meaning of the Mid-Autumn Festival is fading away. Traditional toys are also less popular these days, which is a concern for artisans maintaining the traditional trade, like Dong.

With the efforts of artisans, in recent years traditional toys have staved off total oblivion during the Mid-Autumn Festival. But it is necessary to continue to promote folk toys in order to preserve a beautiful Vietnamese tradition./.