A procession of lanterns made by local Footscray children will be a focal point of this year’s Vietnamese community Moon Lantern Festival.
Moon cakes, food and culture stalls, a stage with youth bands, rides as well as singing and dancing will also be highlights of the festival, which will be run on Sunday 26 September.
The Moon Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival (Tet trung thu), which has been running in Footscray for nearly 30 years, is traditionally associated with harvest time and in Vietnam is also known as the children’s festival.
Festival organizer Trang Do, project officer at Vietnamese Community Australia (Victoria division), said children from all cultures will be an important theme.
“Traditionally it’s a celebration for children because at harvest time parents neglected them to work on crops. So it’s a recognition that without them, there would be no future. And of course the moon is a symbol of purity and innocence,” said Ms Do.
“Throughout September we are running lantern-making workshops at the Footscray library for children and families, with the finished products lighting a procession on the day. At the same time we’ll give sweets and presents to children.
“We’ll also be running a moon cake food-tasting day at the library.”
She said while there were nearly 56,700 Vietnamese in Victoria, with many in the western suburbs, the festival would appeal to all cultures.
“The festival has been running in various forms since Vietnamese first settled in the area about 30 years ago and in that time locals have embraced it.”
Ms Do said this year’s festival had another element: the launch of an environmental project that aims to reduce energy and water use in Vietnamese households.
The project, called nha dep or beautiful home, is being run by peak non-government conservation group, Environment Victoria, following the success of previous green home projects in the western suburbs.
“Conservation is a very forward-thinking philosophy, tying in well with the festival theme of children and the future,” said Michele Burton, nha dep program coordinator.
“The project will be launched at the festival and continue throughout 2005, helping homes to save money while helping the environment.”