Mid-Autumn Festival toys


Aside from savoring mooncakes, playing with new toys is an indispensable part of every Vietnamese kid’s Mid-Autumn Festival. It’s a tradition for parents to buy these traditional toys for their children to partake in the festival, and this year is no exception for families looking to celebrate. 

Give your kids a chance to have fun the old-fashioned way, putting iPads and electronic items aside, and check out this list of Mid-Autumn Festival toys that’ll keep them entertained while learning about Vietnamese culture and history. 


1. 5-pointed star lanterns


Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-lanterns
Image credit: 刁新平‎

For as long as one can remember, having a parade around the streets on the full-moon day while carrying star lanterns is an unskippable part of celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival for Vietnamese children. 

While this ritual is no longer popular as it used to be 10 years ago, star lanterns are still the most iconic symbols of the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam. Made of thin bamboo and ornamented with colorful red and yellow cellophane wrappers, these lanterns can even serve as decorations to brighten up your living space. 

Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-lanterns
Image adapted from: 刁新平‎

You can buy the star lanterns in every toy store in Vietnam or place your orders online here. If you’re resourceful enough, you can make your own DIY star lantern with store-bought materials by following a tutorial video here

Price: VND8,000-VND15,000 (~USD0.35-USD0.65)


2. Hanging paper and silk lanterns


Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-lanterns
Image adapted from: 刁新平‎

If you’re a lantern fan looking for lanterns with a longer lifespan and that can be used for more occasions compared to the 5-pointed star lanterns, try these foldable hanging lanterns.

Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-lanterns
Image adapted from: Đèn Lồng Duy Phát

Made from paper or silk, supported with wooden or bamboo frames, and lit with a candle or electric wick on the inside, these lanterns make stunning household decorations with a timeless flair

Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-lanterns
Image adapted from: Đèn Lồng Duy Phát

Unlike the star lanterns with mostly red and yellow colors, paper lanterns give you more options of shapes and shades to choose from.

When the Mid-Autumn Festival is over, you can even reuse these paper lanterns for the Lunar New Year Festival. 

You can find a wide variety of hanging lanterns in Hanoi’s Hàng Mã Street or Saigon’s Lương Nhữ Học Street in District 5. Alternatively, purchase them online on Đèn Lồng Duy Phát, TIKI or Shopee to save on shopping time. 

Price: VND65,000-VND600,000 (~USD2.80-25.89)


3. Wood drums


Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-drums
Image credit: Shopee

When you see a group of children marching the streets carrying star lanterns during the Mid-Autumn Festival, at least one of them will be playing a handheld red drum made of wood to add a festive air to the march. 

Each Mid-Autumn Festival drum has a circumference of only 10 to 20 cm, and is easy to carry by hand.

Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-drums
Image adapted from: TIKI

For a more contemporary look, or as a decorative item or toy for the kids, you can also get a lighter drum with decorative motifs and even handles. 

If your kids are too young for the wider drums, you can buy them rattle drums, which are no less entertaining.

Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-drums
Image adapted from: TIKI

A rattle drum comprises one double-headed drum on a rod and 2 pellets connected on both sides by a cord. When you start twisting the drum back and forth, the pellets will strike the drum and let out rhythmic sounds.

You can buy these drums in any toy store in Vietnam or place your orders online on TIKI and Shopee

Price: VND20,000-VND150,000 (~USD0.86-USD6.47)


4. Lion heads


Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-lion heads
Image credit: abby.vn

Your kids don’t have to be professional lion dancers to appreciate the distinct charm of a colorful lion head. 

Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-lion heads
Image credit: Báo Công An

Those of us who put on a lion head to dance aimlessly with our neighbors’ kids under the full moon day decades ago shouldn’t let our kids and younger relatives miss out on the same excitement. 

Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-lion heads
Image credit: Shopee

These lion heads can also work as hanging decorations in your living room or bedroom when the festival is over. You can visit many toy stores across Vietnam to buy lion heads with sizes and weights that suit your child. If you don’t have time to shop, you can place your orders here.

 However, remember to ask the seller carefully about the size and details of the lion heads to make sure they’re neither too big nor small for your kids. 

Price: VND60,000-VND160,000 (~USD2.59-USD6.90)


5. Themed masks


Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-masks
Image adapted from: Lân Sư Rồng Minh Hoàng Chuyên Bán Sỉ và Lẻ Tại Hải Phòng.

Incidentally, the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam is also a chance to dance around in painted masks – that fit in nicely with Halloween.

The difference is that instead of scary ghost-like masks, our masks mimic Vietnamese folktale figures, the most notable of whom is Uncle Tễu.

Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-masks
Adaptation of Uncle Tễu figure on a puppet stage
Image credit: Wikipedia

A folktale figure in Northern Vietnamese literature as well as on puppet stages, Uncle Tễu is a comedic character who shows up at village fests to whip the crowd into laughter with his funny stories. Since Uncle Tễu is known as a funny and bubbly man, themed masks that mimic his facial expressions are usually painted with smiling faces.

While Uncle Tễu-themed masks are popular among children, they’re also commonly worn by Vietnamese lion dancers to add a cultural twist to the performances. 

Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-masks
Image adapted from: Măng Non Kindergarten

Unlike Halloween masks that are often made from latex with a rubbery feel, traditional Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Festival masks are usually made of paper, cardboard, and gypsum powder for a thicker texture.

Depending on your kids’ preferences, you can choose masks with materials that make it easy for them to see through, breathe in, and have fun

Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-masks
A student decorating his own Mid-Autumn festival mask
Image credit: Thăng Long

If your children are too young to understand this traditional character, you can also buy them animal masks such as lion or rabbit masks.

They’re available in every toy store in Vietnam or online at Shopee, Viet Masks, Nhạc cụ phong vân, or Mặt nạ giấy bồi

Price: VND50,000 – VND150,000 (~USD2.16-USD6.47)


6. Painted trays


Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-tray
Image credit: Beatvn

In recent years, painted bamboo trays have emerged as a new art form and are also Insta-worthy household ornaments. Traditionally, they’re kitchen items on which food plates are placed. While these items vanished from most Vietnamese families many years ago, they’ve recently made their way back as household ornaments. 

Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-tray
Image adapted from: Beatvn

Instead of carrying food, these trays are now used as canvases for paintings of Vietnamese folktales and classic motifs. From Chí Phèo to Thị Nở, traditional Vietnamese folktale figures are tastefully painted on these trays to give them a classic look. 

Not only can these bamboo trays be eye-catching ornaments that pique your kids’ interest in learning about Vietnamese folktales, but they also give your living space a cultural and festive air. 

You can find a wide variety of hanging lanterns in Hanoi’s Hàng Mã Street or Saigon’s Lương Nhữ Học Street in District 5, or also purchase them online on Viet Art Deco, Đèn lồng Sài Gòn or Tâm Nguyễn Shop for better convenience. 

Price: from VND50,000 (~USD2.16)


7. Folktale character costumes


Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-dress
Image credit: Shopee

Mid-Autumn festival is also a rare chance for your kids to morph into their favorite folktale characters with costumes, such as the flowy robes of the mythical Princess Hằng Nga who drank the elixir of life and flew to the moon, or the character Uncle Cuội, who is believed to be stranded on the moon after holding on to a flying tree. 

Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-dress
Image credit: Lục Tiểu Mi Shop

Most schools in Vietnam also host Mid-Autumn-themed parties and shows where kids perform and have fun, so you can buy some Mid-Autumn-themed costumes for them to wear to their school celebrations to add more festivity to this occasion. 

You can buy Mid-Autumn-themed costumes for your kids here

Price: VND390,000-VND1,000,000 (~USD16.83-USD43.15)


8. Mid-Autumn-themed dolls


Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-dolls
Image credit: Yay Toys

To help your kids develop some dress-up and social skills, you can consider buying them Mid-Autumn Festival dolls.

Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-dolls
Image credit: Bé Út Chibi

Even though dolls are not traditional toys, toy sellers have rolled out Mid-Autumn-themed dolls clad in traditional outfits that allow kids to have fun while having a better idea of how Mid-Autumn folklore figures look and dress like.

You can catch sight of these dolls in many toy stores around Vietnam, or purchase them online at Yay Toys and Shopee

Price: VND550,000-VND1,000,000 (~USD23.73-USD43.15)


9. Flutes


Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-flutes
Image credit: pháp tv

Even if your kids are not musically inclined, flutes will still bring them some fun and teach them a thing or two about music. 

Uncle Cuội, one of the above-mentioned protagonists in Mid-Autumn Festival folklore, is always featured sitting at a tree with a flute in his hands. 

Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-flutes
Uncle Cuội
Image credit: Lamdepchobe TV

You can encourage your child to learn more about this age-old folklore by teaching them how to play the flute or having them incorporate it into their costumes.

Mid-Autumn festival Vietnam toys-flutes
Image credit: Sáo Trúc Trường Sa

Don’t worry if the toy flute isn’t perfectly in tune – you can still use it as a decorative ornament after the festival is over. You can buy a toy flute in many toy stores around Vietnam or purchase them online at Sáo Trúc Trường Sa or Lazada

Price: VND150,000 – VND1,500,000 (~USD6.47-USD64.72)


Vietnamese traditional Mid-Autumn Festival toys


In this age of fast-paced technology and social media, it’s hard to keep your children entertained without video games and smartphones. However, it’s important that we let our next generation learn about our rich Vietnamese culture, which should be kept alive through constant practice. 

Since Vietnamese culture has a great influence on traditional arts, we can encourage our children to explore the country’s heritage through Vietnamese traditional Mid-Autumn Festival toys and ornaments.

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Cover image adapted from: Beatvn, 刁新平‎, Kênh Múa Lân, and Lân Sư Rồng Minh Hoàng Chuyên Bán Sỉ và Lẻ Tại Hải Phòng

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