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Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam
( 2003-09-10 16:34) (Agencies)

Vietnamese people are living in a joyful atmosphere of the forthcoming Mid-Autumn Festival as moon- cakes in vivid red boxes and various kinds of colorful toys crop up all over the country.

Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on Thursday, is a traditional one for children in Vietnam. However, in recent years, many people, especially youths have taken advantages of the festival to gather for drinking, eating and going out.

In recent days, along Ba Trieu street from the Sword Lake to Dai Co Viet street in Hanoi, there are dozens of shops selling moon cakes with trademarks of Kinh Do, Dong Khanh, Huu Nghi, and Bao Ngoc. In many other streets, such as Trang Tien, Hang Buom, and Hang Than, it is common to catch a sight of piles of moon- cakes displayed in shops beautifully decorated with colorful banners and lanterns.

Loan, a resident in Hang Than street, told Xinhua that this is the first time the street has seen so many beautiful moon-cake shops. Moon-cakes with diversified flavors, shapes, sizes, and prices have flooded the market. The cake prices range from thousands to hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese dong (15,000 Vietnamese dong equaling to a US dollar) per package, depending on its size and core.

Besides moon-cakes with traditional flavors of lotus seed, salted egg, and green bean, many of Hanoi's large hotels, such as Sofitel Metropole, Hilton and Horision, are offering their guests some variations of the festival favorite, such as French-style, chocolate, taro, and red bean flavors. Its price is averagely about 15 US dollars per package which may be out of reach of most Hanoians.

Despite moon-cake flooded market, Hanoians remain loyal to the products with lower prices of some local well-known makers such as Kinh Do and Huu Nghi. At an agent of Kinh Do Bakery in Thai Ha street, customers have to queue up to buy cakes.

Nguyen Huyen, head of Marketing Department of Kinh Do Bakery said, about a week before the festival is the peak period of selling moon-cakes. This year, consumers tend to buy beautifully packaged high-quality products. To meet the rising demand, the enterprise has turned out 260 tons, up 20 percent over last year.

Together with moon-cakes and fruits, toys are an important part of the festival for children. The local toy market is heating up when the festival nearly comes. This year, most of shops in Hanoi' s main toy-selling streets of Luong Van Can, Hang Luoc and Hang Ma have launched the newest toy models. However, the traditional toys such as enlightened star-shaped lanterns and masks still appear to be available.

Folk toys in bright colors, including animals made of porcelain, hand-made dolls, and boats, are widely displayed in pavements of Hang Ma Street in evenings.

Chinese-made products are dominating the local toy market as more than 70 percent of plastic toys in the market are imported from China. Shops in some toy-selling streets show 500-1,000 items, including supermen, moon sailors, dolls, and battery-powered cars. Most of the products are newly designed with fashionable styles and colors.

Hung, a shop owner in Hang Ma Street, said every day he receives more than 100 customers. Best sellers include Chinese- made modern toys and enlightened lanterns, which are indispensable for the festival's parties.

Toy-selling streets attract thousands of children and parents every day. In evenings, especially on Saturday and Sunday evenings, the streets are jammed toy buyers and are in a festive atmosphere of colorful lights and flowers.

A wide range of art performances are being held nationwide to serve children during the festival which falls on Thursday. A Mid- Autumn festival with children and family fair is ongoing in Hanoi' s Center for Cultural Exhibition. A giant star-shaped lantern, 23. 9 meters in height, the biggest ever made in Vietnam, is on display at the fair.

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