US students make mid-autumn lanterns for HCMC orphans

15 American students on September 12 joined an event in HCMC to make traditional mid-autumn lanterns for local orphans

Students from America’s Hobast William Smiths and Union College are seen putting a lot of effort in making their lanterns for the first time at VLS on September 12, 2013. The lanterns later will be given to orphans at the Tinh That Linh Son pagoda in HCMC’s District 12.

Despite the heavy rain on September 12 afternoon, around 15 students from America’s Hobart William Smiths and Union colleges gathered at the Vietnamese Language Studies Saigon (VLS) center in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 to make traditional Vietnamese mid-autumn lanterns.

According to Vo Thanh Binh, principal of the Vietnamese language school, the lantern making event has been held every year with the hope of bringing Vietnamese culture closer to foreigners to as well as creating a playground for learners.

“We want to make an exchange between the cultures. Participants learn not only from watching and doing, they also join to make some cultural things to remember,” Binh said. “We want to offer foreign students a cultural experiment. Mid-autumn festival is very special holiday to Asians, so we aim to show them what a Vietnamese mid-autumn festival has.”

Participants were asked to cover a bamboo frame in the shape of an animal using colorful papers. They were also encouraged to decorate the lanterns with watercolor by their own creations.

“I think it’s a lot of fun. It’s really cool and traditional. There is a history behind a lantern as people keep making it every mid-autumn festival”, Elizabeth Orrick, 20, told Tuoitrenews.

In a friendly atmosphere, the students were seen putting a lot of effort in making their lanterns, not only because this is their first occasion joining a Vietnamese traditional activity, but also because all the lanterns will be given to orphan children.

“It’s my first time coming to Vietnam and making lantern. I’m struggling with putting all the parts of the lantern together. Hopefully it makes the kid happy,” Nathaniel Burgess, 21, shared with smile while Joshua Serrano, 21, said he spent a lot of time making his lantern because he wanted to make sure it’s a nice gift for children.

After the lantern event, on September 14, another event to make moon cakes will be held at the center, before a trip to visit and hand out the lanterns and cakes to 30 orphans at Tinh That Linh Son pagoda in District 12 takes place the next day.


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