The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday March 30th

Kidzu exhibits diverse cultures

Vietnamese parade kicks off program

Four-year-old Bennett Barnes smiled as he marched in step with the parade. As he held a traditional Vietnamese lantern in his hand, his feet marched to the beat of the music playing in the background. Meanwhile Vietnamese-American Carol Nguyen read the lyrics to a festival folk song. "Walk around with lanterns lit. Take them all across the town, singing to the autumn moon. Take my lantern to the sky, take my lantern to the moon," she sang. The parade was part of a special program held at Kidzu Children's Museum in downtown Chapel Hill. It represented traditional Vietnamese parades that occur during Tet-Trung-Thu - the mid-autumn festival honoring children. The festival also honors the harvest and the moon, which is brightest during this time of the year. The program was held as a part of Kidzu's fall exhibit "Every Picture Tells a Story," and helped kick off the museum's Celebration of Many Cultures. During the celebration, UNC international studies students and community members will visit the museum to give presentations about cultures from around the globe. Nguyen spoke with parents and their children Tuesday and gave a presentation about Vietnamese culture. The festival occurs on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month and generally is celebrated during the first weekend of October in the United States. "Vietnamese families plan their activities around their children on this day," Nguyen said. "Parents use the mid-autumn festival as an opportunity to show their love for their children." The lanterns Barnes and the other children held are a common sight at the parades held in villages and towns across Vietnam. Children perform "little dances" for their parents and enjoy moon cakes, cookies made once a year for the festival, Nguyen said. Nguyen said her involvement with the program came out of a desire to teach children about diversity and about her culture. "I think it's just important that children be exposed to lots of cultures and diversity when they're younger," Nguyen said. "It makes them more accepting when they're older." Contact the City Editor at


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