The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival, is a traditional festival celebrated i...
The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival, is a traditional festival celebrated in Chinese culture. Similar holidays are celebrated by other cultures in East and Southeast Asia.
It is one of the most important holidays in Chinese culture; its popularity is on par with that of Chinese New Year. The history of the Mid-Autumn Festival dates back over 3,000 years.The festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunisolar calendar with a full moon at night, corresponding to mid-September to early October of the Gregorian calendar. On this day, the Chinese believe that the Moon is at its brightest and fullest size, coinciding with harvest time in the middle of Autumn.
Lanterns of all size and shapes, are carried and displayed – symbolic beacons that light people’s path to prosperity and good fortune. Mooncakes, a rich pastry typically filled with sweet-bean, egg yolk, meat or lotus-seed paste, are traditionally eaten during this festival.The Mid-Autumn Festival is based on the legend of Chang’e, the Moon goddess in Chinese mythology.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival celebrated notably by the Chinese people. The festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar with full moon at night, corresponding to late September to early October of the Gregorian calendar with a full moon at night. Due to ancient China’s cultural influence, the Mid-Autumn Festival has spread to other parts of East, Southeast, and South Asia. However, the way in which different countries celebrate it varies. Mooncakes, which are traditionally eaten during this festival, have also appeared in western countries as an exotic sweet.
Meanings of the festival: The festival celebrates three fundamental concepts that are closely connected.
Gathering, such as family and friends coming together, or harvesting crops for the festival. It’s said the moon is the brightest and roundest on this day which means family reunion. And this is the main reason why people think mid-autumn is important.
Thanksgiving, to give thanks for the harvest, or for harmonious unions
Praying (asking for conceptual or material satisfaction), such as for babies, a spouse, beauty, longevity, or for a good future
The festival was a time to enjoy the successful reaping of rice and wheat with food offerings made in honor of the moon. Today, it is still an occasion for outdoor reunions among friends and relatives to eat mooncakes and watch the moon, a symbol of harmony and unity.
In the ancient past, there was a hero named Hou Yi who was excellent at archery. His wife was Chang’e. One year, the ten suns rose in the sky together, causing great disaster to the people. Yi shot down nine of the suns and left only one to provide light. An immortal admired Yi and sent him the elixir of immortality. Yi did not want to leave Chang’e and be immortal without her, so he let Chang’e keep the elixir. However, Peng Meng, one of his apprentices, knew this secret. So, on the fifteenth of August in the Chinese lunisolar calendar, when Yi went hunting, Peng Meng broke into Yi’s house and forced Chang’e to give the elixir to him. Chang’e refused to do so. Instead, she swallowed it and flew into the sky. Since she loved her husband and hoped to live nearby, she chose the moon for her residence. When Yi came back and learned what had happened, he felt so sad that he displayed the fruits and cakes Chang’e liked in the yard and gave sacrifices to his wife. People soon learned about these activities, and since they also were sympathetic to Chang’e they participated in these sacrifices with Yi.
a round shape symbolizes completeness and reunion. Thus, the sharing and eating of round mooncakes among family members during the week of the festival signifies the completeness and unity of families