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Chinese traditional festival: Mid-Autumn Festival

posted on 2017-09-27 11:12:22

The Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival celebrated by ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese people.The festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar with full moon at night.

The festival celebrates three fundamental concepts which are closely tied to one another:

Gathering, such as family and friends coming together, or harvesting crops for the festival. 

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


In addition to the romantic legend Chang E Flying to the Moon mentioned above, there are many other legends and stories related to this grand festival. The most well-known ones include Jade Rabbit Pounding Medicine, Wu Gang Chopping Laurel Tree, and Zhu Yuanzhang and the Moon Cake Uprising.


On the festival day, family members gather to offer sacrifice to the moon, appreciate the bright full moon, eat moon cakes, and express strong yearnings toward family members and friends who live afar. In addition, there are some other customs like playing lanterns, and dragon and lion dances in some regions. The unique customs of ethnic minorities are interesting as well, such as “chasing the moon” of Mongolians, and “steal vegetables or fruits” of the Dong people.


Moon Cake

The Moon Cake is the special food of Mid-Autumn Festival. On that day, people sacrifice moon cakes to the moon as an offering and eat them for celebration. Moon cakes come in various flavors according to the region. The moon cakes are round, symbolizing the reunion of a family, so it is easy to understand how the eating of moon cakes under the round moon can evoke longing for distant relatives and friends. Nowadays, people present moon cakes to relatives and friends to demonstrate that they wish them a long and happy life.



A notable part of celebrating the holiday is the carrying of brightly lit lanterns, lighting lanterns on towers, or floating sky lanterns.Another tradition involving lanterns is to write riddles on them and have other people try to guess the answers


2017 Mid-Autumn Festival falls on October 4th. The day is within the National Day holiday (Oct. 1 - 7) and will prolong this holiday to Oct. 8. Due to the pleasant autumn weather this is a peak time for travel.

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