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Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

The 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar is the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival(中秋节)in China. Which is the middle of the fall, so it is called the Mid-Autumn Festival. It is also the second-largest traditional festival in China after the Spring Festival.

The origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival

In the Chinese lunar calendar, the year is divided into four seasons, each season is divided into three parts: Meng(孟), Zhong (仲)and Ji(季), so the Mid-Autumn Festival is also called Zhong Autumn(仲秋). The word "Mid-Autumn Festival" first appeared in the book "Zhou Li". In the Zhou Dynasty, every Mid-Autumn Festival held a festival celebration. National festivals were genuinely formed in the Tang Dynasty. In ancient times, Chinese people had the custom of worshiping the moon god. The moon on August 15 is rounder and brighter than the full moons of other months, so it is also known as the Moon Festival, a traditional cultural festival popular among many ethnic groups across the country. At this night, people look up to the bright moon of the sky and look forward to the family reunion. The wanderers far away from home are also relying on their thoughts about hometown and families. Therefore, the Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as the "Reunion Festival."(团圆节)It is said that on the Mid-Autumn Festival, the moon is closest to the earth, and it is the loudest and brightest time. Consequently, since ancient times, there have been customary banquets to enjoy the view of the moon.

Myths about the Mid-Autumn Festival

There are many legends and stories related to this grand festival. And the mythical stories such as Jade Rabbit Pounding Medicine, Wu Gang Chopping Laurel Tree are widely spread. However, the most well-known one of Mid-Autumn Festival legend is the Goddess Chang's fly to the moon(嫦娥奔月). According to the book of “Huainanzi” in the Western Han Dynasty, it was because Chang E stole her husband’s immortality from the Western Queen’s mother to become a fairy, and flew into the moon palace. The people heard the news of Chang E became the moon god, they set up the fragrant case under the moon and prayed for good fortune.

How do Chinese people celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival?

The common custom of the Mid-Autumn Festival includes dinner with family members, like a Thanksgiving dinner, sharing mooncakes, offering gifts for the moon, displaying lanterns and regional events. Mooncake(月饼)is an essential Mid-Autumn food in China, which is a traditional Chinese pastry. Chinese people saw a symbol of reunion and happiness in the mellow moon cake. Therefore, moon cakes are made into variety fillings such as bean paste, egg yolk, fruit, etc.to cater to different tastes. Now you can even find mooncakes filled with chocolate and alcohol. Other foods eaten during the holiday season are harvested foods such as crabs, pumpkins, grapefruits and grapes. People enjoy the freshest, nutritious and auspicious meanings that are particularly relevant to round foods. In southern China, during the festival, an annual fire dragon show is often held.

Common greetings for Mid-Autumn Festival:

中秋节快乐!(Happy Mid-Autumn Festival)

合家团圆! (Family reunion)

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