The Mid-Autumn Festival, Moon Festival



The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of August every year according to Chinese Lunar calendar. To the Chinese people, its importance is second only to the Spring Festival.

The moon plays a big part in this festival because the moon that night is believed to be the fullest and brightest of the year. This is why it is called the Moon Festival.

Why does a full moon matter?

In Chinese tradition, a full moon symbolizes togetherness and fullness of life. The Mid-Autumn Festival, with the fullest moon of the year, is a time for family reunions and for the blessings of life. It's also called the "Reunion Festival".

The origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival was derived from the tradition of worshipping the moon goddess and the celebration of a good autumn harvest. It dates back thousands of years.

There are some legends connected to the festival, such as the moon cake legend and the moon deity Chang-e. The modern-day festive customs, like eating moon cakes, enjoying the moon and lighting up lanterns, were gradually formed over the years.

In addition to these common traditions, various parts of China and the ethnic minorities have different Mid-Autumn Festival customs. For example:

  • In Nanjing, the festival time is also the blooming season of sweet-scentedThe Mid-Autumn Festival, Moon Festival osmanthus flowers. So the osmanthus flowers are picked freshly for preparing delicious food and drinks, like osmanthus flower ducks and osmanthus flower tea.
  • In Zhejiang, the Festival is an ideal time for tide watching.
  • In Hong Kong, fire dragon dances are usually performed during the festival.
  • People in Anhui like to play a game called "pagoda building".
  • The Dai people, who love to live in bamboo houses, pay tribute to the moon.
  • The Gaoshan people often perform ball-holding dance. ?

Because the festival is a day meant for families to be together, those who are unable to get home to join the celebration miss their family more than usual on this day. There are some poems written because of this emotion. One of the most well known and well written one is Su Shi's Shui Diao Ge Tou.

"Men have sorrow and joy, they part or meet again; the moon may be bright or dim, she may wax or wane. There has been nothing perfect since the golden days"

"So let us wish that man will live long as he can; though miles apart, we'll share the beauty she (the moon) displays."

Quiz for fun: If 30 Yuan (Chinese money) can buy one high quality mooncake, how many mookcakes $50 can buy? Find answer here.

Other Important Traditional Chinese Holidays:

Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival

The Chinese Spring Festival is the biggest holiday in China that lasts for 15 days, though workers normally have 3 days off. Here are more details.


Qingming Festival

Some people call it Pure and Bright Festival. Here are more details about this sad yet beautiful occasion.


Double Nine

A very auspicious day that is also called Height Ascending Day or Chongyang Festival.


Double Seven

It's the Chinese Valentine's Day. The Double Seven (or Qi Qiao Jie) Festival is one of the most romantic traditional festivals in China. Its most popular Chinese name is Qi Xi, which literally means "The Night of Sevens."


Chinese Dragon Boat Festiva

It occurs on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, fun, exciting and full of meanings.




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