Chinese Moon Festival Celebrations
Mid Autumn Festival (中秋节) is right around the corner! It is typically held on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month and this year that day is Monday, September the 8th. There are many sayings of the legends of 中秋节, the most widely told story is 嫦娥奔月 (Cháng’é bēn yuè, Chang E Flying to the Moon). The festival celebrates three major concepts: first, family and friend gathering, second, giving thanks for the harvest to the past and third, praying for a peaceful and harmonious future. Let’s see the celebrations you can do on 中秋节.
1. Offering sacrifice to the moon
Offering sacrifices to the moon is an ancient tradition which dates back to the Zhou Dynasty. Families used to gift pork, chicken, fruits and wine to the moon. However, this activity is no longer practiced by the majority of Chinese families and only continues in certain areas or at attraction sites.
2. Appreciating the moon
Compared to the moon sacrificial ceremony, the custom of appreciating the moon is more common in modern society. Family and friends gather together for a good reunion dinner. After the dinner, family members and friends would take a stroll or sit outside to enjoy the brightness of moon outside.
3. Eating moon cakes!
Making and sharing moon cakes is the hallmark traditions of this festival. People don’t usually buy moon cakes for themselves, but gift them to relatives and friends. In the old days, families would share a big round moon cake. The round cake would be cut evenly based on the number of family members by the most respectful member in the family. Even if family members weren’t able to make it home for the festivities, a piece would still be reserved for them because the moon cake signified reunion.
You can also read How Mooncakes Brought Down an Empire.