What is Mid-Autumn Festival?
To the Chinese, Mid-Autumn Festival means family reunion and peace. The festival is celebrated when the moon is believed to be the biggest and fullest. To the Chinese, a full moon is a symbol of prosperity, happiness, and family reunion.
How the Chinese Celebrate Mid-Autumn？
Many traditional and meaningful celebrations are held in most households in China, and China's neighboring countries. The main traditions and celebrations include eating mooncakes, having dinner with family, gazing at and worshipping the moon, and lighting lanterns.
Why Mid-Autumn Festival is Celebrated and How it Started？
Mid-Autumn Festival has a history of over 3,000 years, dating back to moon worship in the Shang Dynasty (1600–1046 BC). It’s such an important festival that many poems were written about it, stories and legends about the festival are widespread, and its origins have been guessed at and explained by generations of Chinese.
The term "Mid-Autumn" first appeared in the book Rites of Zhou (周禮), written in the Warring States Period (475–221 BC). But the term only related to the time and season; the festival didn't exist at that point.
In the Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD), it was popular to appreciate the moon. Many poets liked to create poems related to the moon when appreciating it. There is a legend that Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty visited the Moon Palace in his dream and heard a wonderful song.
In the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127 AD), the 15th day of the 8th lunar month was established as the "Mid-Autumn Festival". From then on, sacrificing to the moon was very popular, and has become a custom ever since.
The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month， usually in early September to early October of the Gregorian calendar with full moon at night. It is a time for family members and loved ones to congregate and enjoy the full moon - an auspicious symbol of abundance，harmony and luck. Adults will usually indulge in fragrant mooncakes of many varieties with a good cup of piping hot Chinese tea， while the little ones run around with their brightly-lit lanterns.
The festival has a long history. In ancient China， emperors followed the rite of offering sacrifices to the sun in spring and to the moon in autumn. Historical books of the Zhou Dynasty had had the word "Mid-Autumn". Later aristocrats and literary figures helped expand the ceremony to common people. They enjoyed the full， bright moon on that day， worshipped it and expressed their thoughts and feelings under it. By the Tang Dynasty (618-907)， the Mid-Autumn Festival had been fixed， which became even grander in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). In the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties， it grew to be a major festival of China.
The Mid-Autumn Festival probably began as a harvest festival. The festival was later given a mythological flavour with legends of Chang-E， the beautiful lady in the moon.
admire the full moon /
watch the full moon to celebrate the festival
play with lanterns / scaldfish
offering sacrifice to the moon