The Moon Festival The Moon Festival The Moon Festival (“Zhong Qiu Jie”——中秋节), is also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. On the evening of the Moon Festival, the moon is at its largest and brightest. The full moon symbolizes abundance, harmony and luck. What is the Moon Festival about 3 main reasons for celebrating the Moon Festival Gathering: Family members and loved come together and enjoy the full moon. Those who can not return home watch the bright moonlight and feel deep longing for their loved ones. Thanksgiving: A chance to be thankful for family and friends and the year’s harvest. Praying: Prayers for good fortune and romance. Celebrating the Moon Festival Today, festivities centered around the Moon Festival are more varied. After a family reunion dinner, many people like to go out to attend special performances in parks and public squares. Celebrating in China People in different parts of China have different ways of celebrating the Moon Festival. In Guangzhou (Southern China), a huge lantern show is a big attraction for local citizens. Thousands of various shaped lanterns are lit, forming a fantastic contrast with the bright moonlight. Watching Flood Tide In East China's Zhejiang Province, crowds gather to watch the flood tide of the Qian-tang River during the Mid-Autumn Festival The flood tide that forms at the narrow mouth of the Qian-tang river is particularly impressive. This spectacle not only attracts locals but also those from other parts of the country. Story of Eating Moon Cake at the Festival In the 14th century, the eating of moon cakes at Mid-Autumn Festival was given a new significance. Zhu Yuan Zhang was plotting to overthrow the Yuan Dynasty started by the Mongolians The rebels hid their messages in the Mid-Autumn moon-cakes. Mid-Autumn Festival is hence also a commemoration of the overthrow of the Mongolians by the Han people. About the Moon Cake Moon Cakes are synonymous with the Moon Festival They come in various flavours, shapes and sizes. Usually they measuring three inches in diameter and one and a half inches in thickness. The main ingredients are: melon seeds, lotus seeds, almonds, minced meats, bean paste, orange peels. Some fillings include a golden yolk from a salted duck egg in the center About the Moon Cake Chinese characters stamped on top of the moon cake indicate the name of the bakery and the type of filling. Traditionally, thirteen moon cakes were piled in a pyramid to symbolize the thirteen moons of a “complete year”, that is, twelve moons plus one intercalary moon. Nowadays, they are usually presented in boxes of four which indicate the four phases of the moon. What Else to Eat at the Festival This day is also considered a harvest festival since fruits, vegetables and grain had been harvested. Food offerings are placed on an altar set up in the courtyard. Fruits offered may include: apples, pears, peaches, grapes, pomegranates melons, oranges and pomelos. Special foods inclulde cooked taro and water caltrop, a type of water chestnut resembling black buffalo horns. Taro holds a special significance because at the time of creation, taro was the first food discovered at night in the moonlight. Celebrating in Other Countries The Moon Festival is also celebrated in Korea Japan Vietnam. Moon Festival in Korea In Korea, it is called “Ch’usok”. A 3-day holiday where families return to their hometown to thank their ancestors for the good harvest. Various folk games are played which vary region to region. Traditional foods include: Songpyeon (half moon shaped rice cakes in various flavors) Hangwa (An artistic food decorated with natural colors made with rice flour, honey, fruit, and roots) In Japan In Japan, it is called Tsukimi or otsumiki (moon viewing). It is a quieter celebration and this tradition was introduced by the Chinese over 1000 years ago. Also holds the meaning of celebrating the autumn harvest. The celebration includes eating rice dumplings called "tsukimi dango.” As an offering to the moon, dumplings and taro potatoes placed in an alter. In Vietnam In Vietnam, it is called “Tet Trung-Thu”. Emphasis on celebration of children. Children join parades holding lanterns and wearing masks. Lanterns signify a wish for the sun’s light and warmth to return. Special foods include: cakes and fruits elaborately prepared as food displays. The Moon Festival is one of the most widespread and popular holidays The Moon Festival is a celebration of harvest, abundance and family unity. It is one of the most widespread and popular holidays after the New Year. So get ready to eat mooncakes, rice cakes, dance and make paper lanterns Let's celebrate!