Celebrated for centuries, the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節, zhōngqiū jié) is a harvest festival celebrated on the 15 day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. What Is the Mid-Autumn Festival, and Why Is the Mid-Autumn Festival Celebrated? The Mid-Autumn Festival is derived from the tradition of praying to Chang-e, the Moon Goddess, in the autumn for a plentiful harvest. According to a legend from the Han Dynasty, Chang-e was the wife of divine archer Hou Yi, who shot down one of 10 suns that appeared in the sky one day. He and his wife were banished to earth to live as mortals for his actions. After some time living on earth, Hou Yi found an elixir of immortality and both he and his wife drank it. After drinking the elixir, his wife was sent to live on the moon alone while Hou Yi remained on earth. Each Mid-Autumn Festival, revelers eat moon cakes and stare at the moon, which is said to be the roundest and brightest on this day. What Are Moon cakes?
Moon cakes are round, savory cakes filled with lotus, red bean paste, fermented eggs and other traditional ingredients. Modern interpretations of moon cakes also include chocolate-shaped moon cakes and moon cakes made of ice cream. Like many Chinese foods, the shape is symbolic. The roundness of moon cakes symbolize reunion and togetherness. Eating the moon cakes represents a family’s togetherness. Moon cakes are thought to have originated during the Song Dynasty. During the Moghul invasion, the Chinese wanted to revolt and to keep their plans under wraps, they hid messages to revolt on lunar August 15 inside round cakes that were distributed to each family, according to legend. On the night of the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, the people rose up and killed the invaders. How Is the Mid-Autumn Festival Celebrated?
The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated with family reunions because the word for “round” rhymes with “reunion” and the round cakes eaten, moon cakes, support that sentiment. Children often have the...
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