Mid-Autumn Festival


 

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival, is a traditional festival celebrated in Chinese culture. 
It is one of the most important holidays in Chinese culture; its popularity is on par with that of Chinese New Year. The history of the Mid-Autumn Festival dates back over 3,000 years. The festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunisolar calendar with a full moon at night, corresponding to mid-September to early October of the Gregorian calendar. On this day, the Chinese believe that the Moon is at its brightest and fullest size, coinciding with harvest time in the middle of Autumn.


Lanterns of all size and shapes, are carried and displayed – symbolic beacons that light people's path to prosperity and good fortune. Mooncakes, a rich pastry typically filled with sweet-bean, egg yolk, meat or lotus-seed paste, are traditionally eaten during this festival. The Mid-Autumn Festival is based on the legend of Chang'e, the Moon goddess in Chinese mythology.


As the legend goes, Hou Yi was rewarded with an elixir of immortality after shooting down nine out of the ten suns that ravaged the land with drought and disaster. However, when Hou Yi’s apprentice, Feng Meng, attempted to steal the elixir, Chang’e stopped him by drinking the elixir herself. After doing so, she became immortal and floated to the moon, never to be seen by her beloved husband again. After learning what had happened to Chang’e, Hou Yi would prepare a feast on this day every year when the moon is believed to be the fullest, in hopes of catching a glimpse of his wife’s shadow.