The Moon Festival is one of the most important events in the Chinese calendar. Learn more about the folklore that surrounds this festival, and get some ideas on how to celebrate with friends and family at home!
Want to learn more about the Moon Festival?
The Moon Festival is one of the most important events in the Chinese calendar. It falls on a different date every year in the Gregorian calendar because the Chinese calendar is determined by lunar cycles. The festival always coincides with a full moon. The Moon Festival is celebrated in many countries in East Asia, each country having slightly different customs.
There are many tales associated with the Moon Festival, including a folk story about the overthrow of Mongolian rule in China:
In the 14th century China was under the rule of an oppressive Mongolian regime. Plans for an uprising never made it far as people were not allowed to gather in groups. However, a Chinese rebel leader realised that the Mongols did not eat moon cakes and that this provided an opportunity to arrange a rebellion. In the days leading up to the Moon Festival, moon cakes were distributed to the Chinese people. The moon cakes contained pieces of paper with a message to rise up against the Mongols during the Mid-Autumn Festival. On the night of the Moon Festival, by the light of the full moon, the Chinese people overthrew the Mongols and have continued to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival with moon cakes ever since.
Why not celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival with your family and friends? Here are some ideas for you to try at home:
- Eat some traditional mooncake. This is a pastry containing a sweet lotus seed filling and is usually eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival. The cakes are made in a mould, and often bear Chinese characters for ‘Longevity’ or ‘Harmony’. Somehow this sweet dish tastes even more delicious when sat outside admiring the full mid-autumn moon!
- Children can carry around brightly lit lanterns, although if using candles, please take extra care.
- Burn incense and other joss products to various deities and ancestors. This is a time of year when families come together and is a great opportunity to remember those departed.
- Enjoying the company of family, and thinking of relatives and friends far from home.
- Eating pomelos (a large, thick-skinned grapefruit) and wearing the fruit skins on your head like a hat!