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Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

The Introduction of Mid Autumn Festival

The Chinese Moon Festival is on the 15th of the 8th lunar month. On this day the moon is at its greatest distance from the earth. At no other time is it so luminous. Then, as the Chinese say 'The moon is perfectly round'. It's also known as the Mid-autumn Festival. Chinese culture is deeply imbedded in traditional festivals. Just like Christmas and Thanksgiving in the West, the Moon Festival is one of the most important traditional events for the Chinese.

The Origins of the Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid-Autumn FestivalThe origins of the Mid-Autumn Festival are very unclear. The earliest record is from Han dynasty emperor Wu Di (156-87 BC), who initiated celebrations lasting three days including banquets and 'viewing the moon'. It becomes very prevalent in the Tang Dynasty(618-907 A.D.) that people enjoy and worship the full moon. In the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279 A.D.), however, people send round moon cakes to their relatives as gifts in expression of their best wishes of family reunion. When it becomes dark, they look up at the full silver moon or go sightseeing on lakes to celebrate the festival. During the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), houses and gardens were decorated with numerous lanterns and the sound of gongs and drums filled the air. Together with the celebration there appear some special customs in different parts of the country, such as burning incense, planting Mid-Autumn trees, lighting lanterns on towers and fire dragon dances. The concept of a 'moon rabbit' was introduced to China with Indian Buddhist influence. Taoism adopted the rabbit in the moon along with many other concepts that originated in Buddhism: they called it the Jade Rabbit. It is said to stand under a magical cassia tree on the moon making pills of immortality.

What Will We Do at Moon Festival

The custom of playing under the moon is not so popular as it used to be nowadays, but it is not less popular to enjoy the bright silver moon. Whenever the festival sets in, people will look up at the full silver moon, drinking wine to celebrate their happy life or thinking of their relatives and friends far from home, and extending all of their best wishes to them. The Moon Festival is also a romantic one. A perfect night for the festival is if it is a quiet night without a silk of cloud and with a little mild breeze from the sea. Lovers spend such a romatic night together tasting the delicious moon cake with some wine while watching the full moon. Even for a couple who can't be together, they can still enjoy the night by watching the moon at the same time so it seems that they are together at that hour. A great number of poetry has been devoted to this romantic festival. Hope the Moon Festival will bring you happiness. The moon cake is the food for the Moon Festival. The Chinese eat the moon cake at night with the full moon in the sky. Here are a few Mid-Autumn Festivalpictures of the typical moon cake.

The Food “Moon Cakes’

Moon cakes are also an important part of this festivities. Many years ago in the 14th Century, a revolt against the Mongols developed, and messages of the revolution were written on paper, then baked into the cakes. The secret messages were smuggled to the revolutionists. Things are much tamer now, and the moon cakes are given to friends and relatives during the festival. For generations, moon cakes have been made with sweet fillings of nuts, mashed red beans, lotus-seed paste or Chinese dates, wrapped in a pastry. Sometimes a cooked egg yolk can be found in the middle of the rich tasting dessert. People compare moon cakes to the plum pudding and fruit cakes which are served in the English holiday seasons. Nowadays, there are hundreds varieties of moon cakes on sale a month before the arrival of Moon Festival.