mid-autumn

The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar.  At this time is a year in the middle of autumn, so it is called the Mid-Autumn Festival. In the Chinese lunar calendar, a year is divided into four seasons, each season is divided into Meng (孟), Zhong (仲), Ji (季) three parts, so the Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as Zhong Qiu (仲秋). The moon on August 15 is more round and brighter than the full moon in other months, so it is also called "YueXi (月夕)" and "Ba YueJie (八月节)".  In this night, as people look up at the moon, they naturally look forward to family reunion.  Far away in the home of the wanderer, also take this sustenance of their homesickness and loved ones. Therefore, the Mid-Autumn Festival is also called "Reunion Festival". Since ancient times, the Mid-Autumn Festival has had the custom of offering sacrifices to the moon, appreciating the moon, eating moon cakes, playing with lanterns, appreciating osmanthus flowers, drinking osmanthus wine and so on, which has been handed down to the present day. Mid-Autumn Festival in 2021 falls on August 21 (Tuesday). The public holiday in China is from August 19 to August 21.

The Origin of Mid-Autumn Festival

family-reunion

The Mid-Autumn Festival originated in ancient times and was popular in the Han Dynasty. It was finalized in the early years of the Tang Dynasty and prevailed after the Song Dynasty. The Mid-Autumn Festival is a synthesis of autumn seasonal customs, and most of the festival factors it contains have ancient origins. The Mid-Autumn Festival uses the full moon to signify the reunion of people. It is a rich and precious cultural heritage for yearning for the hometown, the love of loved ones, and wishing for a good harvest and happiness.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is a trace of the ancient celestial phenomenon worship-the custom of respecting the moon. In the "autumn equinox" season of the twenty-four solar terms, it is the ancient "Moon Festival", and the Mid-Autumn Festival comes from the traditional "Moon Festival". In traditional culture, the moon is the same as the sun, and these two alternating celestial bodies have become objects of worship by the ancestors. The Mid-Autumn Festival is derived from the ancient people's sacrifice to the moon, and is the legacy and derivation of the custom of the Chinese nation to worship the moon. Sacrificing the moon is a very ancient custom in our country. It is actually a worship activity for the "moon god" by the ancients in some parts of our country in ancient times.

Traditional Customs

Sacrifice the Moon

sacrifice-the-moon

Sacrificing the moon is a very old custom in our country. It is actually a worship activity of the ancients to the "moon god". Under the moon, place the "Lunar God" tablet in the direction of the moon, with the red candle burning high, and the whole family will worship the moon in turn, praying for blessings. As one of the important rituals of the Mid-Autumn Festival, moon sacrifice has continued from ancient times to the present day, and has gradually evolved into folk moon appreciation and moon chanting activities. At the same time, it has also become the main form of modern people's desire to reunite and entrust their good wishes to life.

Enjoy the Glorious Full Moon

The custom of enjoying the moon comes from offering sacrifices to the moon, and serious sacrifices have turned into relaxing entertainment. It is said that the moon is closest to the earth on this night, and the moon is the largest, roundest and brightest, so from ancient times to the present, there has been a custom of drinking and enjoying the moon; the daughter-in-law who returns to her natal family must return to her husband's house the next day to imply perfection and good luck. The written record of folk Mid-Autumn Festival moon appreciation activities appeared in the Wei and Jin dynasties, but it was not a practice. In the Tang Dynasty, the Mid-Autumn Festival was very popular for enjoying the moon and playing with the moon. Many poets wrote verses about chanting the moon. To this day, a family sitting together and enjoying the beautiful scenery of the sky is still one of the essential activities of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Eating Mooncakes

mooncake

Moon cakes, also called moon cakes, harvest cakes, palace cakes, reunion cakes, etc., are the offerings for worshipping the moon god during the Mid-Autumn Festival in ancient times. Moon cakes were originally used to sacrifice to the moon god. Later, people gradually took the Mid-Autumn Festival to enjoy the moon and taste moon cakes as a major symbol of family reunion. Moon cakes symbolize reunion, and people regard them as festive food, and use them to offer sacrifices to relatives and friends. Since its development, eating moon cakes has become a must-have custom for Mid-Autumn Festival in various parts of North and South China. People eat moon cakes to show "reunion" on Mid-Autumn Festival.

Play with Lanterns

lanterns

There is no large-scale lantern festival like the Lantern Festival in Mid-Autumn Festival. Lanterns are mainly played between families and children. With the assistance of their parents, children use bamboo paper to tie them into rabbit lanterns, carambola lanterns or square lanterns. They are hung horizontally in short poles, and then erected on high poles. With high skills, the colorful light shines and adds to the Mid-Autumn Festival. A scene. The children compete with each other more to see who erects it taller and taller, and the lanterns are the most exquisite. There are also sky lanterns, namely the Kongming lanterns, which are made of paper into a large-shaped lamp. The candle is burned under the lamp and the heat rises, causing the lamp to fly in the air and attract people to laugh and chase.

Guess The Riddles

Many lanterns are hung in public places on the mid-autumn full moon night. People gather together to guess the riddles written on the lanterns, because it is a favorite activity of most young men and women, and love stories are also spread at these activities, so Mid-Autumn Festival guessing lantern riddles A form of love between men and women has also been derived.

The Fairy Tale of Mid-Autumn Festival

According to legend, in ancient times, there was a beautiful woman named "Chang'e". Her husband Hou Yi is an excellent archer. At that time, there were ten suns in the sky, and people on earth were living in dire straits. In order to save the earth, Hou Yi shot nine suns with his bow and arrow. Hou Yi helped people escape from the suffering, was revered as a national hero, and he was rewarded with the elixir of life. However, the Elixir of Life can only lift one person to heaven, and neither Chang 'e nor Hou Yi wanted to part from each other. Until one day, Hou Yi's apprentice tried to steal the elixir of life when he was out. In order to protect the elixir, Chang'e had to swallow it herself. Then she flew to the moon, became the goddess of the moon, and left her husband. Hou Yi stayed on the earth alone. Because he missed his wife so much, he often worshipped the moon and tried to find the figure of Chang'e on the moon. To commemorate Chang'e, people (on the Mid-Autumn Festival) watch the moon while eating moon cakes. This is the legend of the origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the "Moon Festival".

Further reading:
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