Mid-Autumn Festival in China
The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Chinese Moon Festival, brings families together to celebrate the harvest under a full moon. The holiday is all about giving thanks, for nature’s abundance and for joyful reunions with loved ones.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival that focuses on the spirit of gratitude. So the ancient story goes, the beautiful Chang’e drank an elixir of immortality and flew to the moon, while the archer Hou Yi later became the God of the Sun. The forlorn couple is reunited once a month when the full moon burns brightly from the force of their love. Today, the Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated to mark the end of the harvest season, while giving thanks for the gifts of family unity and togetherness.
The simplest way to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival is to visit with family and close friends, casually chatting under the moonlight. It’s an opportunity to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. The holiday feels like an all-American evening at the town park or bandstand, just with mooncakes, tea and brightly-colored lanterns.
You’ll see mooncakes for sale in every Chinatown bakery during the days leading up to the Mid-Autumn Festival. Businesspeople dutifully gift tins of high-end mooncakes to clients and families buy their favorites for their own Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations. You can make mooncakes and their cousin, the picture pastry, at home with really terrific results.
Lanterns are a beautiful source of light during Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations, as well as a traditional toy that kids parade around under the full moon. They’re commonly shaped into whimsical animals or geometric shapes and made from wire and colored cellophane. Given an hour and a few household supplies, you can create a beautiful rectangular lantern that your child can decorate with pictures, Chinese characters or streamers. The options are limitless.