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All about Mid-Autumn Festival and the magical mooncakes

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All about Mid-Autumn Festival and the magical mooncakes

The Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Festival is celebrated across East Asian and South East Asian countries, particularly those with Chinese communities, yet what does it truly entail?

Falling on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month (according to the Chinese lunar calendar), it is noticed for a couple of days (for the most part three) around the fundamental day, wherein the city streets are decorated with bright and colorful lanterns and dazzling lights. Also, the Chinese public planned heavenly mooncakes for the occasion, representing the full moon, as the name goes. The snack additionally symbolizes joy and family reunions.

This year, the Asian Mid-Autumn Festival is falling on 10 September, and most Chinese individuals are anticipating a three-day break each and every year to perform the rituals associated with the festival. However, not every person outside China understands what’s going on with it. Along these lines, continue reading for more data.

The history of the Chinese festival and its various names

Albeit the Chinese festival finds its underlying roots in the Tang (618-907 CE) and Song (960-1279 CE) dynasties, it became famous during the Ming (1368-1644 CE) and Qing (1644-1912 CE) dynasties and came to be known as the Spring Festival from there on. In 2008, it was declared a public holiday by China.

Known as Zhōngqiū Jié in Mandarin in China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, it is called Tết Trung Thu in Vietnam and Chuseok in Korea. Moreover, it is known as the Mooncake Festival, as well, going by the festival-specific dessert.

In the meantime, those with Chinese heritage in Indonesia celebrate one more variation of the festival called the Lantern Festival (not the one celebrated in China).

Mid-Autumn Festival folklores

In light of different convictions, Asian parents recount various stories rotating around the Mid-Autumn Festival to their children. One of the well-known ones is about the Jade Emperor whose ten sons adjusted themselves as ten suns and started upsetting life on earth with their scorching heat. The emperor hired the famous archer Hou Yi, who cut nine of them down. For this, he was awarded the immortality elixir for his bravery.

Be that as it may, he gave the elixir to his wife Chang-e who once drank it to save it from being stolen by his followers. She then floated to the moon and stayed there as a deity. It was accepted that she would get back to her husband on Mid-Autumn day.

In the interim, Hou Yi began burning incense and offering food to the moon in the wake of losing his wife. His love touched people across different Chinese communities and similar traditions related to the Mid-Autumn Festival came into practice.

Another story portrays the tale of a wonderful singer Diaochan, who lived during the Han dynasty (206-220 CE). In the wake of being familiar with the continuous politics in the royal court where she resided, she prayed to the moon for peace at midnight. Seeing her beauty, Chang-e, the goddess living on the moon stowed away in the midst of the mists as she felt inferior. Diaochan’s beauty has been viewed as higher than Chang-e’s from that point forward.

Celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam

The Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Festival is number one among kids. Otherwise called the ‘Children’s ‘ Festival’ in the country, each kid anticipates setting up their own lanterns and nibbling on the scrumptious mooncakes.

The harvest festival has numerous folklore connected to it, however, the one which is the most well-known in Vietnam is about a man named Cuội. He was said to have hung from a magical banyan tree that led the moon. The Vietnamese accept that a man’s shadow should be visible if one takes a closer at the moon, and the kids light lanterns to assist him with tracking down his direction back to the earth.

As the city prepares for the sparkling Mid-Autumn Festival, one can easily witness lion dance by performers practicing on the streets. Add to it stalls with gorgeous lanterns, toys, masks, and aromatic mooncakes.

On the full moon night, a vibrantly dressed male dancer should be visible in the midst of the festivities. He represents the Earth God, Ông Địa, known for abundance and his mask symbolizes the moon. He tells the lion dancers to perform for the crowd who cheer onlookers with their comical moves.

Múa lân or lion dance is one of the significant attractions of this Mid-Autumn Festival. This act is completed by professional acrobatic dancers who contain the lion’s body. Doubtlessly arousing a lot of wonder in kids, the dancers draw nearer to them to engage and make them laugh.

Assuming you are planning to visit the country during this brilliant festival, Hanoi, Hội An, and Ho Chi Minh City are the best ones to be in. Remember to get the lion dances live.

Scrumptious mooncakes and different delicacies

One of the most incredible things to anticipate during the Mid-Autumn Festival is mooncakes. Furthermore, it has a fascinating anecdote as it holds a lot of significance in Chinese history. While the Han Chinese revolted against the Mongols during the Yuan line period (1279-1368 CE), it is accepted that a few revolutionaries exchanged secret messages through mooncakes.

The full moon-shaped delicacy comes in the conventional filling, which incorporates lotus seeds and roots, melon seeds, fruits, and chocolates. Be that as it may, assuming you wish to have a go at something flighty, go for the ones arranged with fillings of spicy beef, leek, and fermented bean curd.

Mooncakes arrive in a varied cost range. These incorporate ordinary ones with a typical cost and extravagance mooncakes costing two or three thousand yuan.

Other than mooncakes, different delights incorporate Osmanthus wine, river snails, pumpkins, deep-fried lotus root sandwiches, and taro (sweet potato).

Different countries that celebrate the harvest festival

Other than China and Vietnam, countries including Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is around three significant concepts— gathering, thanksgiving, and praying.

Mid Autumn Festival 2021: Google Doodle celebrates Harvest Moon Festival in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Vietnam

Other than organizing family reunions and other rituals related to worshipping the moon, individuals in Korea worship their progenitors as well. While the men of the family stand together for the ‘worshipping ceremony,’ the oldest child welcomes the precursors by opening the front entryway and offering flowers, drinks, and food items. While offering their appreciation to them different individuals from the family, he burns the incense. They start the feast after this ceremony.

The Japanese, then again, follow an alternate approach to worshipping the moon and celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival, and it is known as Tsukimi there. Alongside dressing in conventional attire and visiting their place of worship, they decorate their houses in a particular way utilizing pampas grass. It symbolizes the start of autumn and is accepted to fend terrible energies off.

For individuals in Malaysia, going for lantern parades during this Mid-Autumn Festival is a significant attraction. One of the most mind-blowing spots to witness the Mid-Autumn merriments is Thean Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur, which is supposed to be one of the most seasoned and biggest temples in South East Asia. You can likewise visit the ‘river of lights’ parade in Penang when it wakes up with splendidly lit lamps and lanterns.

India, as well, celebrates the autumnal harvest festival, known by various names in various states, remembering Mim Kut for Mizoram, Nuakhai in Odisha, Pham Kho Sowai in Arunachal Pradesh, and Onam in Kerala.

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