Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节 zhōng qiū jié), otherwise called the Lantern Festival (灯笼节 dēng lóng jié) or Moon Festival (月亮节 yuè liàng jié), Mooncake Festival (月饼节 yuè bǐng jié), and Reunion Festival (团圆节 tuán yuán jié), happens every year on the 15th day of the 8th month in the Chinese Lunar calendar, and this year, that day falls on October 1, 2020. Since the celebration falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month in autumn, it is likewise called as August Festival (八月节 bā yuè jié) or Autumn Festival (仲秋节 zhòng qiū jié).
What is the Mid Autumn Festival?
Deeply inspired in traditional Chinese culture, Mid-Autumn Festival celebrates the season when the moon’s orbit brings it nearest to the earth, anticipating a staggering supermoon see for us every one of us appreciates. Traditionally during this time, loved ones would meet up to celebrate and express gratefulness to the moon for their successful crop harvest. This stems from the belief that the moon’s cycle is firmly connected with agricultural production.
Even though the genuine origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival isn’t known for certain, history records show that moon-worshipping practices started more than 3,000 years before the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600-1046 BC). Yet, the celebration just became an official festival in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) when old emperors of China would host a feast to make contributions to deities and the moon in the festivity of the year’s harvest. After the Tang Dynasty, Mid-Autumn Festival additionally became a season for the emperor to remunerate his authorities for their hard work and contributions. After some time, it advanced into a celebration of numerous traditions: to express appreciation to the moon, pray for better luck, fortune and richness, and rejoin with the family to celebrate and respect the moon in its full glory.
Where did the Mid-Autumn Festival originate from?
Moon worship has consistently been a significant part of Chinese culture, and various legends are encompassing the celebration’s beginning.
One story goes that Chinese emperors in the Zhou dynasty (1045-221 BC) worshipped the moon in autumn to bring a bumper harvest the next year; while another story holds that the moon goddess Chang’e indulged on an elixir and traveled to the moon with her jade rabbit friend.
The celebration has been praised since the early Tang dynasty (618–907). One of the most well-known approaches to celebrate is by eating mooncakes, even though they normally have around 800 calories a cake.
Where is the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrated?
Celebrations for mid-autumn happen across East Asia, in nations including China, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
Notwithstanding, families over the world watch the holiday by a get-together for dinners.
How is the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrated?
In general, the Mid-Autumn Festival is an opportunity for families to fraternize, even though there are sure customs.
One of the most widely recognized approaches to celebrate is by eating mooncakes (or Bánh Trung Thu in Vietnamese) – a dense, sweet cake that is baked or steamed and ordinarily delighted in with tea.
Most are loaded up with lotus paste and salted egg yolk while others contain red bean or date paste, as well as fruit, nuts, and seeds. Individuals will likewise offer mooncakes to relatives and partners.
You can likewise discover mooncakes in flavors like green tea and chocolate. During the current year’s celebration, Guinness even released its own flavor.
Numerous communities likewise celebrate by lighting paper lanterns, while a few neighborhoods will partake in lion and dragon dances for luck.
To mark the holiday, Google made an autumnal Doodle including tea, mooncakes, and the reflection of a full moon.
Why do communities around the world celebrate harvest festivals?
The harvest festivals celebrated in Asia and in different parts of the world that happen within days and weeks of one another, incorporate basic themes of family and social event, prayers and thanksgiving, and appreciation for a good harvest. Varieties in cultural and religious practices and the names of the celebrations rely upon the nation and region however the overarching theme of the autumnal harvest is the equivalent.
What are the alternative names for the Mid-Autumn Festival?
In China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, the Mid-Autumn Festival is known as the Zhōngqiū Jié in Mandarin and is an all-inclusive public holiday in the nation. In Singapore, the Mid-Autumn Festival is likewise called the Mooncake Festival after the namesake sweetmeats that are ready for the celebration. In Vietnam, the celebration passes by the name of Tết Trung Thu. In Indonesia, Indonesians with Chinese legacy likewise celebrate a form of the Mooncake Festival.
Malaysians of Chinese ethnicity likewise celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. In Cambodia, the celebration is known as the Full Moon Festival and is celebrated by individuals with Chinese legacy as well as others. In North Korea and South Korea, the Mid-Autumn Festival is known as Chuseok, a three-day national holiday when Koreans visit their hometowns and meet loved ones. In Japan, the Mid-Autumn Festival is known as Tsukimi which means “looking at the moon” and is additionally called “Moon Viewing Ceremony”.
Mooncakes are the notorious food of the Mid-Autumn Festival. The pastries are eaten around when the moon is evidently at its fullest and brightest. They’re given as gifts to relatives, companions, neighbors, collaborators, and representatives, a traditional gesture that goes with family get-togethers and public festivals.
Mooncakes are a type of snack or dessert pastry with a sweet or savory filling. They are basically round, to reflect the shape of the moon, yet can likewise be square-shaped. Traditional Chinese mooncakes, explicitly Cantonese-style mooncakes, are baked, golden-brown, and molded or stamped on top with the name of the filling.
Ordinary sweet fillings incorporate sweet bean paste, lotus seed paste, or red date (jujube) paste that encompasses at least one mini salted, cured duck egg yolks. Some famous savory fillings incorporate ham, Chinese sausage, roast pork, and radish. Another traditional filling is mixed nuts and dried fruit. The external layer of the mooncake is another dough made with cake flour.
The Legend of Chang’E Flying to the Moon
The Mid-Autumn Festival is an annual event that goes back hundreds of years and is told through numerous legends. One of the most generally told legends is that of the goddess Change E, who traveled to the moon and made it her perpetual home, in the wake of drinking a magic elixir that gave her eternal life.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated in China, as well as in other Asian nations like Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, and South Korea.
The Mid-Autumn Festival was selected as the first batch of the National Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2006, and it was affirmed as a statutory holiday in 2008. Joined with an end of the week break, Chinese individuals normally have a 3-day holiday during the celebration. Individuals like to spend time with their loved ones or go on a short trip.
In 2020, the Mid-Autumn Festival falls on 1st October, which is the same day as Chinese National Day and the start of the Golden Week. Joined with weekend breaks and the National Day holiday, Chinese individuals will have an 8-day holiday from 1st October to 8th October this year. It is unquestionably a travel peak of the year.