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Mid-Autumn Festival: History, Significance and How to Celebrate Harvest Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival



Mid Autumn Festival History Significance and How to Celebrate Harvest Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival

Harvest Moon Festival, otherwise called Mid-Autumn Festival or Mooncake Festival, is held consistently on the 15th of the eighth lunar month in South Korea. In Korea, the festival is known as Chuseok and is held to commemorate the fall harvest and honor one’s ancestors. The current year’s Harvest Moon Festival will occur on September 10th, and the day of Honoring ancestors and feasting will incorporate numerous different exercises, for example, family feasting, gift-giving, and athletic events.

The Mid-Autumn Festival otherwise called the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival is a conventional festival celebrated in Chinese culture and that is the reason it is celebrated in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. Furthermore, comparative festivals likewise happen in different East Asian countries.

It is likewise called the Harvest Moon Festival as it celebrates the finish of the Autumn harvest and is celebrated every year on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar as per the Chinese calendar which implies this year it falls on the 10th of September.

The festival denotes the finish of the autumn harvest, which happens during the middle of autumn when the moon is at its fullest. During this festival, the moon is worshipped as a method for expressing gratitude toward the moon for a good harvest.

Let’s take a closer look at the Harvest Moon Festival.

Harvest Moon Festival: History

The day is seen by worshiping the full moon and paying respect to the precursors as a method for marking and expressing gratitude for the good harvest.

The history of the Mid-Autumn Festival in China dates all the way back more than 3,000 years. As the Chinese have celebrated the harvest during the autumn full moon since the Shang dynasty between 1600-1046 BCE. The term mid-autumn for this event was first shown up in Rites of Zhou, a composed collection of rituals of the Zhou dynasty between 1046-771 BCE in which it was mentioned that the Zhou dynasty royal family used to offer sacrifices to the Moon Goddess. With respect to the royal court, it was committed to the goddess Taiyinxingjun. This is still valid for followers of Taoism and Chinese folk religion.

All about Mid-Autumn Festival and the magical mooncakes

Be that as it may, the celebration of this festival simply began to acquire notoriety during the early Tang dynasty between 618-907 CE. One legend even states that Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang dynasty began to hold formal celebrations in his royal residence in the wake of having investigated the Moon Palace without anyone else.

Then, at that point, subsequent to taking motivations from the royal class of China, merchants and commoners additionally began to hold daily celebrations out of honor for the moon with dancing, wine-drinking, and merriment around 600 A.D. furthermore, this tradition turned out to be generally famous among individuals of China.

Though in the Northern Song Dynasty, the Mid Autumn Festival had turned into an extremely well-known people festival, thus they officially designated the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar as the Mid Autumn Festival and till today this date task is just followed.

Anyway, it was during the Ming and Qing empires of China beginning from 1368 to the 20th Century that the Mid-Autumn Festival arrived at its peak and turned into a firm part of the Chinese culture and this turned into the second most significant festival for the Chinese culture solely after the Chinese New Year.

The celebration of the day is accepted to have started during the reign of the third king of the kingdom of Silla (57 BC – 935 AD) when two princesses of the Silla Dynasty contended with each other in a weaving competition that went on for a month and finished up on the 15th day of the lunar month. As per the competition’s rules, failure was expected to give a feasting treat.

Many individuals additionally believe that Chuseok might have its roots in ancient harvest moon shamanic celebrations. This proposes that the festival might have begun as ritual worship since it incorporates worship and offerings to the deity.

Today, Koreans visit their hometowns to celebrate the good harvest, reunite with family, and feast, where the festival is extremely well known for Korean conventional food, for example, songpyeon. Numerous traditions, like offering food to the ancestors and paying homepage, are seen on this day.

Mid-Autumn Festival Significance:

A significant part of the Mid-Autumn festival celebration is Moon worship. The old Chinese put stock in renewal being related to the Moon and water, and connected this concept to the menstruation of women, calling it “monthly water.”

The Zhuang people of China, for instance, have an old fable saying the Sun and Moon are a couple and the stars are their kids, and when the Moon is pregnant, it becomes round, and afterward becomes crescent after giving birth to a child. These convictions made it well known among women to worship and give offerings to the Moon tonight while limiting men to make it happen. In certain areas of China, there are still traditions in which “men do not worship the moon and the women do not offer sacrifices to the god.”

In China and in Chinese culture the Mid-Autumn festival symbolizes a family reunion and on this day, all families gather to see the value of the Moon at night, since it is the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar when the moon is at its fullest as it is considered as the best opportunity to offer the appreciation to the moon for saying thanks to of the good harvest.

In the modern world however despite the fact that on the off chance that individuals don’t put stock in the myth encompassing it yet at the same time celebrates this festival grandly as this festival is considered as a significant part of the Chinese culture and that is the reason every one of the Chinese people of Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan views this festival exceptionally in a serious way and celebrates it with extraordinary enthusiasm and delight.

Comparable Festivals around the World

Harvest Moon Festival is one of Korea’s significant festivals, celebrated with an enormous celebration all over the country. Be that as it may, there are numerous huge festivals celebrated to honor a Good Harvest, for example, the festival of Thanks Giving, which is celebrated to check a good harvest in America and Canada, yet the Harvest Moon Festival and Thanks Giving festival are totally unique in relation to one another as Chuseok is usually mistakenly translated as “Korean Thanksgiving.”

There are different festivals that celebrate a good harvest and pay homage to ancestors, like Pitru Paksha, where Hindus give homage to their ancestors, especially through food offerings, and Baisakhi, an Indian festival that celebrates the harvest.

The Tsukimi festival of Japan, which honors the autumn moon, is a variant of the Harvest Moon festival, just like the Mid-Autumn festival of China.

Comparative Festivals that honor the Ancestors: Spirit Festival, Obon Festival, and Mexico’s Day of the Dead.

Harvest Moon Festival: Celebrations

The Mid-Autumn Festival is an opportunity to partake in the fruitful reaping of rice, wheat, and different crops with food offerings made to honor the moon. Today, it famously fills in as an occasion for outside reunions among friends and family members to eat mooncakes and watch the Moon which represents a symbol of harmony and unity among people.

A significant part of celebrating the holiday is the carrying and decorating of brilliantly lit lanterns, lighting lanterns on towers, or floating sky lanterns. Another tradition including lanterns is to compose riddles on them and have others attempt to figure out the answers for these riddles which is a weapon approach to celebrating it.

Furthermore, when we are looking at celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival then how might we abandon heavenly mooncakes which are currently turned into a necessary part associated with this festival? In Chinese culture, a round shape symbolizes fulfillment and reunion. Hence, the sharing and eating of round mooncakes among relatives during this day of the festival implies the fulfillment and solidarity of relatives.

What’s more, it’s not only that mooncakes are the ones in particular which are served and offered on the occasion of this festival it is fully loaded with delicious Chinese cuisine. What’s more, one of the most well-known drinks of the festival is Cassia wine which is additionally referred to as reunion wine during the current day and you can see now that this wine is shared by individuals celebrating the festival with one another.

The festival is celebrated with numerous social or regional customs across China, among them, there are all a few rituals like consuming incense in reverence to deities including Chang’e who is considered the Moon Goddess is performed. Alongside them, a wide range of rituals is rehearsed across various regions.

On this day you will likewise notice the customary dragon or lion dances being performed particularly in Southern China. Also, you will see numerous performances and events happening all over China and across the world by the Chinese diaspora on this day which is exceptionally fun and entertaining.

In Korea, the day is seen as a national holiday, with individuals flocking to their hometowns to celebrate with their families. On this day, individuals celebrate the abundant harvest and pray for everybody’s kindness. Most individuals at the occasion visit their ancestors’ tombs and offer food and wine as a custom ritual and part of the celebration. The remainder of the day was loaded up with gift-giving and athletic events, for example, tug-of-war battles, archery contests, and wrestling matches.

The day additionally incorporates the arrangement of the customary Korean rice cake Songpyeon, which is eaten all through the festival and shared with family and friends.

You can likewise partake in the celebration by spreading awareness and celebrating the festival with Koreans on social media platforms, as well as learning more about their culture.

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