Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, usually in October in Gregorian calendar. The festival has a long history. In ancient China . the Chinese people usually invite friends and relatives to hold family reunion feasts at night. After that, they sacrifice moon cakes, fruits and wine to the full moon at the courtyards.
The Chinese people usually call it ‘Zhongqiu’ (Mid-autumn). The word is firstly found in the famous ancient book “Zhou Li” (The Zhou Rituals, a classic of the Confucianism telling the rituals in the Zhou Dynasty). However, the festival was not officially celebrated as a tradition until the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). In the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, it grew to be a major festival of China.
There are many beautiful legends about the moon in China. the most popular one tells how a goddess named Chang’e ascended to the moon. . Explained the role of the Old Man on the Moon, the Divine Match-maker. The Chinese believed that marriages were made in Heaven but prepared on the moon. The Old Man on the Moon tied the feet of young men and women with red cords for marriage. Thus a maiden made offerings and prayed to him during the Mid-Autumn Festival, hoping that some day she would ride in the red bridal sedan chair.
The moon looks extremely round, big and bright on the 15th day of each lunar month. People selected the August 15 to celebrate because it is a season when crops and fruits are all ripe and weather pleasant. On the Mid-Autumn Festival, all family members or friends meet outside, putting food on tables and looking up at the sky while talking about life. How splendid a moment it is! For generations, moon cakes have been made with sweet fillings of nuts, mashed red beans, lotus-seed paste or Chinese dates, wrapped in a pastry. Sometimes a cooked egg yolk can be found in the middle of the rich tasting dessert. People compare moon cakes to the plum pudding and fruit cakes which are served in the English holiday seasons. The Chinese believe in praying to the moon god for protection, family unity, and good fortune. The round “moon cakes” eaten on this festival are symbolic of family unity and closeness. Pomelos are also eaten on this day. The Chinese word for “pomelo” or “grapefruit” is yu, which is homophonous with the word for “protection,” yu, expressing the hope that the moon god give them protection. Moon gazing is another essential part of this festival.
In China and throughout many Asian countries people celebrate the Harvest Moon on the 15th day of the eighth month of their lunar calendar. The date in the Western calendar changes annually. This year, the Mid-Autumn festival falls on Wednesday, September 22, 2010.

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