The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

The 8th month, the 15th day of the Chinese Han calendar and Vietnamese calendar is celebrated as the Mid Autumn Festival. This is typically a harvest festival which is celebrated in China and Vietnam with great enthusiasm and splendour. Hong Kong and Taiwan also consider this day as a public holiday.

Though the festival started in 16th century BC, it gained popularity in 7th century AD. Through the years, the tradition has been continued to this day.

Considered as the second most important festival by the Chinese, these are several stories and legends that mark the origin of this holiday. While they all are an interesting read, we’re putting down one that we in particular find interesting.

As the myth goes, it was about a great archer called Hou Yi who was in love with a woman named Chang’e. One morning when 10 suns rose in the sky, Hou Yi shot down 9 of them and left one for light. He was hailed as a hero and the gods gave him an elixir for eternal youth. He did not drink it as he wanted to be a mortal with Chang’e.

One day Peng meng broke into Chang’e’s house when Hou Yi was away and forced Chang’e to give him the elixir. She drank the elixir to keep it away from Peng meng. As she turned immortal, she flew into the moon where she would reside as close as possible to Hou Yii. When Chang’e found out, he was greatly saddened and he would leave Chang’e’s favourite sweets and moon cake out on the 15th of every 8th Lunar month. People saw him doing this and joined in his practice.

This is how the Mid Autumn festival was started.

The Mid Autumn festival is known by many names such as the moon festival, harvest moon festival, Mooncake festival, lantern festival, reunion festival etc. The festival is a celebration of mainly 3 concepts – Gathering of loved ones such as friends and family, thanksgiving for food & the harvest and, praying for things such as a spouse, having a child and having a long and healthy life.

In today’s day, it is celebrated with lanterns, sky lanterns, moon cakes, Cassia wine, pomegranates, grapes, melons oranges peaches etc.

Games such as ‘Ascent to heaven’, ‘Descent into the garden’ etc. are played by the locals.

This time is a great choice for people who are looking for wedding and marriage dates.

The entire spectacle is one of beauty as there is a full moon and the streets and skies are lit by colourful lanterns. It is a truly wonderful experience, one we hope that you get to witness at least once during your travels.

 

Source links –

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mid-Autumn_Festival

http://www.chinahighlights.com/festivals/mid-autumn-festival.htm

 

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