In China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Vietnam, a holiday called Mid-Autumn Festival (zhōngqiū jié 中秋节) is being celebrated today (Thursday, September 19th).
So pick up the moon-cake (yuèbing月饼) and nibble on one, two or five while we give a brief history of the festival.
Mid-Autumn Festival is always celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese calendar, and it fluctuates between September and October in the Gregorian calendar that most Westerners follow.
It’s a holiday that dates back all the way to ancient times in China! It’s a really old holiday and tradition.
A comparison of Mid-Autumn Festival to Americans would be Thanksgiving. It is a celebration of the upcoming harvest and an appreciation of the full moon. The basic idea behind Mid-Autumn Festival is to reconnect with family and friends, give thanks, and hope for better fortunes. Mid-Autumn Festival has also traditionally been associated with match-making, which all-in-all is serious business in China. As you can see in this previous post: Marriage Market.
Traditions include eating moon-cakes and eating a lot of delicious food with your family. At night you may release a lantern into the sky and watch it float away. You will also gaze at the moon, knowing that the relatives or loved ones that didn’t make it to dinner are staring at the same moon as you. Some areas also burn incense.