Traditions of 2013 Mid-autumn festival Must know
The Mid-Autumn Festival (Chinese: 中秋节), also called the Chinese Moon Festival, is one of the most important annual festivals for the Chinese people (in addition to the Spring Festival and Chinese New Year) and is an official holiday. Perhaps most importantly, it is a day for family reunion. This lively festival takes place on the 15th day of the 8th Chinese lunar month every year, so its exact date by the Western calendar is different every time. Full of joy and happiness, friends and loved ones gather to celebrate a time when the moon is at its fullest and brightest of the whole year, and everyone gathers together to delight in eating moon cakes and appreciating the spectacular beauty of the full moon.
Gazing at the Moon
Gazing at the Moon is an ancient tradition from the Zhou Dynasty (around 500 BC) when people held ceremonies to welcome the full moon, with huge outdoor feasts of moon cakes, watermelons, apricots, apples, grapes and other fresh fruits. The popularity of this ancient tradition began to grow during the Tang and Song Dynasties when people of high rank held banquets in their big courtyards.
They drank fine wine, watched the moon and listened to music. Common people who could not afforded as big parties as the rich would lay some food such as moon cakes and fruits on a table in the courtyard and pray to the moon for a good harvest. This underwent a great rise during the Song Dynasty, and historical documents tell about mid-autumn night in the capital, where people would stream to the night markets and together with their families admire the beauty of the full moon. There are also many classic songs and well-known verses about this tradition.
Eating Moon Cake
Eating moon cakes while watching the full moon is an important part of the mid-autumn festival in China, and is more like a symbol of family unity. At the very beginning, the moon cakes were served as a sacrifice to the Moon. The words moon cake first appeared in the Southern Song Dynasty, even though, at that time, the moon cakes were not round. Nowadays, moon cakes are given as presents to loved ones and it represent people’s wishes to be together during the mid-autumn festival.