农历 Chinese lunar calendar
满月 full moon
秋分前后的满月 harvest moon
赏月 appreciating the moon; moon gazing
家人团圆 family reunion
The festival was a time to enjoy the successful reaping of rice and wheat with food offerings made in honor of the moon.
Today, it is still an occasion for reunions for family and relatives or friends to eat mooncakes and watch the full moon, a symbol of harmony and unity.
Mid-Autumn Festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar with full moon at night.
The moon is the brightest and roundest on this day which means family reunion.
- Having DinnerTogether 共进晚餐
As the Mid-Autumn Festival represents the reunion of families, families will have dinner together on that night. People who don’t have time to stay with their parents will try their best to go home to at least have dinner together.
In the past, mothers would cook delicious food at home and families would spend some happy time together. Nowadays, many families tend to have dinner at a restaurant rather than cook at home. Therefore, famous restaurants can be fully booked on the Mid-Autumn Festival night.
- Eating Mooncakes 食用月饼
A mooncake is a traditional Chinese pastry.It is made from wheat flour and sweet/salty stuffing. It’s a symbol of family reunion, and the cake is traditionally cut into pieces that equal the number of people in the family.
- Appreciating the Moon 赏月
In Chinese beliefs, the full moon is the symbol for a family reunion. Many famous ancient poets wrote poems about the moon and expressed their homesickness. When people look at the moon, it reminds them of their families and homeland.
Chinese people like to find the best place that offers a great view of the moon, such as the roof, a balcony, a mountaintop, or a lakeside.
- Displaying lanterns 挂灯笼
Making colorful lanterns is a happy activity between families and children. The lanterns have different shapes and can also resemble animals,plants, or flowers. Children love making colorful lanterns. They make them in different shapes to be hung in trees or houses, or floated on rivers. Parks will also hang up colorful lanterns, which provide a beautiful view at night.They also make Kongming lanterns, which can fly because the burning candles heat the air in the lantern. People write good wishes on the lanterns and let them fly up into the sky.
- Giving Gifts 赠予礼物
It’s very popular to give gifts to friends and relatives during the Mid-Autumn Festival. During the festival, people will pay short visits to friends or relatives, taking gifts with them. Companies also like to give a gift to every staff member. The most popular and common gifts are mooncakes and fruit.
Most mooncakes have a pastry skin enveloping a sweet, dense filling.
Traditional mooncakes have an imprint on top consisting of the Chinese characters for «longevity» or «harmony», as well as the name of the bakery and the filling inside.
The sharing and eating of round mooncakes among family members during the festival signify the completeness and unity of families.
Literature about Mid-Autumn Festival
How rare the moon, so round and clear!
With cup in hand, I ask of the blue sky,
«I do not know in the celestial sphere
What name this festive night goes by?»
I want to fly home, riding the air,
But fear the ethereal cold up there,
The jade and crystal mansions are so high!
Dancing to my shadow,
I feel no longer the mortal tie.
She rounds the vermilion tower,
Stoops to silk-pad doors,
Shines on those who sleepless lie.
Why does she, bearing us no grudge,
Shine upon our parting, reunion deny?
But rare is perfect happiness–
The moon does wax, the moon does wane,
And so men meet and say goodbye.
I only pray our life be long,
And our souls together heavenward fly!