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Chinese Moon Festival

Chinese Moon Festival

The Chinese Moon Festival will fall during the 8th month and the 15th day based on the Chinese lunar calendar. This is also called the Mid-autumn festival and it happens to be one of the biggest events for Chinese culture right after the Chinese New Year. The name comes from the day that it is celebrated on which is often in the middle of autumn. The reason that it is referred to the Moon Festival as well is because it is during this time that the moon is the roundest as well as brightest during this month.

During the event, the people take a single day off which is considered part of the weekend. However, it may not always be scheduled on the day of, but the day after and it may not be on a weekend.

This is actually a custom that was inherited and based on moon sacrifices. Ancient Chinese had noticed that the moon changes were based on seasons, as well as harvest times. So, in order to show thanks and celebrate harvest times for the moon, they offered up sacrifices during autumn. This goes back to the Zhou era and was done by the royal classes during the equinox. It was during this time that the custom had no special background and it would be during the Tang and Sui eras that the moon sacrifice and appreciation ceremony began to include the common people. The common people expressed faith more than royal classes, and so the celebration wasn’t always held during the equinox. Based on the lunar calendar, it was held in August, which was a day that close to the equinox with a full moon and it was a much better selection for a fixed date.

When it comes to the actual celebration, it was based on legends such as the one of Chang E who to protect the elixir of her husband, she drank it and then went to the moon. Then there is other legends such as Wu Gang who chopped down the laurel tree, The jade rabbit who made medicine, and Zhu Yuamzhang who lead the moon cake uprising.

It is during this day that people will get together and offer sacrifices to the moon, and eat moon cakes, express feelings towards friends as well as family members who are far away and appreciate the moon. Besides, these there are many other customs such as the lion and dragon dances, playing lanterns, and some ethnic customs such as stealing fruits and vegetables of the Dong people and chasing the moon from the Mongolians.

Moon cakes are a specialty food made for this day. The cakes are sacrificed to be an offering to the moon and they are also ate to celebrate. The cakes come in many different flavors and they will always be round which is supposed to be based on family reunions, so it is quite easy to see how moon cakes under a full moon is going to make a person miss someone. Now, those celebrating hand the cakes to people to wish them a happy and long life.