Every year, on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese lunar calendar (September - October), it is a big day across much of East Asia.
Families will gather together for dinner, spherical fruits like pears, grapes, pomegranates, and ect., will be out of stock, people will be out for the traditional performances, lanterns will be everywhere, and of course, all flavors of mooncakes you can think of to the heaven will be sold!
Yes! That’s because it is the second most important festival in East Asia after Chinese New Year, the Mid-Autumn Festival. It also is known as the Moon Festival or the Mooncake Festival.
As some say, “When in Rome, do as Romans do,” so read on to see how to celebrate and enjoy the festival like a local and won’t feel opt out.
Begin the journey: Worshipping & Gazing at the Moon
Image by MGR Online
Traditionally, on the Mid-Autumn Festival, Chinese enjoy the Moon with family as they believe it is the symbol of family reunion.
Mothers would cook at home and families would enjoy dinner together, or dine at restaurants is also popular lately.
After dinner, every family will put a table of fruits, mooncakes, incense, and candlesticks outside their house or in their courtyard facing towards the moon. Worshipping the moon and wishing for good fortune to come, indeed pray for a good harvest as in the past.
Sadly, the worshipping tradition is disappearing. It is rare to see this ritual in China big cities, only old town or tourist cities keep the practice these days.
Yet, the practice of gazing and appreciating the moon remains.
Image by thebeijinger
People like to find a place that offers a great view of the moon, commonly a waterside, a rooftop, a balcony, or even on a mountain, and enjoy the beautiful golden full moon with friends and family with the music on.
Especially for lovers, they usually spend time indulging the moon together or even set their wedding on the day.
According to the Chinese love story, it is the only day that Hou Yi and Chang’e, the romantic legend of the Mid-Autumn Festival can happily reunite.
Therefore, people believe if couples pray for their love to the moon, they will have a happy and peaceful relationship.
Now you know what to do, grab someone’s hands and watch the moon!...!?
Rock the activity: Carnivals & Lanterns display
Image by Prodijee
It is almost impossible to enjoy the Mid-Autumn festival without the kickstart of the carnivals!
Carnival is the most highly-anticipated event in this China Moon festival, with the opening ceremony of Official Street Light-up, dragon dance performance, traditional dance, multicultural songs, games, and street foods!
This is not only held in mainland China but all over the world! There is the artistic flair at every single Chinatown!
There are 2 things that people should not miss here:
1. Dragon dance performance
Image by Night Safari
It is generally believed that Chinese Dragons are luck-bringers.
Having a dragon dance at the beginning of the festival is meant to welcome the good fortune and prosperity to anyone to join the festival.
They also believe that the dragons dance will scare away the evil spirits that want to harm them or their family.
Coming to this festival is your opportunity to see one of the biggest spectacular firework displays in your life!
The fireworks usually light up at the end of the carnival so, line up for the grand final!
Children love making colorful paper lanterns with families in different shapes such as, resemble animals, plants, flowers, or even geometry with the painting on.
The most popular one is a plain, globe-shaped lantern with a candle inside, like a super moon! They hang them on the trees, in their house, everywhere.
Globalization has come and gone as lantern trends, many cute cartoon icons including Hello Kitty, Minions, Pikachu, and more have become more and more favorable among young children.
Candles are used to light up the lanterns but due to the modern safety concern, a small battery powered has been replaced.
Nowadays, you can see the whole cities full of froot loops-lanterns both on the ground and up on the sky, especially in Hong Kong and mainland China during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
They even have the Official Street Light-up!
Kongming lantern - it is a paper lantern which can fly because of the burning candle in the middle heats the air in the lantern. People write their wishes on the lanterns and let them fly up into the sky, hoping the moon will hear their voices and make their wishes come true.
Unfortunately, the practice of Kongming lantern is forbidden in Hong Kong because they pose a fire risk.
You can still enjoy it in China so, get yourself ready!
Eat locally: Mooncakes
In Autumn, it will be impossible not to notice mooncakes.
Mooncakes are the must-eat Mid-Autumn food. It is a Chinese pastry comes in round shape like the moon itself, represents reunion and happiness.
People will cut mooncakes into pieces equal to the numbers of family members and enjoy eating it together.
The fillings in mooncakes are varied, but the common one is salty egg yolks stuffed with a paste made from lotus seeds or beans.
The market is much more diverse these days, producers are increasingly adapted to modern tastes.
The multinational brand like Starbucks makes mooncakes with various fillings such as yuzu truffle, chocolate, green tea, or even cream cheese.
Even the ice-cream company like Haagen-Dazs is jumping in on the game, introducing ice-cream mooncakes and ice-cream-sandwich mooncakes in essence.
While you are deciding whether to join our program and rock in China, let me enjoy my favorite mooncakes and gazing at the moon.
If you have any tips or suggestions on mid-Autumn festival, please comment down below.