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Chinese Festival - Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Moon Festival, originated in ancient times, the worship of celestial phenomena, and evolved from the ancient autumn Eve. It was very popular in Han Dynasty. It was established in the early Tang Dynasty and became popular after the Song Dynasty. Mid-Autumn Festival is a combination of autumn customs, and most of the festival elements it contains have their ancient origins. The Mid Autumn Festival uses a full moon to express people’s reunion. It is a place to commemorate the love of hometown and family, hope for harvest and happiness, and become a rich and valuable cultural heritage. At first, the festival of “Festival and month sacrifice” was the 24th solar Festival “autumnal equinox” in the Gandhi calendar. Later, it was adjusted to the 15th solar festival in the summer calendar.



The Mid-Autumn Festival is a trace of the ancient celestial phenomenon worship-the custom of respecting the moon. In the “autumn equinox” season of the twenty-four solar terms, it is the ancient “Moon Festival”, and the Mid-Autumn Festival is from the traditional “Moon Festival”. In traditional culture, the moon is the same as the sun, and these two alternating celestial bodies have become objects of worship by the ancestors. The Mid-Autumn Festival originated from the ancient people’s sacrifice to the moon and is the legacy and derivation of the custom of the Chinese nation to worship the moon. Sacrificing the moon is a very old custom in our country. It is actually a worship activity for the “moon god” by ancient people in some parts of our country in ancient times. According to textual research, the “Jiyue Festival” was originally set on the 24th solar term ” autumn equinox ” in the Gandhi calendar. However, due to historical development, the calendars were later merged and the lunar calendar (Xia calendar) was used. The fourteenth solar term “autumn equinox” is adjusted to the fifteenth day of August in the Xia calendar (lunar calendar). The Mid-Autumn Festival is a synthesis of autumn seasonal customs, and most of the festival factors it contains have ancient origins.


The Han Dynasty was a period of economic and cultural exchange and integration between the north and the south of China. The existing written records of the Mid Autumn Festival first appeared in the literature of the Han Dynasty. It was written in Zhou Li between the two Han Dynasties (the biography was written by Zhou GongDan, actually between the two Han dynasties). “Cold”, “Mid Autumn Festival”, “autumn equinox on the eve of the moon” activities. According to records, in the Han Dynasty, there were activities to respect the elderly during the Mid Autumn Festival or early autumn, and they were given coarse male cakes. There are also written records of Mid Autumn Moon appreciation in the Jin Dynasty, but it is not very common. In northern China, the Mid Autumn Festival in the Jin Dynasty was not very popular. There are also written records of Mid Autumn Moon appreciation in the Jin Dynasty, but it is not very common.
In Tang Dynasty, the custom of the Mid Autumn Festival was very popular in northern China. “The book of Emperor Taizong of Tang Dynasty” records “the Mid Autumn Festival on August 15”. The custom of admiring the moon in the Mid Autumn Festival was very popular in Chang’an of the Tang Dynasty. Many poets wrote poems reciting the moon. During the Mid Autumn Festival, combined with the fairy tales of Change flying to the moon, Wu Gang attacking Osmanthus fragrans, Yutu treating medicine, Yang Guifei incarnating the God of the moon, Tang and Ming’s emperors landing on the moon, it is full of romance.
During the Northern Song Dynasty, the Mid Autumn Festival has become a common folk festival. The 15th day of the eighth lunar month was officially designated as the Mid Autumn Festival. In literary works, there is a kind of seasonal food, such as “small cake, like chewing the moon, crisp and sweet”.
In Ming and Qing Dynasties, Mid Autumn Festival has become one of the main folk festivals in China. The secular mood of the Spring Festival is more and more intense. Utilitarian worship, prayer, and secular emotions and wishes constitute the main form of the Mid Autumn Festival. In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, “fruit cake must be round for sacrifice”, and every family must establish “position under the Moonlight” and “worship the moon” in the direction of the moon.


Since 2008, the Mid Autumn Festival has been listed as a statutory holiday in mainland China.
On November 25, 2020, the notice of the general office of the State Council on the arrangement of partial holidays in 2021 was issued. The Mid Autumn Festival in 2021 will be closed for three days from September 19 to 21. September 18 (Saturday).


(1)Burning lamp

On the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, there is a custom of burning lamps to help the moonlight. Nowadays, there is still a custom of using tiles to stack towers on the towers to light lamps. In the Jiangnan area, there is a custom of making light boats. Modern Mid-Autumn Festival lighting is more popular. Today’s Zhou Yunjin and He Xiangfei’s article “Experiencing Time and Events in Leisure Time” stated: “Guangdong Zhang Lantern is the most prosperous, and every family uses bamboo sticks to make lanterns more than ten days before the festival. Fruits, birds, animals, fish, and insects are made. And“Celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival”, painted various colors on paste-colored paper. The Mid-Autumn Night Lantern’s internal burning candles are tied to bamboo poles with ropes, erected on tile eaves or terraces, or small lamps are used to form glyphs or various shapes and hang On the heights of the house, it is commonly known as “Mid-Autumn Tree” or “Mid-Autumn Festival”. The lamp hanging in the home of wealth can be several feet high. The family gathers under the lamp to drink and enjoy, and ordinary people erect a flagpole and two lanterns. Also, take your own pleasure. The lights in the city are like the world of colored glaze. “The Mid-Autumn Festival of lanterns seems to be second only to the Lantern Festival in scale.

(2)Admire the moon

The custom of appreciating the moon comes from the sacrifice to the moon. Serious sacrifice has become a relaxed entertainment. It is said that the moon is the closest to the earth tonight. The moon is the largest, roundest, and brightest. Therefore, from ancient times to the present, people have the custom of drinking and enjoying the moon. The wife who returns home must return to her husband’s home every day to symbolize perfection and good luck.
admire the moon

(3)Guess lantern riddles

Mid-Autumn full moon night lanterns hanging in public places, many people have come together, guess who wrote the lantern riddles, young men and women because it is the most favorite activities while on these activities spread love stories, so the Mid-Autumn guess riddles It has also been derived from a form of love between men and women.
Guess lantern riddles


(4)Eat moon cakes

Moon cakes, also called moon cakes, harvest cakes, palace cakes, reunion cakes, etc., were the offerings for worshipping the moon god during the Mid-Autumn Festival in ancient times. Moon cakes were originally used as offerings to the moon god. Later, people gradually took the Mid-Autumn Festival and tasted moon cakes as a symbol of family reunion. Moon cakes symbolize reunion, and people regard them as festive food and use it to offer sacrifices to relatives and friends. Since its development, eating moon cakes has become a must-have custom for the Mid-Autumn Festival in various parts of the north and south of China. People eat moon cakes to show “reunion” on this day.
eat moon cakes

(5)Enjoy osmanthus wine

People often eat moon cakes to admire sweet-scented osmanthus during the Mid-Autumn Festival and eat various foods made of sweet-scented osmanthus, most common in cakes and candies.
On the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, looking up at the moon osmanthus, smelling bursts of cinnamon, drinking a cup of osmanthus honey wine, celebrating the sweetness of the family, has become a beautiful enjoyment in the festival. In modern times, people mostly use red wine instead.

(6)Vertical Mid-Autumn Festival

In some places in Guangdong, the Mid-Autumn Festival has a traditional custom called “Mid-Autumn Tree”. The tree is also erected, meaning that the lights will be erected high, so it is also called “Zhu Mid-Autumn”. With the assistance of their parents, children use bamboo paper to tie them into rabbit lanterns, carambola lanterns, or square lanterns. They are hung horizontally in short poles, and then erected on high poles, lifted high, and the colorful light shines, adding another one to the Mid-Autumn Festival view. Children compete with each other more to see who erects the taller one, the more erect, the most exquisite lanterns. At night, the city is lit up with lights like stars, competing with the moon in the sky to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival.

(7)Play with lantern

During the Mid-Autumn Festival, there are many game activities, the first is to play lanterns. Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the three major Lantern Festivals in my country. Of course, the Mid-Autumn Festival does not have a large-scale lantern festival like the Lantern Festival. Lanterns are mainly played between families and children. As early as the Northern Song Dynasty, ” Old Wulin Events ” recorded the Mid-Autumn Festival night festival customs, and there was an activity of putting “a little bit of red” lights into the river to drift and play. The Mid-Autumn Festival lanterns are mostly concentrated in the south. For example, at the Foshan Autumn Festival, there are various kinds of lanterns: sesame lamp, eggshell lamp, shaving lamp, straw lamp, fish scale lamp, chaff lamp, melon seed lamp, and bird, animal, flower and tree lamp, etc., which are amazing. In Nanning, Guangxi, in addition to various lanterns made of paper and bamboo for children to play, there are also simple grapefruit lanterns, pumpkin lanterns, and orange lanterns. The so-called grapefruit lamp is to hollow out the grapefruit, engrave a simple pattern, put on a rope, and light a candle inside, and the light is elegant. Pumpkin lanterns and orange lanterns are also made by digging out the flesh. Although simple, but easy to make, it is very popular. Some children float the grapefruit lamp into the pond and river for games. There are simple Huqiu lanterns in Guangxi. They are made of six bamboo strip circles. The lights are pasted with white gauze paper, and candles are inserted in them. They are hung on the table for worshipping the moon and can also be used by children. Nowadays, many areas in Guangdong and Guangxi are setting up lantern festivals on Mid-Autumn Festival nights, making large modern lanterns illuminated by electric lights, and various new lanterns made of plastic for children to play, but they lack the simple beauty of the old lanterns.
Play with lantern

(8)Burning bucket incense

On the night of the Mid-autumn festival in Jiangsu, you will burn bucket incense. There is gauze around the incense bucket, drawing the scenery of Shangyue Palace. There are also incense buckets woven with incense sticks, with paper-bound stars and colorful flags inserted on them. Shanghai folks also have the custom of burning incense buckets.

(9)Worship ancestors

The custom of the Mid-Autumn Festival in Chaoshan area of ​​Guangdong. On the afternoon of the Mid-Autumn Festival, the halls of each family set up ceremonies, placed the ancestors’ gods, and presented various offerings. After the sacrifice, the sacrifices are cooked one by one, and the family eats a sumptuous dinner.

(10)Fire Dragon Dance

The fire dragon dance is the most traditional custom of the Hong Kong Mid-Autumn Festival. From the evening of the 14th of the eighth lunar month every year, the Tai Hang area of ​​Causeway Bay has held grand fire dragon dances for three consecutive nights. This fire dragon is more than 70 meters long and is tied into a 32-section dragon body with pearl grass, filled with longevity incense. On the night of the event, in the streets and alleys of this district, the undulating fire dragons danced for joy under the lights and dragon drum music, which was very lively.

(11)Listen to incense

Listening to incense is an ancient Mid-Autumn Festival custom in Taiwan. In ancient times, a girl who wanted to get a good couple first burned incense in front of the gods at home to worship, tell her thoughts, and pray for the gods to indicate the direction of listening to the incense, and then follow the directions on the road accidentally or overheard the first words, keep them in mind and go home Throwing bamboo shoots, judge to explain the good or bad of the divination. For example, divination is a life-long event, and when you hear the words eating cookies, blooming flowers, and full moon, it means a good omen and happy events are near.

(12)Playing Rabbit

The beginning of playing the rabbit god was around the end of the Ming Dynasty, and it was popular in Beijing. Ming Dynasty Ji Kun (surviving round 1636)’s “Remaining Manuscript of the Flower King Pavilion”: “The Mid-Autumn Festival in Beijing is mostly in the shape of a muddy rabbit, with the crown sitting like a human, and the children worship it.” In the Qing Dynasty. , Cacalia Lord functionality has been transformed into the Mid-Autumn Festival on toys for children. The rabbit master is made of mud. The rabbit head has a human body, draped in armor, with a flag on his back, painted on his face, painted on his body, sitting or standing, or pounding a pestle or riding a beast, with two big ears erect, both solemn and harmonious. “Yanjing Chronicles”: “Every Mid-Autumn Festival, the clever people of the city use loess to tuft the toad and rabbit statue for sale, which is called the rabbit.” The Qing court called the jade rabbit in the middle of the month as the moon king. However, the people in Beijing call it There. In the folklore around Beijing, the Mid-Autumn Festival offering sacrifices to the Lord Rabbit is really lacks dignity and more than games.
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