The Mid-Autumn Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival? It’s likely many people have never heard of this festival before. It is a traditional festival celebrated in Chinese culture on the 15th of the 8th month on the lunar calendar, with a full moon at night. It celebrates the harvest of the crops in fall and the gathering of the family. Unlike the gathering of family members for Christmas, the Mid-Autumn Festival is more for the reunion of family and those missing from a hometown.


An important part of the Mid-Autumn Festival is the worship of the moon. It was believed by the ancient Chinese that the full moon on the 15th day of the 8th month is the representation of the unity of family and its harmony. Except for enjoying the view of the full moon, making and sharing moon cakes with friends and family is another essential tradition. The round shape of the moon cake symbolizes completeness and reunion in Chinese culture. Usually, the moon cake is cut into pieces and distributed to family members and friends, as one of customs for the festival. In addition, people also light lanterns to pray.

The Mid-Autumn Festival has its famous myth, the story of Chang’e and Houyi. Houyi was well known for his archery, as he shot down nine of the ten suns in order to save humanity and their crops from the heat the ten suns produced. One day, Houyi received an elixir of immortality from an immortal. In order to stay together with his wife, Chang’e, Houyi decided not to take the elixir and asked Chang’e to keep it. This was discovered by Peng Meng. Peng Meng threatened Chang’e while Houyi was out hunting. To save the elixir, Chang’e took the elixir and flew up to the sky, which separated Houyi and her forever. In order to be able to see her husband, Chang’e lived on the moon. Later, people commemorate Chang’e for her great sacrifice on the Mid Autumn Festival.

In the United States, there is no national celebration of this Chinese festival. Even though many live far away from their hometown in mainland China, many Chinese immigrants still celebrate this festival in some ways. As the old saying goes, “We wish each other a long life, so as to share the beauty of this graceful moonlight, even though [we are] miles apart.”

Image Source: