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Mid-Autumn Festival 2013
Mid-Autumn Festival (Chinese: 中秋节), also called Chinese Moon Festival is one of the most important festivals for Chinese people (the other being the Spring Festival or the Chinese New Year) and it is an official holiday. It is the day for family reunion. It takes place at the 15th day of the eighth Chinese lunar month every year. The reason why people celebrating the festival is that it is the time when the moon is at its fullest and brightest in the whole year, and Chinese family members would like to gathering together eating moon cakes and appreciating the full moon.
2013 Mid-Autumn Festival will be on September 19.
Have a look at our Chinese Moon Festival greeting cards. It is free to send them to your friends and family members!
About Mid-Autumn Festival
Celebration of Mid-autumn festival has a long history. In ancient times, the emperors had the tradition of worshiping the Sun in spring, and the Moon in autumn. The word "Mid-Autumn" first appeared in the famous ancient book "Zhou Li" ... more details
Almost every traditional Chinese festival has a connection with legends. The most well-known stories of the Mid-Autumn Festival is Chang'e flying to the moon, Jade Rabbit making heavenly medicine, and Wu Gang chopping the cherry bay. ... more details
Gazing at the Moon is an ancient tradition from the Zhou Dynasty (around 500 BC) when people held ceremonies to welcome the full moon, with huge outdoor feasts of moon cakes, watermelons, apricots, apples, grapes and other fresh fruits. The popularity of this ancient tradition began ...more details
Mid-autumn Festival is celebrated all over the country in China and we introduce you the top 5 destinations to spend the mid-autumn festival. They are the Yellow Mountain, Elephant Trunk Hill, West Lake, Mount Lu, E'mei Mountain. ...more details
Top Things to Do during Chinese Moon Festival
Watching and Appreciating the Moon
In celebration of Mid-Autumn Festival, it’s an important traditional custom for Chinese people to watch and appreciate the glorious full moon during Chinese moon festival since ancient times, when the moon is at its brightest and roundest on this day. The custom of appreciating the moon, which originates from holding a memorial ceremony and offering sacrifices to the moon, started in the Wei and Jin dynasties and gradually became popular and prosperous in the Tang and Song dynasties. On that day, they prepared all kinds of fruits and moon cakes on tables in their courtyards when they appreciated the moon, praying for bless of the moon. At present, people still keep the tradition of appreciating the moon on Chinese moon festival. Those people who are away from home and can’t go back home that day will appreciate the moon with their family members who are thousands of miles away, hoping the moon can send their love, best wishes and greetings to family members.
The most recommendable places for appreciating the moon on Chinese moon festival mainly include Mount Lu, Mount Huang, Yangtze River, West Lake, Mount Emei, Dongting Lake and Elephant Trunk Hill, which can feast your eyes with various characteristics.
Eating Moon Cakes
Moon cake (月饼), plays an important and significant role in Chinese Moon Festival as an indispensable food that day. The round moon cakes, which were used as sacrificial offerings for the god of moon, are considered as the symbol of family reunion by people nowadays. The stuffing of sweet moon cakes generally include pine nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, crystal sugar, egg yolk, bean paste, lotus seed, peanuts, almonds and many other stuffing, which taste yummy but not greasy. On that day, Chinese people like to give moon cakes to their relatives and friends as presents, expressing their love and kind regards.
According to the legend, eating moon cakes as a celebration originates from the Tang Dynasty. In the reign of Emperor Tang Gaozu, the great imperator Li Jing successfully squashed revolts of the Huns and came back on August 15 of the Chinese lunar calendar. In celebration of his triumphant return, a businessman from Tubo offered a kind of cakes to the emperor. The emperor spoke highly of the cake and granted a share of the cakes to his ministers. From then on, the custom of eating moon cakes on Mid-autumn festival formed and follows so far. >> View details of Moon cakes.
Having a Reunion Dinner
Besides appreciating the moon and having moon cakes, having a family reunion dinner with family members is also an important activity for Chinese people. Family members no matter how far away from home will try their best to go back home and get together with their parents, enjoying a nice meal. During the meal, they may talk about their work or life, and the reunion dinner is full of love and warmth. Thus, the reunion dinner in the Moon Festival is a very good opportunity for family members to get together.
On the reunion dinner, there are some popular recommendable dishes that can satisfy your stomach, including crabs which are the most delicious during that period, taro which is said to exorcise evil spirits and remove ill fortune, pumpkin which is rich in vitamin A and B and is said to bring glorious health, river snails which are said to contribute to brighten eyes, steamed lotus root stuffed with sticky rice and osmanthus flower which are sour and sweet, old duck soup with the seed of Job's tears which can nourish yin for moistening dryness and strengthen the immune function of the human body and glutinous rice dumpling in sweet rice wine which symbolizes reunion and taste naturally sweet.
Playing with Lanterns
Mid-autumn festival ranks as one of China’s top three lantern festivals. Of course, playing with lanterns is a very popular activity on Moon Festival. Mid-autumn festival doesn’t boast such large-scale lantern shows as that of Lantern Festival. However, playing with lanterns brings great pleasure to children and families. Children are fond of making traditional lanterns which are made of paper and contain a candle inside or buying plastic ones with battery lighting, and then carry a lantern while going outside in the evening of the Moon Festival.
In some areas of China, people will make Kongming lanterns and then let them fly into the sky. Kongming lanterns can fly due to the buring candles’ heating the air inside lanterns. Kongming lanterns are believed to bring blessing and reunion. In some area of China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, there are some unique and simple lanterns, such as pomelo lantern, pumpkin lantern and orange lantern. People make those lanterns by emptying pomelos, pumpkins and oranges, and then carve out simple patterns and put a candle inside the hollowed pomelos, pumpkins or oranges. Those lanterns glimmer with elegant light. Some children like to put pomelos lanterns on the river and watch them float away.
Watching Tidal Bore in Qiantang
During Mid-autumn festival, in Zhejiang Province in the east of China, watching tidal bore ranks as a great event in celebration of the Moon Festival. The custom of watching the flood tide can date back to the Han Dynasty and enjoyed large popularity in the Song Dynasty. The great Qiantang Tide in Haining of Zhejiang, which is the global spectacular natural wonder, boasts a tidal range of about 8.5 meters from the 15th day to the 20th day of the 8th lunar month. Thus, the mid-autum festival period is one of the best periods to watch Qiantang tide. Each year, a great many tourists from many other places come to watch the flood Qiantang Tide during Mid-autumn festival.
Watching Fiery Dragon Dance in Hong Kong
Fiery dragon dance is a traditional characteristic custom on Mid-autumn festival in Hong Kong, with a history of over 100 years. Each year, beginning from the 14th day of the 8th lunar month, there are grand fiery dragon dance activities in Tai Hang in Causeway Bay, lasting for three nights. The fiery dragon is made by several materials. Its body is made of straw; head is made of rattan; teeth are made of toothed metal plate; eyes are made of electric torches and tongue is made of red wood chip. The 70-meter-long fiery dragon consists of 32 sections, which is divided by pearl grass, and its body is stuck with longevity joss sticks.
At the festive night, wide streets and narrow lanes of this area are very jubilant and boisterous with winding fluctuant fiery dragons dancing in the light and dragon drum music. More than 30,000 performers take turns to perform fiery dragon dance. People believe that fiery dragon dance can pursue good fortune and avoid disaster, praying for a harvest year.
Traveling in China during Mid-Autumn Festival
Transport during Chinese Moon Festival
Every year, several days before and after Mid-autumn festival, numerous Chinese people who live away from home usually return home for a family reunion in celebration of Mid-autumn festival, which brings much inconvenience to transport and accommodation. Thus, once you choose to travel during this period, you need to make adequate preparation before the trip, including booking tickets and hotels several days in advance, so as not to boil your trip. Especially in 2013, Mid-autumn festival holiday connects with China National Day Holiday which is a peak traveling period in China when hotels will raise prices and booking train flight tickets will be very difficult. Traveling to China during this period may be much more inconvenient. Thus, you’d better avoid this period or avoid those popular tourist destinations if you don’t like to see wall-to-wall people everywhere.
What to pack?
While traveling to China during Mid-autumn festival period, you need to bring long-sleeved coats and even sweaters in some areas in the north of China, for you may feel cold at night and cool in the day. In central China, you need to prepare long-sleeved coats and pants, for it is warm in the day and a little bit cool at night. In the south of China, due to the warm weather, generally, you only need to wear shorts and short-sleeved shirts. There may be some rainfall in some areas, thus, you need to bring umbrella with you.
Watch out for Poisonous Snakes and Noxious Insects Outdoors
In autumn, travelers who enjoy natural beauty in the wild should be care of snakes because snakes come out frequently in autumn. Snakes like to lurk in dense bush, the grassland, narrow stone crevices or by the river. Once you touch them inadvertently, they will attack you. Thus, you had better be more careful when you pass these areas where snakes like staying. However, if you are attacked by a poisonous snake, you should squeeze out venom in the first place and then go to the doctor.
Watch out for Pollen Allergy Outdoors
In autumn, a number of allergic diseases and respiratory illness may be caused by pollen of the flowers. Based on clinical medicine, there are over 200 kinds of pollen that can induce illness, such as allergy, bronchial asthma, rhinitis, pharyngitis, headache, dizziness and hypertension. Thus, when you travel in the wild in this season, you should pay extreme attention. You can’t pick these unknown wild flowers, and you need to wear a respirator if you are highly allergic to pollen.