Top 16 Mid-Autumn Festival Fun Facts

Written by Sally Guo Updated Apr. 3, 2021

Mid-Autumn Festival is the second most important traditional festival in China, after the Chinese New Year. Here we are going to talk about 16 fun facts that you might not know about this traditional festival.

1. Mid-Autumn Festival also known as the Moon Festival and the Mooncake Festival.

The Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节 zhōng qiū jié) is also known by other names because of its associations with the full moon, moon cakes, and family reunions, such as Moon Festival (月亮节 yuè liàng jié), Mooncake Festival (月饼节 yuè bǐng jié), and Reunion Festival (团圆节 tuán yuán jié).

Since the festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month in autumn, it is also called as August Festival (八月节 bā yuè jié) or Autumn Festival (仲秋节zhòng qiū jié).

2. Mid-Autumn Festival Dates Change Every Year.

Mid-Autumn Festival always falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month when the moon is the roundest and brightest in the year. 

Usually, the Mid-Autumn Festival dates are distributed between early September and early October on the Gregorian calendar.

In 2024, the Moon Festival falls on September 17, Tuesday. 

3. Chinese Have a 3-Day Public Holiday during the Mooncake Festival.

The Mid-Autumn Festival was approved as a statutory holiday in 2008. Combined with a weekend break, Chinese people usually have a 3-day public holiday during the festival. 

In 2024, the Mid-Autumn holiday is from September 15 to 17. People like to spend time with their friends and family or go on a short trip.

You are advised to avoid traveling during this holiday for fewer tourists and a better experience. If you plan to tour China during this time, make sure you have all reservations done in advance or contact us for help.

4. Mid-Autumn Festival is a Time for Family Reunion.

The Mooncake Festival was a time for a family reunion, like the Chinese New Year.

Nowadays people are busy with their work and maybe don't have enough time to go back home. The 3-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday gives people a chance to meet their loved ones.

5. Chang E Flying to the Moon Is the Most Famous Story of the Moon Festival!

The legends of the Mid-Autumn Festival are rich, like the Jade Rabbit pounding herbal medicine, and Gu Gang Cuts the Ostmasths Tree.

The most widespread one is Chang'e flying to the moon. Chang'e swallowed an elixir and flew to the moon. Her husband, Hou Yi, displayed the fruits and Moon cakes in the yard and worshipped the Moon Goddess Chang'e on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month every year.

See more about the Mid-Autumn Festival stories.

6. The Mid-Autumn Festival Has a Long History of over 3,000 Years!

The Mid-Autumn Festival originated from celestial worship. It evolved from the moon worship from the Pre-Qin Period (narrow sense: 2070–221 BCE).

Moon worship, with a long history, is a kind of worship activity of the ancient people in some parts of China for the "Moon God". Read on the Mid-Autumn Festival History for more details.

7. Mooncake Festival Is Also Celebrated in Other Asian Countries.

The Mooncake Festival is not only celebrated in China, but also in other Asian countries like Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, and South Korea.

The festival has different names and celebrations in different countries. For example, the Mid-Autumn Festival is called the Lantern Festival in Singapore as people will light lanterns in the evening.

8. The Full Moon Does not Always Occur on Mid-Autumn Day.

Ordinary people usually think the moon is the brightest and roundest at the Mid-Autumn Festival. However, it depends on the moon's orbit around the earth.

The 15th day of the 8th lunar month is not guaranteed to be a full moon night, but the full moon is likely to occur within two days of the festival. Under the clearer sky of autumn, the moonlight is indeed more vivid.

9. The Moon Festival was Valentine's Day before.

In ancient times, the Mid-Autumn Festival was also considered Valentine's Day like the Qixi Festival (Double Seventh Day).

It was rooted in a legend of the old man under the moon (月老 yuè lǎo ), who is in charge of the love and marriage of all people through his red threads.

In ancient times, unmarried boys, girls, and their parents would worship the moon and pray to the old man for a good marriage on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Mid-Autumn Festival is a Valentine's Day
Young couple meet each other at the Mid-autumn Festival

10. The Name of China's Lunar Exploration Program Comes from the Moon Festival.

The Chinese Lunar Exploration Program is also known as the Chang'e Project after the Chinese moon goddess Chang'e.

The lunar probes, Chang'e 1 to Chang'e 5, and robotic lunar rovers, Yutu (玉兔, yùtù; lit. Jade Rabbit) and Yutu-2. 

11. Giving WeChat Red Envelopes Becomes a New Way of Celebration!

In ancient times, people like to give moon cakes, fruits, and ducks to friends and relatives as gifts.

Now the younger generation tends to celebrate it by sending Wechat red envelopes to their families and friends via their smartphones. There are over 1 billion digital red envelopes were sent to the Mid-Autumn Festival in 2015.

See more traditions on how Chinese people celebrate the Mid-autumn Festival.

12. Chinese Like to Admire the Moon on the Hill or by a Lake!

At the Mid-Autumn Festival, it's popular to appreciate the full moon. One of the best places to appreciate the brightest moon is usually climbing to the high places, like the roof and the top of a mountain.

The other one is walking by a lake to enjoy the moon and the beautiful reflection of the moon. For example, West Lake in Hangzhou, Elephant Trunk Hill at the bank of Li River, Victoria Park in Hong Kong, etc.

13.  Moon Cakes Are Only Eaten at the Mid-Autumn Festival.

In ancient times, moon cakes were a kind of snack food. Later, these cakes have been combined with the admiring moon, implying a family reunion.

Since the Ming Dynasty, moon cakes were only eaten at the Mid-Autumn Festival, which was the main offering of moon sacrifice popular among the people.

Mid-Autumn Festival - Mooncakes

14. The Whole Family Share One Moon Cake.

The moon cake, symbolizing completeness and reunion, is a must-eat food at the Mid-Autumn Festival. The right way to eat it is by sharing a mooncake with the whole family, cutting it into several pieces and everybody takes one.

Sharing the round moon cake among family members signifies the completeness and unity of families.

15. The Largest Mooncake was Heavier than a Suv!

The largest moon cake weighs 2,496.4 kg (5,502.74 lb). It was made by 15 professional chefs in three days, with a diameter of 2.57 m, in Shanghai, on 19 September 2013.

The largest moon cake was made of a total of 100 grams of oil, 300 kg of sugar, 500 kg of flour, 4000 egg yolks, and 2,300 kg of lotus seed paste.

16. Mooncakes Have Hundreds of Flavors!

Moon cakes typically have pastry skins and rich fillings stuffed inside, like bean pastes, yolks, nuts, and roast pork.

With the development of the times, in addition to many traditional flavors of mooncakes, there are more and more new flavors.

The most popular flavors are Five Kernel and Roast Pork, Lotus Seed Paste with Yolk, Sweet Bean Paste, Snow Skin, and Green Tea.

More about the Mid-Autumn Festival

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