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Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节),or Chinese Moon Festival, is one of the three major annual occasions in China (the others are Chinese New Year and Dragon Boat Festival) and it takes place on the 15th day of the 8th Chinese lunar month.

As a time for families to be together, Mid-Autumn Festival’s typical food is moon cake which is round and symbolizes reunion. Families and friends gather together to celebrate by eating moon cakes and appreciating the spectacular beauty of the fullest and brightest moon.

In 2018, the Mid-Autumn Festival falls on September 24. Get free Chinese moon cakes by taking any tour during Chinese Moon Festival (Sep.22 - Sep. 24, 2018)!

The History Behind the 3000-Year-Old Festival

The time-honored Mid-autumn Festival boasts a history of thousands of years, which has gradually developed and formed. It was first celebrated to give thanks for a bountiful harvest.

  • The ancient emperors used to worship and offer sacrifice to the moon in autumn. Afterwards, noblemen and scholars would admire and appreciate the bright moon on Mid-Autumn Festival, expressing their thoughts and feelings.

See more about Mid-Autumn Festival History.

Legends of Mid-autumn Festival

  • Love Story between Chang’E and Hou Yi – Tragic but Romantic
  • The Jade Rabbit Mashing Herbs on the Moon
  • An Immortality-Obsessed Man Cutting a Tree on the Moon

See more about Mid-Autumn Legends.

How to Enjoy Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival customs focus on the theme of thanksgiving and reunion.  The most common traditions for this festival are eating moon cakes and appreciating the moon. Besides, ethnic minorities across China have their own unique customs.

Here’s how you can slow down to enjoy the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival during your tour in China. Learn more about China, enter 【Essence of China Tour】. Do what Chinese people do to explore the broad and profound culture of China!

  • Appreciate the Bright Full Moon
  • Reunite with Your Family
  • Eat Moon Cakes
  • Light and Display Chinese Mid-Autumn Lanterns
  • Enjoy Fiery Dragon Dances
  • Watch the Tidal Bore in Qiantang

Do you want to participate in these festival activities? We can help you create a trip.

Eight Facts You Didn’t Know about Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

No. 1: The festival has only one name? No!

No. 2: Amazing Role of Moon Cakes: Secret Weapons

No. 3: Romantic Festival - the Second Chinese Valentine’s Day

No. 4: Full Moon - Does Not Definitely Occur on Mid-Autumn Festival

No. 5: Moon cakes- Luxury-Priced Delicacies

No. 6: China - NOT the Only Country to Celebrate

No. 7: A  three-day Public Holiday During the Festival

No. 8: New Trend: Celebrate Virtually, by Sending Digital Red Envelopes

There must be more hidden facts about the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, just contact our travel advisers to start your discovery trip in China!

Where to Travel During Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

2018 Mid-Autumn Festival falls on September 24. Autumn is the best time to visit China. The temperatures throughout the country are milder compared with the extremes in winter and summer. Therefore, the most glorious thing is to spend time out of doors and enjoy the sight of golden autumn.

The customs of Mid-Autumn Festival vary across China, there are different specialties and celebrations. Why not start your tour in China by exploring the mystery of Mid-Autumn Festival? You can have free Chinese moon cakes, if you tour in Chinese Moon Festival.

Top Destinations For Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

Tongli Water Town in Shanghai

  • Well Preserved, not so Commercialized and Crowded
  • Tuisi Garden (UNESCO World Heritage Site) : Built 1885–1887 during the Qing dynasty
  • 49 Stone Bridges: There are 49 stone bridges, of varying styles, joining 7 islands created by 15 rivers and 5 lakes. Each bridge has a poetic name.
  • Gondola Trip: The waterways provide a major form of transport in Tongli. So you can take a gondola from Tuisi Garden to the Three Bridges.

Start you tour in Tongli.

Simatai Great Wall in Beijing

  • Historic: The only part of the Great Wall that retained the ancient style of Ming Dynasty in China.
  • Challenging Hiking Experience: Lying on the undulating Yan Mountains, the eastern section rises and falls along the peaks with the steepest part up to 80 degrees!
  • Breath-taking Scenery: A natural dividing line, Yuanyang Lake (Simatai reservoir) at the bottom of the valley; 16 watchtowers of varying styles along the wall, the whole view of Yan Mountain as well as Beijing city, and the rare sense of beauty at night.
  • Surrounding Resorts: Near Gubeikou Great Wall and Gubeikou Town (A Green Ancient Town)
  • Explore Simatai Great Wall.

Temple of Heaven in Beijing

Temple of Heaven
  • Two Themes of the Architecture Style: In heaven and on earth.
  • Special Layout: A semi-circle in the north and a semi-rectangle in the south – important belief in ancient China that the heaven is round and the earth rectangular.
  • Ancient Sacrificial Buildings: Altar of Prayer for Good Harvest; Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest; Imperial Hall of Heaven

See more about Temple of Heaven

Zhangjiajie – Grand Canyon of Hunan Province

  • World's Longest and Highest Glass-bottom Bridge: Spanning two cliffs in the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon area, it is 430 meters (1,410 feet) long and 6 meters (20 feet) wide, hovering over a 300-meter (984-foot) vertical drop.
  • Waterfall Wonders: Spectacular sight of various waterfalls, such as spray waterfalls, shade waterfalls, line waterfalls, fog-rolling waterfalls
  • Chinese Minority Customs: Zhangjiajie Old Courtyard is a Tujia ethnic minority courtyard residence which was built in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Let's explore Zhangjiajie and glass bridge.

Fenghuang Ancient City in Hunan Province

  • Historical Site: It dates back to 1704 (Qing Dynasty)
  • Buildings of Ancient Features: Diaojiaolou which are unique wooden houses built along the river bank, red rock town walls, palace-style halls and residences,  etc.
  • Meeting of Cultures: It marks the dividing line between the Han people on the central plains and the minority inhabited southwestern region.
  • Boat Cruise: Take a boat cruise along Tuojiang River – a way to enjoy the beauty of Diaojiaolou buildings and get close to local life.

See more about Fenghuang Ancient City and Zhangjiajie and start your tour

Humble Administrator Garden (Zhuozheng Garden) in Suzhou

  • One of China’s Top Four Gardens (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Largest Garden in Suzhou: It is very large (nearly 52,000 square meters or 13 acres). It is divided into three respective gardens: Central Garden, Western Garden, and Eastern Garden.
  • Long History: It was built around 1509AD, during the Ming Dynasty, by the imperial inspector.
  • Delicate Layout: Pools, rockeries, islets, bamboo groves, pines, pavilions, and corridors.

See more about Humble Administrator Garden

Elephant Trunk Hill in Guilin

  • Elephant Trunk Shape Hill: It is named after its shape, a huge elephant, siphoning up water from the river below (the Li River).
  • Water Moon Cave: Situated between the elephant's trunk and its torso is a large cave which is said to resemble a full moon drifting on the water, therefore it is named Water Moon Cave.
  • Other Interesting Attractions: Puxian Pagoda, Hongfeng Temple and another  cave called Elephant Eye Cave.

See more about Elephant Trunk Hill

E'mei Mountain in Sichuan Provinc

  • One of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains in China (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • First Buddhist Temple in China: The beautiful atmosphere at the summit of E’mei Mountain is home to the first Buddhist temple in China.
  • Historical Site: It was built in the 1st century A.D.
  • Mountain Climbing: E'mei Mountain extends over more than 200 kilometers and the height of its summit reaches 3099 meters above sea level.

Let's see more about E'mei Mountain and Pandas

Travel Tips in Autumn in China

  • Transport and Accommodation: Book in Advance During Peak Seasons
  • Packing Suggestions: Different Across China Due to Weather Variation
  • Be careful of Poisonous Snakes and Noxious Insects Outdoors
  • Be Careful of Pollen Allergies
  • Best Place to Enjoy the Full Moon

We can also tailor-make a tour based on your needs and requirements, which can save you time, money, and trouble. Please feel free to tell us your tour ideas! >> Create a tour now!

Recommended China Autumn Tours

Travel in China during Chinese Moon Festival (Sep.22 - Sep. 24, 2018) with us and enjoy free Chinese moon cake!

Free Mid-Autumn Festival Cards

Mid-autumn Festival Card Moon  Festival Card Mid-autumn Festival Card
Mid-autumn Festival Fish Card Moon  Festival Lake Card Mid-autumn Festival Sky Card
Mid-autumn Festival Lantern Card Mid-autumn Festival Grassland Card Mid-autumn Festival Big Moon Card
Mid-autumn Festival moon cake card Mid-autumn Festival Temple of Heaven Card Mid-autumn Festival Chang'e Card