The Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节) is one of the most important annual festivals in China and it is also a day for family reunion. The festival takes place every year on the 15th day of the 8th Chinese lunar month. On this day, everyone gathers together to celebrate by eating moon cakes and appreciating the spectacular beauty of the full moon.
In 2017, the Mid-Autumn Festival falls on October 4. Get free Chinese moon cakes by taking any tour during Chinese Moon Festival (Oct.4 - Oct. 6, 2017)!
The time-honored Mid-autumn festival boasts a history of thousands of years. It was first celebrated to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. The root of it was in the tradition of moon worship in the Shang Dynasty. It is one of the three major annual festivals in China – the others are Chinese New Year and Dragon Boat Festival.
- Zhou Dynasty (1066 B.C. - 221 B.C.): A ceremony to greet winter and sacrifice to the moon goddess
- Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 A.D.): An increasingly prevailing festival
- Song Dynasty (960 - 1279 A.D.): An established festival
- Ming (1368 - 1644 A.D.) and Qing Dynasties (1644 – 1911 A.D.): One of the major festivals in China
See more about Mid-Autumn Festival history
The 5,000 years of history of this exotic land, China, contains secrets and mysteries of ages past. Mid-autumn festival is just one of the epitomes; the amazing culture is waiting for you to be unveiled. Learn more about China, enter 【Essence of China Tour】
Three Mid-autumn Festival Legends
- 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
How to Enjoy Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival
Mid-Autumn Festival traditions focus on the theme of thanksgiving and reunion. The full moon symbolizes unity, which resonates strongly in today’s fast-paced world. The most common traditions for this festival are eating moon cakes and gazing at the moon. Besides, ethnic minorities across China have their own unique customs.
Here is how you can slow down to enjoy the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival during your tour in China. 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
2017 Mid-Autumn Festival falls on October 4 (which is also during China’s National Day holiday week). 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.
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Temple of Heaven in Beijing
- 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 and start your tour
Simatai Great Wall in Beijing
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).
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.
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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.
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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.
See more about E'mei Mountain
Various Traditions Across Different Parts of China
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! >> Tailor a tour now!
Recommended China Autumn Tours
Travel in China during Chinese Moon Festival (Oct.4 - Oct.6, 2017) with us and enjoy free Chinese moon cake!
Free Mid-Autumn Festival Cards