22 Jul

With a 3,000-year history of emperors worshipping the moon for abundant harvests, the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival, is China's second-most important holiday after Chinese New Year.

With a full moon at night, the festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to mid-September to early October on the Gregorian calendar. The Chinese believe that on this day, which also happens to be harvest time in the middle of Autumn, the moon is at its brightest and fullest size.

Lanterns of various sizes and shapes are carried and displayed as symbolic beacons for prosperity and good fortune. During this festival, mooncakes, a rich pastry filled with sweet bean or lotus seed paste, are traditionally served.

The festival was a time to honour the moon with food offerings after a successful rice and wheat harvest. Eating mooncakes and gazing at the moon, which is a symbol of peace and unity, is still a tradition for outdoor gatherings of friends and relatives today. It is common for government offices, banks, and schools to close for an extra day during the year of a solar eclipse to enjoy the extended celestial celebration. Many people also love to consume garden mooncake during this time to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in the gardens.

Carrying lanterns that are brightly lit is an important part of the holiday celebrations. Handcrafted lantern-making has declined in modern times due to the availability of mass-produced plastic lanterns that often depict internationally recognised characters such as Pokémon's Pikachu, Disney characters, Naruto, Angry Birds, Ben 10, Doraemon, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Hello Kitty.

The preparation and sharing of mooncakes is one of the festival's most enduring traditions. Another popular feature of the Mid-Autumn Festival is mooncakes. In Chinese culture, a round shape represents completion and reunion. Sharing and eating round mooncakes among family members during the festival week symbolises the completeness and unity of families. Mooncakes are traditionally made in some parts of China on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival. The mooncakes would be cut into pieces and distributed by the senior household member to each family member, symbolising a family reunion. In modern times, the traditional practise of making mooncakes at home has given way to the more common practise of giving mooncakes to family members, though the meaning of maintaining familial unity has not changed.

More about Mid-Autumn Festival - https://www.chinahighlights.com/festivals/mid-autumn-festival.htm

Although most mooncakes are only a few centimetres in diameter, imperial chefs have created mooncakes with designs of Chang'e, cassia trees, and the Moon-Palace pressed into the surface. The number 13 represents the 13 months in a full Chinese lunisolar year, and one tradition is to stack 13 mooncakes on top of one another to resemble a pagoda. The spectacle of making enormous mooncakes continues in modern China.

* The email will not be published on the website.