11 Mid-Autumn Festival Facts You Should Know
1. The date of Mid-Autumn Festival changes every year.
Mid-Autumn Festival is on the 15th day of the 8th Chinese lunar month. The date of the festival in the Gregorian calendar changes every year, but it is usually in September or October.
See also When is Mid-Autumn Festival?
2. The 3-day public holiday is a travel peak.
The Mid-Autumn Festival fact is that there is just a single day public holiday for the festival. This means that if it falls on Wednesday, then people enjoy only one day off from work; however, if it is not on Wednesday, the Chinese can enjoy a three-day holiday by adding weekends. Like other public holidays it causes a travel peak, when people go home to reunite with their families, or go on a short trip with friends and relatives. There will be a plenty of tourists in popular scenic spots; the roads will be heavily congested; and train tickets are sold out earlier.
In some years, the Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day holiday coinide, forming an eight-day holiday. In this longest public holiday of the year, the congestion will be more serious, and the travel demands will be even greater. If you want to travel to China during the holidays, be sure to make reservations and preparations well in advance.
3. Mid-Autumn Festival is the second most important festival in China, only after the Chinese New Year.
What is the significance of Mid-Autumn Festival? For Chinese people living far from their hometowns, their opportunities to go back and reunite with their families come only twice a year, one on Chinese New Year in the first half of a year and the other on Mid-Autumn Festival in the latter half. On the festival day, all family members will appreciate the moon and eat mooncakes together. There are lantern shows and other celebrations as well, especially in southern China, where the lantern activities are grander.
4. Mid-Autumn Festival is a time for family reunion.
Why is Mid-Autumn Festival important? The Chinese think highly of their families and they cherish the moments when they can meet up. Nowadays people are busy with their work and don't have much time for family gatherings. The Mid-Autumn Festival gives people an opportunity to meet their loved ones. So, they try their best to manage to get home. In such an important time of family reunion, they enjoy a reunion dinner, share mooncakes and appreciate the moon together.
5. It is all about the moon.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is on the full moon day of fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, so the festival is also called Moon Festival and all the celebration activities are related to the moon, such as appreciating the moon, worshipping the moon, praying to the moon for good luck and good marriage, etc.
6. The full moon does not always appear on the Mid-Autumn night.
It is a scientifically based Mid-Autumn Festival fact. The full moon can also appear on 14th, 16th and 17th day of the lunar month. This is due to the fact that the length of a day is governed by solar movement and the moon’s phases do not coincide precisely, which accounts for the fact that the moon can be seen during daylight hours on occasion.
According to the laws of astronomy, the new moon is always on the first day of a lunar month, but it may appear in the early morning or in the evening of the first day. The time span from the new moon to the full moon is shorter than 15 days. So, if the new moon is in the early hours of the first day, then the full moon will appear on 15th day or even 14th day. If the new moon appears late, you will see the full moon in the sixteenth day, sometimes even in the seventeenth day.
7. Mooncake is essential for Mid-Autumn Festival!
This is a Mid-Autumn Festival fact everyone can see or experience. During the festival, people eat mooncakes while appreciating the moon, worship the moon with mooncakes, and send mooncakes to relatives, friends, colleagues, teachers, etc. as gifts. When the festival is approaching, people can see various mooncakes being made and sold everywhere in desserts stores, snack stores, supermarkets and shopping malls.
Traditional Mooncakes in China - 12 Types of Regional Variations
8. It has 3,000 years history.
The Mid-Autumn Festival originated as the moon worship ceremony about 3,000 years ago during the Zhou Dynasty (1046 - 256 BC). The earliest record of Chinese character “Mid-Autumn” is in a book of the Han Dynasty (202 BC - 220 AD). In successive dynasties, there had been customs such as singing and dancing in the moonlight and worshipping the moon on the 15th day of 8th lunar month.
The customs of appreciating the moon became more and more popular in the early Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 AD). It was not until the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279 AD) that the Mid-Autumn Festival became a fixed holiday. By the time of the Ming (1368 - 1644 AD) and Qing (1644 - 1911 AD) Dynasties, it had enjoyed equal popularity with Chinese New Year and became one of the main festivals in China.
See also Mid-Autumn Festival History and Origin since 3,000 Years Ago
This is an interesting Mid-Autumn Festival fact, or to be exact, a legend about its origin. According to the legend, there was a hero named Hou Yi, who acquired a magical potion that, if one took some, would immediately make them a god or goddess able to fly to Heaven. He handed over it to his wife Chang E for safe keeping.
A few days later, when Hou Yi was away from home, Peng Meng, an evil man, took a sword and broke into the house, where he tried to force Chang E to surrender the immortality medicine. Chang E swallowed it to prevent it falling into his hands. She immediately floated off the ground and flew up into the sky.
As she was concerned for her husband, she flew to the moon, the heavenly body closest to the Earth. Hou Yi was so sorrowed that he sacrificed Cheng E's favorite food on the night of the full moon in her memory. This custom gradually spread into folklore.
See also 6 Most Well-known Legends about Mid-Autumn Festival
10. Colorful festival lanterns are favored by kids.
Making and hanging lanterns is also a custom of Mid-Autumn Festival, especially in southern China, where the traditional activity of lighting up the lanterns is a grand affair. Various handcrafted paper lanterns are extremely popular with the children. Lanterns are also made of pomelos, pumpkins, oranges and tiles.
See also Why Chinese make Mid-Autumn Festival lanterns?
11. Beside China, many other Asian countries also celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival.
In other Asian countries, such as Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Iran, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka, people also celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival, but in their own unique ways. This is a Mid-Autumn Festival fact you may not know before.
In Japan, people worship the moon with offerings of fruits and rice, then sit around to appreciate the moon and share the food. In some places, temple fairs are held, and people gather in front of the shrines to sing songs and dance.
In North Korea, people appreciate the moon, eat bean cakes and glutinous rice with added pine nuts, chestnuts, jujubes and honey. In the countryside, people also hold sporting activities such as wrestling, swinging, archery and weaving competitions.
In Sri Lanka, people celebrate the full moon every month, but the grandest celebration is the Mid-Autumn Festival. The customs are like those of China, such as moon appreciation, moon worship, and family reunions, with additional local traditions.
See also Mid-Autumn Festival in Other Asian Countries
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