Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival – Chinese Moon Festival and Second Grandest Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival
English: Mid-Autumn Day, Moon Festival, Mooncake Festival, Autumn Moon Festival
Chinese: 中秋节 zhōng qiū jié
Date: 15th day of 8th lunar month; Sep. 17, 2024; Oct. 6, 2025
Holiday: 3 days, or 8 days if close to China National Day on Oct.1
Observed by: All Chinese people; people in some other Asian countries like Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia & Singapore.

Mid-Autumn Festival, or Mid-autumn Day, is the second grandest festival in China after the Chinese New Year. It is named so for that it is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, which is always in the middle of the autumn season in China. 

Chinese Moon Festival

The day is also known as the Moon Festival, as at that time of the year the moon is believed to be at its fullest and brightest and Chinese always worship the moon and appreciate the full moon on that day.

Time for Family Reunion

In Chinese culture, full moon symbolizes reunion, so that they reunite with their families for celebrations. They worship the moon together, appreciate the moon together, enjoy reunion dinner and even share one mooncake to celebrate the reunion. 

 Read more: 

11 Mid-Autumn Festival Facts You Should Know

10 Unexpected Fun Facts about Mid-Autumn Festival You don’t Know


When is Mid-Autumn Festival? – Sep. 17th, 2024

Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of 8th month in Chinese lunar calendar. In Gregorian calendar, it usually falls in September or early October. 

2024 Mid-Autumn Festival Date

People in mainland China enjoy one day off on the festival day which is usually connected with the weekend to be a 3-day holiday. If it falls adjacent to China National Day on October 1st, the holiday will be 8 days long, celebrated together. 

In Hong Kong and Macau, people also enjoy one day off. However, it is not scheduled on the festival day, but the following day and it is usually not connected with the weekend. In Taiwan, the one day holiday falls on the festival day.

Year Date Holiday
2024 Sep. 17 Sep. 15 - 17
2025 Oct. 6 Oct. 1 -  8
It is within the National Day holiday from Oct. 1 to 7 and will prolong the holiday to Oct. 8.
2026 Sep. 25 Sep. 25 - 27
2027 Sep.15 Sep. 15
2028 Oct. 3 Oct. 1 - 3

How do Chinese celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival? – Top Activities & Traditions 

Eat Mooncakes

This is the most popular Mid-Autumn Festival activity. Mooncakes are cookies with various fillings like nuts, read bean paste, lotus root paste, egg yolk, meat, and fruit, etc. They are usually round to symbolize the full moon and family reunion. 

Read more: 


Appreciate the Full Moon

Appreciate the Full Moon

In traditional Chinese culture, the moon on the festival night is believed to be the fullest and brightest of the whole year, symbolizing family reunion. Even a family member is not home, he or she is appreciating the same moon with other families, seeming like they are together.

 Read more Chinese Moon Festivals to Celebrate the Full Moon 

Worship the Moon 

Worship the Moon

This tradition has been 3,000 years old. On the night, people set a table with mooncakes and other sacrifices towards the moon, make wishes, offer incense and kowtow to the moon. Afterwards, the families will share the sacrifices. 

Enjoy family reunion dinner

Have Family Reunion Dinner

During the festival, all families try their best to go home and enjoy a big feast. In addition to mooncakes, other popular dishes for the reunion dinner include osmanthus cake, osmanthus wine, crab, duck, taro, and pumpkin. 

 Read more: Mid-Autumn Festival Food in China - Top 10 Dishes You Must Try 

Drink Osmanthus Wine

Drink Osmanthus Wine

Around the festival, the Osmanthus is always in full blossom, making it a good time to make and drink osmanthus wine. It is light yellow with strong osmanthus fragrance and grape similar flavor, tasting sweet, sour and soft.

Make and Hang Festival Lanterns

Make and Hang Festival LanternsThis is an activity popular in Guangdong and Hong Kong areas, favored especially by kids. In other places of China, people also set Kongming lanterns to make best wishes. 

 Read more: Why Chinese make Mid-Autumn Festival lanterns?

Other traditions to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival include fire dragon dance popular in Hong Kong, playing Lord Rabbit in Beijing, and watching Qiantang River Tide in Hangzhou, etc. 

 Read more: 


The top places are usually the best sites to appreciate the full moon, like waterside Shichahai and Beihai Park in Beijing, and West Lake in Hangzhou, where the full moon reflects clearly over the water; and high places such as World Financial Center and Jinmao Tower in Shanghai, and the top of Yellow Mountain, where one can gets closest to the moon. The ancient sites like City Wall in Xi’an are also great places to go, where many traditional ways of celebration are held. 

How to Greet Each Other for Mid-Autumn Festival

中秋节快乐 zhōng qiū jié kuài lè Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

 Send Mid-autumn Festival Greeting Cards 

Why do we celebrate the Moon Festival? The festival was originated from the moon worship to celebrate the harvest in autumn season about 3,000 years ago. About 1,800 to 2,200 years ago, the word “Mid-autumn” was started to be used to record the festival. Since 1,100 to 1,400 years ago, mooncake has been widely eaten on the festival date. In the Northern Song Dynasty about 900 to 1,000 years ago, the 15th day of 8th lunar month was finally set as the official festival date. Later, the festival became more and more popular and was celebrated national wide.     

Story & Legend

As the Mid-Autumn Festival was originally derived from the worship of the moon god, many interesting stories and legends are told and spread among folklore explaining the purpose of the worship. The most famous one is the ‘Chang E Flying to the Moon'. The legend goes like this: 

Chang E’s husband, Hou Yi was rewarded the elixir of immortality for shooting down the extra nine suns which tortured people a lot. But he would not like become immortal alone and left his wife to live in the heaven, so he gave the elixir to Chang E to keep it well. Unfortunately, one of Hou Yi’s followers got to know it. One a 15th day of the 8th lunar month when Hou Yi went out hunting, that follower sneaked into Hou Yi and Cheng E’s home and forced Chang E to handed over the elixir. Unhelpfully, Chang E ate the elixir, became an immortal and uncontrollably left the earth for the heaven. As she didn’t want to leave her husband, she flew to the moon, the closest place to the earth in the heaven. Hou Yi, in hope of reunion, presented the mooncakes on every 15th day of the 8th lunar month since then.  

 Read more: 6 Most Well-Known Legends about Mid-Autumn Festival 

Where is the Mid-Autumn Festival Celebrated outside China? 

Due to frequent communications with China and migrations of Chinese people, Mid-Autumn Festival has become popular in other parts of the world, especially neighboring Asian countries. In addition to some shared customs, they add their own ways of celebration. For instance, in Korea, families also reunite, but their representative festival food is Songpyeon, a kind of stuffed rice cake instead of moon cake; in Japan, in addition to worshipping the moon and appreciating the full moon, house wives like to decorate their homes with flowers and pampas grass; in Vietnam, it is more like children’s day in spite of eating mooncakes. 

 Read more: Mid-Autumn Festival in other Asian Countries: Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam...

- Last updated on Oct. 23, 2023 by Gabby Li -
Questions & Answers on Mid-Autumn Festival
Asked by Charles from UNITED KINGDOM | Sep. 27, 2023 08:09Reply
What would you say to a Chinese business partner on this day?
They invited us to China and hosted us for a week. A deal was made and we have been reminded that the celebration happens on the 29th. I understand they mean to celebrate our new friendship, but does one say "happy moon festival"?; or "enjoy the moon festival"?
What would you say?
Thank you!
Answers (1)
Answered by Pepper | Sep. 27, 2023 22:34

We say "happy moon festival" :)
Asked by Jessi | Jul. 29, 2023 05:36Reply
what is the history of mid-autumn?
Answers (1)
Answered by Nick | Jul. 31, 2023 01:30

About 3,000 years ago, it was mainly held to celebrate the harvest in autumn season. About 1,800 to 2,200 years ago, the word “Mid-autumn” was started to be used to record the festival. There are also some legendary stories about the festival like Chang E Flying to the Moon.
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