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; Oct. 1, 2020; Sep. 21, 2021
Holiday: 3 days or 8 days if falling within Oct.1-7
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? – October 1st, 2020

2020 Mid-Autumn Festival Date
2020
2021
2022

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. 

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 within October 1th - 7th, the holiday will be 8 days long, celebrated together with Chinese National Day. 

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
2019 Sep. 13 Sep. 13 - 15
2020 Oct. 1 Oct. 1
It is within the National Day holiday from Oct. 1 to 7 and will prolong the holiday to Oct. 8.
2021 Sep. 21 Sep. 19 - 21
2022 Sep. 10 Sep. 10 - 12
2023 Sep. 29 Sep. 29
2024 Sep. 17 Sep. 15 - 17

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

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 MoonAppreciate 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 MoonWorship 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 WineDrink 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 modified on Jun. 22, 2020 -
Questions & Answers on Mid-Autumn Festival
Asked by Ming from TAIWAN | Sep. 09, 2019 14:19Reply
Why does a "mid-autumn" celebration take place during summer?
If it's supposed to be celebrated in the middle of autumn (northern hemisphere), then why are the dates listed during summer? Summer doesn't end until September 22-23 (23rd this year).
Answers (2)
Answered by Jack from CANADA | Sep. 09, 2019 19:52
00Reply


August is always the harvest season. People held a series of ceremonies to thank God’s protection. The celebration is called the ‘Zhong Qiu’. In the mid-autumn festival, the temperature is getting colder and colder. Generally speaking, it is the best season to watch the moon. Therefore, the content of the festival was gradually replaced by watching the moon.
Answered by Teddy from CHINA | Sep. 13, 2019 08:42
00Reply


lunar calendar~All the Chinese traditional festivals are based on this, even the birth date
Asked by Zee from MALAYSIA | Aug. 27, 2019 22:54Reply
Are schools in Shanghai closed only Sept 13-15 for Mid Autumn Festival this year? Or 1 week closed?
Answers (2)
Answered by Michelle from USA | Aug. 29, 2019 01:24
00Reply


Yes, school will close for Mid autumn festival holiday during September 13-15. The National Day holiday will last for a week.
Answered by Shi Yuan from CHINA | Sep. 12, 2019 23:45
00Reply


Schools are closed only for 1 day for mid autumn festival. However, sometimes if the official day is followed by a sunday, it becomes 2 days. In 2019, mid autumn official holiday is on 13 September - a friday. on saturday 14 September, most schools are open, and on 15 Sept sunday schools are closed. Holidays in schools in Shanghai, beijing, Guangdong are all on teh same day - there is no local holiday (except for when there is a local calamity like a typhoon).
Asked by Marlene Eglinton from UNITED KINGDOM | Jan. 25, 2019 08:19Reply
Going to China arriving 16th Sep 2019 leaving 5th Oct 2019
Are there any festivals on in that time .if so will all these historical sights be open also the shops
Answers (4)
Answered by Dylan from NEW ZEALAND | Jan. 27, 2019 17:51
00Reply


The National Day Holiday will start from Oct. 1 to 7. All the sights and shops will open at that time. But it will be especially crowded during that time.
Answered by Mrs m eglinton from GREAT BRITAIN. | Jan. 28, 2019 06:20
00Reply


Thankyou for answering my question .it has been very helpfully.
Mrs m Eglinton. 👍👍👍
Answered by Shi Yuan from CHINA | Sep. 12, 2019 23:48
00Reply


I would suggest that you travel either before 1 October or after 8 october 2019. This is because 1-7 October (Golden week) is a week long holiday given to people in China specifically so that they can travel.
There are no special festivities at this time (except that you will see the Chinese flag flown alogn some big roads, as the country was founded on 1 October 2019) - but railway stations, tourist spots and bus statiosn are all ultra crowded. Popular tourist spots in Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Great wall (Chang cheng) also are VERY crowded. So it is not the best time to travel in China. After the holiday however, it becomes much nicer.
Answered by Alice Lei from CHINA | Sep. 13, 2019 16:03
00Reply


1st October to 7th October is National holiday here in China. Will be very crowded at that time.
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