Falling on the 15th day of the 8th month according to the Chinese lunar calendar, the Mid-Autumn Festival is the second grandest festival in China after the Chinese New Year. It takes its name from the fact that it is always celebrated in the middle of the autumn season. The day is also known as the Moon Festival, as at that time of the year the moon is at its roundest and brightest.
The holiday schedule of mainland China in recent years is offered as follows.
|2018||Sep. 24||Sep. 22 - 24|
|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|
People in mainland China enjoy one day off on the festival which is usually connected with the weekend. 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.
Mid-Autumn Festival is an inherited custom of moon sacrificial ceremonies. The ancient Chinese observed that the movement of the moon had a close relationship with changes of the seasons and agricultural production. Hence, to express their thanks to the moon and celebrate the harvest, they offered a sacrifice to the moon on autumn days.
|Mid-Autumn Festival in Xi'an|
This custom could be traced back to the Zhou Dynasty (1046 - 256 BC) and was more often practiced by the royal class on the Autumnal Equinox. At that time, the custom had no festival background at all. Later in the Sui (581 - 618 AD) and Tang (618 - 907 AD) dynasties, social prosperity inspired the custom of appreciating the moon on the moon sacrifice ceremony day among common people and the two merged. The people expressed their faith more liberally than the royal class and so they did not strictly hold their activities on the Autumnal Equinox. So the 15th of the 8th lunar month, the closest full moon day to the Autumnal Equinox, turned out to be a better choice and was set as a fixed festival. This happened in the Tang Dynasty. By the time of the Northern Song Dynasty (960 - 1127 AD), Mid-Autumn Festival had already become a widely celebrated folk festival.
Romantically speaking, the festival is to commemorate Chang E, who in order to protect her beloved husband’s elixir, ate it herself and flew to the moon.
On the festival day, family members gather to offer sacrifice to the moon, appreciate the bright full moon, eat moon cakes, and express strong yearnings toward family members and friends who live afar. In addition, there are some other customs like playing lanterns, and dragon and lion dances in some regions. The unique customs of ethnic minorities are interesting as well, such as “chasing the moon” of Mongolians, and “steal vegetables or fruits” of the Dong people.
|Moon cakes, the special food for |
the Mid-Autumn Festival
The Moon Cake is the special food of Mid-Autumn Festival. On that day, people sacrifice moon cakes to the moon as an offering and eat them for celebration. Moon cakes come in various flavors according to the region. The moon cakes are round, symbolizing the reunion of a family, so it is easy to understand how the eating of moon cakes under the round moon can evoke longing for distant relatives and friends. Nowadays, people present moon cakes to relatives and friends to demonstrate that they wish them a long and happy life.
Traditional Mooncakes in China - 12 Types of Regional Variations
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 where it is celebrated in the same way as in China, while others add their own customs.
Chuseok - Korean Thanksgiving, Mid-Autumn Festival in Korea
- Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!
- Moon Cakes
- Bright Full Moon
Chinese Moon Festival - 5 Days to Celebrate the Full Moon: Lantern Festival, Huazhao Festival, Chinese Ghost Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival and Xiayuan Festival.
2019 / 2020 / 2021 China Public Holiday Calendar is available for you to know the schedule of all holidays in China and better make your travel plan.
Chinese Festival Food introducing various delicous dim sum unique to traditional China festivals.
Mrs m Eglinton. 👍👍👍
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.