Today (September 15th) marks the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節) in Chinese culture, as well as that of Taiwanese and Vietnamese. It is a festival in which people celebrate the fall harvest, as well as the full moon, which is supposed to shine the brightest at this particular time of year, usually between early September to early October. The date of the Mid-Autumn Festival changes every year, and so we have to wait until later to find out when the next one will happen.
The Mid-Autumn Festival has been a Chinese tradition since as early as the Shang Dynasty (16th-10th BCE), and there’s a myth folklore of the moon deity, Chang’e, in which she became immortal and flew to the moon to live after escaping her cruel and greedy husband. Since then, people on Earth commemorate Chang’e’s actions every year by celebrating with a festival.
What exactly do we do during the Mid-Autumn Festival? Tradition is that people burn incense to honor Chang’e, as well as organize lion and dragon dances on the street and hang lanterns all over the household and neighborhood. In a way, it is very similar to the Lunar New Year festivities, which happen around the western New Year (January to February).
Most importantly, we eat! One of the most common treats to be eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival are mooncakes (月餅), a sweet, thick pastry made from a nice, hearty crust and filled with a variety of different flavors, from traditional red bean and lotus paste to more western-styled ones with chocolate and hazelnut in them (although I much prefer the traditional flavors!). Granted, mooncakes are not the healthiest foods out there, but they’re my absolute favorite and I always look forward to eating them when the Mid-Autumn Festival comes!
Regardless of whether you celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival or not, I wish you a wonderful fall season to come…and be sure to look at the full moon tonight! Cheers. 🙂
— The Finicky Cynic
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