Fall is quickly approaching and we can't help but get excited for all of our favorite holidays! For many, images of Halloween and Thanksgiving may come to mind... But for us, celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival during the Harvest Moon gets us in the holiday spirit sooner!
Chinese emperors have celebrated their harvest during the Autumn full moon as far back as the Shang dynasty (about 3,000 years ago!) This tradition has lived on today, filled with family, food, cakes, and lanterns. It is officially observed in Taiwan and China. However, it is also widely celebrated in other Asian countries like Japan, Korea, and Vietnam with their own cultural twists.
The holiday takes place every year with the full moon on the15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. This year, it falls on September 21, 2021.
In the 3,000 years since its creation, the Mid-Autumn Festival has stayed true to its roots while also transforming in some ways. Today, the holiday is still about giving thanks for nature’s bounty but also the gift of family and friends. From this description, you can guess that the Mid-Autumn Festival resembles the American Thanksgiving holiday. However, it is also uniquely Chinese because of some of its special traditions:
Mooncakes are a traditional Chinese pastry that is eaten every year around the time of the mid-Autumn Festival. It is common for these to be gifted and received during the holiday period.
The round, palm-sized cakes are lavishly molded and decorated and filled with lotus seed or red bean paste and an egg yolk in the middle (symbolizing the moon).
Our personal favorite are white lotus seed ones, which keeps the sweetness of the iconic dessert without being too overwhelming!
Mid-Autumn Festival lamps usually come in many shapes and sizes and symbolize family reunion and good fortune. These lanterns are hung high in trees or on houses to welcome the coming of the festival and to create a happy, festive environment.
Some people write their wishes on the lanterns for good health, family, and love. In some regions, people light these lanterns to fly up into the sky or to float on rivers - releasing them into the world and hope that their wishes come true.
CELEBRATING THE MOON
Families will often set tables outside their houses and sit together after their feast to admire the full moon while enjoying mooncakes and drinking tea.
Mid-Autumn Festival - another reason why we love Fall!
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