The Origin and Celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival

Every year on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, it is the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival in my country. This is the middle of autumn the year, so it is called the Mid-Autumn Festival. It is also the second largest traditional festival in China after the Spring Festival.

In the Chinese lunar calendar, a year is divided into four seasons, and each season is divided into three parts: Meng, Zhong, and Ji, so the Mid-Autumn Festival is also called Zhongqiu. The moon on August 15 is more round and brighter than the full moon in other months, so it is also called Moon Night, Autumn Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, August Festival, August Meeting, Moon Chasing Festival, Moon Playing Festival, and Moon Worship Festival, Girls’ Day, or Reunion Festival, is a traditional cultural festival popular among many ethnic groups in China. On this night, people look up to the bright moon in the sky, and naturally look forward to a family reunion Travelers who are far away from home also use this to pin their thoughts on their hometown and their relatives. Therefore, the Mid-Autumn Festival is also called the “Reunion Festival”.

It is said that the moon is the closest to the earth on this night, and the moon is the largest and brightest, so there has been a custom of feasting and admiring the moon since ancient times. There are also some places where the Mid-Autumn Festival is set on August 16, such as Ningbo, Taizhou, and Zhoushan. This is similar to when Fang Guozhen occupied Wenzhou, Taizhou, and Mingzhou, in order to prevent the attack of Yuan Dynasty officers and soldiers and Zhu Yuantian. August 16 is the Mid-Autumn Festival”. In addition, in Hong Kong, after the Mid-Autumn Festival, there is still a lot of fun, and there will be another carnival on the Sixteenth Night, called “Chasing the Moon”.

The term “Mid-Autumn Festival” was first seen in the book “Zhou Li”, and the real national festival was formed in the Tang Dynasty. The Chinese people have the custom of “autumn evening and evening moon” in ancient times. “Evening Moon”, that is, worship the moon god. In the Zhou Dynasty, every Mid-Autumn Festival was held to welcome the cold and worship the moon. Set up a big incense table, and put moon cakes, watermelons, apples, red dates, plums, grapes, and other offerings, among which moon cakes and watermelons are absolutely indispensable. Cut the watermelon into a lotus shape. Under the moon, the statue of the moon is placed in the direction of the moon, the red candle is lit high, the whole family worships the moon in turn, and then the housewife cuts the moon cake for a reunion. The person who made the cut should pre-calculate how many people there are in the whole family. Those who are at home and those who are out of town should be counted together. They cannot cut more or less, and the size must be the same.

In the Tang Dynasty, viewing and playing with the moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival was quite popular. In the Northern Song Dynasty, on the 15th night of the eighth lunar month, people all over the city, whether rich or poor, young or old, would wear adult clothes, burn incense and worship the moon to express their wishes and pray for the blessing of the moon god. In the Southern Song Dynasty, the folk gave moon cakes to each other, which meant reunion. In some places, there are activities such as dancing grass dragons and building pagodas. Since the Ming and Qing dynasties, the custom of the Mid-Autumn Festival has become more prevalent, and many places have formed special customs such as burning incense, tree Mid-Autumn Festival, lighting tower lanterns, setting sky lanterns, walking the moon, and dancing fire dragons.

Today, the custom of playing under the moon is far less popular than in the past. However, it is still very popular to hold banquets to admire the moon. People ask the moon with wine to celebrate the good life or wish their relatives in the distance to be healthy and happy. There are many customs and forms of the Mid-Autumn Festival, but they all embody people’s infinite love for life and yearning for a better life.

Our Guangdong Xinle Food Co., Ltd. is located in Chaoshan, Guangdong. Everywhere in Chaoshan, Guangdong, there is a custom of worshipping the moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival. In the evening, when the moon rises, the women set up a case in the courtyard and on the balcony to pray in the air. Silver candles are burning high, cigarettes are lingering, and the table is also filled with good fruits and cakes as a sacrificial ceremony. There is also the habit of eating taro during the Mid-Autumn Festival. There is a proverb in Chaoshan: “The river meets the mouth, and the taro is eaten.” In August, it is the harvest season of taro, and farmers are used to worshiping their ancestors with taro. This is of course related to farming, but there is also a widely circulated legend among the people: in 1279, the Mongolian nobles destroyed the Southern Song Dynasty, established the Yuan Dynasty, and carried out cruel rule over the Han people. Ma Fa defended Chaozhou against the Yuan Dynasty. After the city was destroyed, the people were slaughtered. In order not to forget the bitterness of the Hu people’s rule, later generations took the homonym of taro and “hu head”, and the shape is similar to a human head, in order to pay homage to their ancestors, which has been passed down from generation to generation and still exists today. Mid-autumn night burning towers are also popular in some places. The height of the tower varies from 1 to 3 meters, and it is mostly made of broken tiles. Larger towers are also made of bricks, accounting for about 1/4 of the height of the tower, and then stacked with tiles, leaving one at the top. The mouth of the tower is used for fuel injection. On the evening of the Mid-Autumn Festival, it will be ignited and burned. The fuel is wood, bamboo, rice husk, etc. When the fire is prosperous, rosin powder is sprinkled, and the flames are used to cheer, which is extremely spectacular. There are also regulations for burning towers in the folk. Whoever burns the data until it is completely red wins, and the one who falls short of it or collapses during the burning process loses. The winner will be given bunting, bonuses, or prizes by the host. It is said that the burning of the pagoda is also the origin of the fire in the Mid-Autumn Uprising when the Han people resisted the brutal rulers in the late Yuan Dynasty.

Some parts of China have also formed many special Mid-Autumn Festival customs. In addition to watching the moon, offering sacrifices to the moon, and eating moon cakes, there are also fire dragon dancing in Hong Kong, Pagodas in Anhui, mid-autumn trees in Guangzhou, burning pagodas in Jinjiang, moon watching at Shihu in Suzhou, moon worship of the Dai people, and moon jumping of the Miao people, Dong people steal moon dishes, Gaoshan people’s ball dance, and so on.

Post time: Sep-09-2022