Today is the Chinese’s Mid-Autumn Festival! This is the day where Chinese have family reunion and celebrate the traditional harvest day.
This event have been celebrated by Chinese for over 3000 years – started in the Shang Dynasty. It became popular and was spread throughout many parts of Asia (East Asia to be exact). We usually eat mooncakes, lit up lanterns, and watch the moon at this time of the year. If you live in a city full of Chinese, you will usually see dragon dances going around and in the past with firecracker and fireworks – before it was banned.
Chinese traditional mooncakes looks like this:
It has a somewhat thick skin containing salt duck egg yolks lotus seed paste. For me, it is kind of greasy, which I don’t really like. Despite that I am Chinese, I don’t really like eating it at all. Well tradition is tradition, I still usually take 1/4 of it.
In other countries, it may be referred as the Moon Festival or Lantern Festival. Lanterns are another aspect of the festival. When I was a kid, we usually buy those paper folded lanterns and place a tiny candle inside litting it up. It comes with many varieties of patterns and design. Some are big and some are small, while others have unique and unusual shapes.
The festival is actually a moon worshipping event for us. Because the moon is the main attraction of the event, many of the legends that we have about it are always retold during this day. We have tales of the Houyi, the archer that shot down nine suns and his wife Chang’e – where she was eventually “floated” to the moon when she ate the pills (like Pandora in Greek mythology). The Jade Rabbit that lives on the moon making elixirs (also found in Japanese and Korean culture), and the woodcutter Wu Gan – who was punished to the moon and was to cut down the Cherry tree with his axe. However, ever chop he make, the tree recovers and spring back to life instantly.
Back in China, this day will be celebrated with fireworks and lanterns (floating on the water, in people’s hand, and floating in mid-air). This is a big day – only second to Chinese New Year! So head out and enjoy!