Chinese Moon Festival: What You Need to Know

The moon has great significance in many cultures due to its powerful presence. Many Asian countries have dedicated an entire holiday to celebrate the moon.

Today, we’re going to talk a little bit about the Chinese moon festival that takes place every autumn. We’re going to cover its history and cultural significance throughout Asia with a special focus on China.

History of the Chinese Moon Festival

The Chinese Moon Festival is one of the most important holidays in East Asian culture. As its name suggests, it is a celebration of the moon’s contribution to the autumn harvest. This festival celebrates the full moon that shines down on the harvest, and it dates back over 3000 years.

The festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar cycle of the year. In 2020, the festival falls on October 1st, and in 2021, it falls on September 21st.

People carry lanterns that represent good luck and prosperity.

They eat mooncakes, which are pastries that are filled with a bean paste. Pumpkin, duck, and floral wins are also served at these celebrations. These treats are considered a delicacy.

This festival has evolved into a Thanksgiving celebration of sorts for Chinese people. It is a time for families to come together in gratitude.

Different regions have unique practices to worship the moon. Hong Kong, for example, hosts their annual fire dragon show during the festival.

Other Names for the Chinese Moon Festival

Since this festival is so widely celebrated, it has several different names.

The most common names for the Chinese Moon Festival include:

  • Mid-Autumn Festival
  • Mooncake Festival
  • Lantern Festival

Of course, the festival has other names in the languages of the nations that celebrate the Moon Festival.

Who Celebrates the Chinese Moon Festival

As we mentioned, this celebration is linked to several different Asian countries. It is primarily celebrated in China and Taiwan.

Japan, Korea, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Laos observe very similar celebrations. The common ground between these celebrations is that the appreciation for the moon in honor of a successful autumn harvest.

Vietnam’s Mid-Autumn Festival is unique in the sense that it has evolved to more of a children’s day.

Since the Asian culture has spread beyond the physical confines of Asia thanks to immigration, Moon Festival celebrations are held all over the world.

Many major cities across North America observe the holiday and throw remarkable events. Some of these major cities include New York City, Vancouver, Toronto, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Most of the North American cities that host remote Moon Festival celebrations have concentrated areas of people with Chinese heritage. These neighborhoods are typically given the name “Chinatown” due to the strong Chinese influence.

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