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Mid Autumn Festival 2023: Comprehensive Guide On Celebration

Mid Autumn Festival is a grand celebration in China which is also known as Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival. It is the official public day celebrated on the 15th of the 8th month in the lunar calendar. The festival is named after this date because it falls in the middle of autumn. 

However, the exact date may vary because of the differences between the Gregorian and lunar calendars. Besides China, many other countries like America, Malaysia, Singapore, etc, celebrate this festival. Here, you’ll learn how people in China and other countries celebrate this year with thanksgiving and best wishes.

Mid Autumn Festival 2023: Comprehensive Guide On Celebration - WuKong Education Blog

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Part 1: Why Is The Mid-Autumn Festival Celebrated?

The festival is 3000 years old and started with the moon worship and harvest celebration as a royal sacrificial ceremony. About 1800 to 2200 years ago, this term was stated in a book named Zhou Li, which tells the rituals and celebrations of the Zhou Dynasty.

Furthermore, it was stated to be an official traditional celebration in the Tang Dynasty. Later, it became as popular as the spring festival in the coming dynasties. During this festival, people worship the moon for better harvesting in the coming year. 

However, the mid autumn festival meaning has gained additional value with time as it is a sign of family reunion. It also includes prayers about the health and happiness of families for the coming year. 

Part 2: How To Celebrate Mid Autumn Festival?

People have celebrated this festival in different ways, involving many traditions. Recently, in October, people celebrated the mid autumn festival 2023 with the following traditions.

Worship The Moon

It is the most important part of celebrating the mid autumn festival for a legendary Chang’e. It is a mythical story that says Chang’e is living on the moon with a companion rabbit. Because of this mythical story, people worship the moon on this grand day. 

They started by setting the table under the moon and having a pair of candles, snacks, mooncakes, and fruits. People believe that the goddess Chang’e will fulfill all their wishes by worshiping the moon.

Hanging Festival Lanterns

Mid Autumn Festival 2023: Comprehensive Guide On Celebration - WuKong Education Blog

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It is the second important part of the festival that has a huge role in celebration. People make them to hang on the trees, bring them during moon worship, or release them in the sky. These lanterns have been a part of the festival since the Tang Dynasty. 

These have many shapes and riddles written on them that people enjoy solving. Moreover, people in this modern era send red envelopes instead of these to each other on WeChat and spend the three-day holiday trip to celebrate the festival. 

Dinner With Family

As the festival represents the reunion of families, people have a family dinner in the evening by keeping this in mind. All the people in China try to celebrate this festival with their families. 

However, those who cannot reach their family because of a long distance celebrate this grand day with their friends. Moreover, mid autumn festival food includes various things for dinner, like wine, cake, duck, pumpkin, etc. 

Mid Autumn Festival Mooncakes

Mid Autumn Festival 2023: Comprehensive Guide On Celebration - WuKong Education Blog

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The autumn festival is considered incomplete without mooncakes on the menu list. They are sweet, round, traditional pastries of China that symbolize unity and harmony. Egg yolk and lotus seed paste are added to make the traditional sweets.

At the festival, people eat mooncakes and present them to their family or relatives with love and best wishes. It is the only mid autumn festival food made traditionally to admire the moon. 

Drink Osmanthus Wine

Along with the dinner and mooncakes, Osmanthus wine is also a famous drink at this festival. At the festival time, Osmanthus is in full blossom, making it a great source of wine. It has a light yellow color, a strong fragrance, and a taste similar to grapes.

It is a traditional wine which has been included in the festival for ages. It is especially popular in the Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces of China. However, it symbolizes wealth, family harmony, and auspiciousness.

Lastly, mid autumn festival 2024 will be celebrated on September 17 with the same traditional practices. Chinese people have great faith in this celebration and consider it a good source of family reunions.

Part 3: What Other Countries Celebrate Mid Autumn Festival?

Mid Autumn Festival 2023: Comprehensive Guide On Celebration - WuKong Education Blog

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In other countries, mid autumn festival traditions are practiced with the same enthusiasm. Because of Chinese descent, some countries celebrate the tradition to the fullest. Following are some famous countries that celebrate the festival each year.

  • America: The festival is celebrated in the Asian American community of America in different ways. These include a parade, lion and dragon dancing, mooncake eating, lantern decoration, etc.
  • Singapore: Singapore mainly celebrates this festival by exhibiting shows in Chinatown about lanterns and Chang’e stories. 
  • Malaysia: Two parts of Malaysia, Penang and Kuala Lumpur, are famous for celebrating this festival. These include dragon dance, lion dance, shows on Chang’e, etc.

Part 4: Mid-Autumn Festival Story

There are many stories about this festival, but the Stories of Chang’e and Hou Yi are the most famous. Chang’e was the goddess of the moon, and Hou Yi was her husband. According to the story, there were ten suns long ago burning plants on Earth.

Hou Yi burned nine suns to save the Earth and got a bottle of elixir from the west queen’s mother as a reward. It could make him immortal, but he chooses to live with his wife and never drink it. On one mid autumn day, a bad person tries to snatch the elixir from Chang’e in his absence. 

To prevent him, she drank the whole bottle and reached the moon by flying higher and higher. Her husband became sad and made sacrifices to Chang’e with cakes and fruits.

FAQs About Mid Autumn Festival

Q1: When is the Mid-Autumn Festival?

It is celebrated on the 15th of the 8th month in the lunar calendar yearly. The recent festival was held on October 6, 2023, with full celebrations. It is a night of a full moon, which normally occurs in the mid autumn. However, it will be celebrated on September 17 2024.

Q2: How do we greet each other for the Mid-Autumn Festival?

People greet the mid autumn festival in Chinese by saying 中秋节快乐(zhōng qiū jié kuài lè). This Chinese phrase means “Happy Mid Autumn Festival!” which is the most common and popular way to wish for the festival. Other alternatives exist to wish this grand celebration to your friends and family.

Summary

For the Chinese, it is a time to fulfill their wishes by wholeheartedly celebrating and worshiping the moon. Wishing the festival, eating mooncakes, making lanterns, family reunion, and flying lanterns in the sky are the most common practices of mid autumn festival. Besides China, other countries also celebrate this festival in different ways.

It has a 3000-year history that also exhibits the story of Chang’e flying to the moon. You can wish each other on this day by saying different sentences like zhōng qiū jié kuài lè. However, family reunion meals are always great for filling gaps between family members.

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