The Mid-Autumn Festival *NEW*
A presentation by 7thdragonwriter
The Mid-Autumn festival (also known as the Moon Festival or 中秋节 Zhōngqiū jié) is a Chinese holiday that occurs on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. This Holiday was originally celebrated by farmers who have finished gathering crops and fruits in the middle of autumn . It was a day of relaxation and joy. Eventually, this day evolved into a widespread celebration! Now, for over 2,000 years, this wonderful gathering of people has been enjoyed by friends and family alike!
Due to the natural effects of the season, the silver moonlight shines over the land. Families set up tables in their courtyards or sit in their balconies, relaxing and enjoying the moon’s beautiful light. By doing this many people are reminded of legends and stories related to the moon. One of the most famous stories of the Moon Festival is the story of the moon goddess Chang’e ascension to the moon.
According to the legend, ten Suns plunged the earth into an apocalyptic drought. Plants were withered and rivers dried up. Many died of dehydration. To end this madness, the King of Heaven sent an archer by the name Hou Yi to destroy the nine additional Suns and save the world. Hou Yi used his red bow and white arrows to shoot down the suns and restore balance to the Earth. One day, A beautiful woman named Chang’e was coming home from a stream when she saw a stranger who she soon realized was the archer, Hou Yi. She invited him in to her home for a drink. To show him her respect towards the archer, she plucks a beautiful flower to give to Hou Yi. In turn, Hou Yi gave Chang’e silver fox fur as a gift to show her his gratitude. This meeting sparks their love for one another.
Hou Yi decides that he wishes to be with Chang’e forever. He goes on a long journey and finally receives and elixir that will make the drinker immortal. If one person drinks it, then they shall go into heaven. But if they both drink, they shall stay on Earth. An evil man who wants to become immortal hears of Hou Yi’s journey, and kills Hou Yi while he is hunting. He takes Hou Yi’s elixir. Afterwards, he rushes to Hou Yi’s home, where he attempts to force Chang’e to give him the rest of the elixir. Quickly, she drinks her elixir. Because she is the only one to drink, she is risen into heaven and decides to live on the moon. There, she wept for her fallen husband but enjoyed a peaceful life away from the troubles of the Earth.
Many legends like the one above are told on the day of the moon festival. Poems are also recited, such as the poem “Quiet Night Thoughts” written by Li Bai. Many of these poems relate to family and the beauty of the moon.
One Western holiday that is similar to the Moon Festival is Thanksgiving. Although the origins and traditions of each holiday are very different, a few things remain the same. Friends and family gather together to enjoy the holiday’s food and enjoy the company of their loved ones on these fall holidays.
The most famous foods on a Thanksgiving day would typically be Turkey.
The most famous food during the Moon Festival is the delicious moon cake!
- 2-3 egg yolks
- 1/4 or 1/3 cup sugar, depends on your preference
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup bean paste or any kind of fruit jam
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Stir the butter, 1 egg yolk and sugar together, and then mix with the flour.
- Put the dough in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for half an hour.
- Take the dough out and make small balls (mooncake) in your palm.
- Make a hole in each mooncake with your thumb; fill the hole with jam.
- Brush each cake with the other 1-2 egg yolks and place all mooncakes on a cookie sheet.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the outside edges are slightly brown.
This information is very interesting to me. I love many things about Chinese culture. This festival is one of my favorite things about it. The story and ideas behind it are very beautiful and I hope to learn much more about it. I would like to thank FLVS and my instructor for providing such great information. Thank You!