The mid-autumn festival is clearly upon us-well soon enough-walk through the aisle of the bigger supermarkets especially local ones and there’s bound to be huge discounts on moon cakes in large boxes. Moon cakes are synonymous with mid-autumn festival but this is just one of the things to do during the festival or leading up to the big day on Sunday, September 27. Here’s what you’re meant to do during the festival:
Gazing at the Moon
The tradition of looking at the moon during the festival is explained through the folklore of Chang’e and Hou Yi, a local archer and his wife’s ultimate sacrifice. However, the custom of appreciating the moon can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907). According the legend, there were 10 suns that appeared all at the same time, which brought dried the crops so the local archer, Hou Yi, climbed the highest peak then shot down 9 suns and left one. He was given an elixir that one of his apprentices went but his wife drank the elixir. Chang’e the wife floated up to the moon and for a while Hou Yi would try to catch the moon after a while he stopped. He would gaze at the moon to see her figure and brought out her favorite food once when the moon was at its brightest. This is how the tradition begun. Beijing has nice places to watch the moon if your house doesn’t have a nice direct angle towards the moon.
Made of flour and stuffed sweet condiments such as sugar and lotus seed powder, mooncakes are traditional Chinese pastries that are famous in the mid-autumn festival. The pastry symbolizes family reunion and is cut into equal pieced according to the number of the people in the family then wash down with some tea. It’s not well documented how many families follow this tradition but the more commercial aspect is people buy to give to friends, family, clients, and potential clients as a method of getting to know one another.
Chinese Mid-Autumn Lanterns
Nothing can beat or be compared to the Lantern Festival’s colorful and eye-catching lanterns, which are put up all over the streets and buildings but mid autumn are fun to make. The making process of lanterns is a group activity that brings people to try and test out their creativity and love of color side. The lanterns are let to float on a river and everyone watches them until they disappear. The more dangerous one are those with fire that can be lit and set to float upwards but this is a risk as it can catch a branch and set the tree on fire. So make sure this is something that you want to try.