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Mid-Autumn Festival

moon-cakeTime: Always On the 15th Day of the 8th Month by the Chinese Lunar Calendar

Venue: All over China

Origin: During the Zhou Dynasty (16th-11th centuries BC), the night of the full moon was an occasion for the Chinese to hold rituals to greet the cool weather and sacrifice to the Goddess of the Moon. By the Tang Dynasty (618-907) moon-watching and merry-making had become part of the ritual.  During the Northern Song (960-1127), the 15th day of the 8th lunar month was designated as Mid-Autumn Festival. When night falls, the orb of the moon hangs full in the firmament, shedding a flood of silvery light over the land, while family members in China gather for the happiness of reunion, munching moon cakes and marveling at the chastened glory of the Chang'eGoddess of the Moon. By Chinese custom the 15th day of the 8th lunar month is a day for family reunion as symbolized by the full moon and the moon cake.

What’s On: Ceremonies to make libation and sacrifices to the moon, and watching the moon while enjoying moon cakes. There is always something dream-like and romantic about Mid-Autumn Festival, on account of its close association with such Chinese fables as Chang’e fleeing to the moon, the man Wu Gang performing the unending servitude to cutting an osmanthus tree, and the Jade Rabbit pounding medicinal herbs with a pestle. For men of letters the festival is an occasion to get together, improvise poems over a cup of wine and recite them to each other.

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